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The Daily Tar Heel

Editorial: It's okay to be dramatic. Rejection sucks.


A UNC student examines the Kenan-Flagler Business School application on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2020. 

Within the past two weeks, UNC’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media and Kenan-Flagler Business School released admissions decisions for the 2020-2021 cycle. There’s a lot of time, hard work and passion that goes into these applications, and unfortunately, the ending isn’t always as favorable as we’d like. The Editorial Board wants to congratulate those who were admitted, and to remind those who weren’t that rejection isn’t the end of the world, though it often feels that way in the immediate aftermath.

We get it. Academic rejection isn’t like getting ghosted from one of the 10 jobs that you applied to last night while watching Netflix, or being left on read after finally sending that 2 a.m. “you up?” Twitter direct message. It stings a little bit harder. 

You spent hours perfecting essays and preparing for interviews, and it may seem like the whole course of your college career must now be drastically altered. Feeling frustrated, scared and even angry is completely justified, especially given all of your hard work. With that, here’s our first piece of advice: don’t be afraid to feel. You’re allowed to cry or to sleep or to stay up until odd hours of the night playing Among Us. Cope however you need to, as long as you recognize that your current state is temporary and you will move past this!

Secondly, these applications are subjective. These decisions were ultimately made off of some essays, a piece of paper and maybe a couple of interviews. Admissions officers don’t have the time or resources to begin scratching the surface of who you are as an individual, including the talents, interests and quirks that make you unique.

It’s important not to invalidate yourself or your past accomplishments because of a single rejection. You are as impressive today as you were yesterday, and a single “no” will not change that. 

Whether you decide to reapply to these schools next year or to go in an entirely new direction, opportunity is still out there. Your future should be exciting, not overwhelming or anxiety-inducing. Employers will appreciate your unique academic background if you choose a new concentration, and if you decide to go a different route, you may find something that you’re even more passionate about.

Only around 27 percent of people go into careers based on what they actually studied in college, so nothing is set in stone. In fact, it's more likely that you'll end up working in an area outside of your major than within it. Layla Peykamian, a member of our board, summed it up the best when she said, “You are limitless!”

Finally, remember that everything happens for a reason. Sure, it’s cliche, but sometimes cliches ring true! Except for “never judge a book by its cover.” That’s okay to do sometimes. There’s wisdom in trying to see the glass half full, (oops, another cliche) and no use giving disappointment more negative energy than it deserves.

Don’t lose hope, because you would only be doing the world a disservice by not giving everything that you have to offer. Allow yourself time to recover, and then show these admissions folks that they made the wrong decision.