Senior Column: Learn to embrace rejection

Taylor Sims, contributing writer

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I began my UA journey four years ago knowing only four people on campus. Despite this, I knew that I could meet more people by getting involved. I was as eager as they come and applied for nearly every opportunity I could find, optimistic to join countless organizations. I soon faced the reality that it was not that simple when I was rejected by almost every organization and position I applied for.

At this point, I felt defeated. I second-guessed my decision to come to The University of Alabama. I thought that success was not going to be attainable for me here. People say that failing is part of the process of achieving your goals, but I admit how difficult acknowledging your failures can be. Looking back now, I could not be more grateful for each of those rejections, as they have played an integral part in molding me into the woman I am today.

Being painfully unathletic, Student Council was always my “thing” in high school. So when I heard about Alabama’s SGA First Year Council, I was convinced that it would be the perfect fit for me. After spending hours on my application and anxiously waiting to hear back, I found out that I was not even selected for an interview. My freshman roommate can attest to the bawling that occurred once I heard this news.

Striving to remain optimistic, I applied for SGA Lobby Board. That didn’t work out either, at least the first time. My sophomore year I was ecstatic when I was chosen for Lobby Board, which led to my junior year position as Director of Higher Education Day, and eventually my senior position as Chief Administrative Officer on the Executive Cabinet. Though my path was different, that didn’t mean my final goal was unattainable.

When SGA didn’t work out for me freshman year, I set my eyes on a new goal: I would be a Capstone Woman. I invested in a matching skirt suit, perfected my resume and brainstormed every possible interview question in preparation for the infamously intimidating first-round interview. I made it to the second round of selections, but that night I received a phone call that I was unfortunately not selected for the group. My roommate witnessed yet another dramatic sob session.

While I was initially devastated and discouraged by this rejection, over time I rebuilt the courage to recognize that this was something worth facing rejection to keep pursuing. From that point on, I made a commitment to becoming the best version of myself, and the girl that interviewed the following year radiated confidence, had relevant and memorable experiences and had grown to foster a genuine love for the University. Thankfully, I was selected as a sophomore for Capstone Men and Women and later became the first new member to be elected onto the Executive Board. Through this, I learned that if at first you don’t succeed, you try again and try harder.

If I were to list every other rejection I have faced in college, I would exceed my word limit, but these experiences serve to demonstrate that failing is inevitable but not final. To any freshmen ending their first year at the University feeling the exact same way I did, find comfort in knowing that you tried and that you have three more years that are just waiting for you to make your mark. Theodore Roosevelt said, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” I leave The university of Alabama accepting my many instances of personal failure, fulfilled knowing that I always tried.