Rejection is not easy. It never is. Whether this is in your personal life or your professional life, we all want to be accepted, especially if it is something we have worked hard for. It is also one part of the process that can feel really isolating. When I tell people that I am a child life specialist, no body knows how much I went through to get those 4 letters behind my name. But the good news is, I’m here. I see you. I see the effort you put in, I feel the rejection you feel.
While many people are told about the high level of competition within the child life profession most of us either ignored it or it said something along the lines of…
“I can handle it.”
“It will be fine”
“I know I’m meant to enter this profession”
“But, I don’t want to do anything else”
I could sit here and tell you to “take care of yourself”, “do things outside of child life”, or “there’s other things out there that allow you to support kids”. But the reality is, if you are applying for practicum, internship or graduate school you have set a goal and you want to do your best to reach it, despite the rejection.
So, I’m going to try and provide you with some tips and ideas for reframing the rejection to hopefully help you get through this and be an even stronger person on the other side.
You’ve received an email rejection. What do you do now?
(I once got rejected from a volunteer position for a summer camp….yes, I drove an hour and a half away on a school day to interview for a volunteer position that I did not get, I know you feel me on that)
- Take the time to be sad, mad, angry, upset, whatever. Feel the feeling. It is ok. Allow yourself the time and space to be upset about it, this may be a day or a week, whatever you need to do to process the feelings.
- When you are done with the feelings, think back on the role you played in the experience. This is a time of self-reflection. What areas could you improve upon or learn more about? Ignore the other parts that you have no control over.
- Determine your next steps. Find something else to get excited about. This could be a new webinar, another experience you are interested in, a new podcast that fuels your excitement and drive for the profession.
I recently listened to a podcast called Art, Mindset, and Creative Careers by The Accidental Creative. In this episode, the guest speaker talks about her career as an actor and artist. She discusses rejection and the ability to develop resiliency.
I automatically started thinking about child life and the rejection we face. We put everything we have into our experiences and applications. It is a creative process including writing, preparing, and interviewing. We really put ourselves out there only to get a “No” a few weeks later with little to no explanation.
Unfortunately, the bottom line is, there are qualified people being rejected for child life positions every day. It is just where the profession is right now.
But, I like to focus on what I can do. What can I change? How can I help? I encourage you to do the same, focus on what you can do, and what you can control.
You control what you do with the rejection. Do you let it linger and hang over your head? Or do you feel, reflect, and refocus?