Dealing with Rejection

by Sarah Webster

It’s almost a fact of life that at some point or another, you will face rejection. You apply to the graduate school of your dreams. You finally get the interview for that position you’ve always wanted. You ask the girl or guy you’ve been crushing on for weeks to get coffee with you.

The response? NO. We regret to inform you your application has been rejected. We’re sorry, but there are no openings at this time. Um, I think of you as more of a friend.

No matter what the situation, being rejected is hard. It makes you feel inadequate. It makes you feel small. It makes you kick yourself for even trying. What’s even harder is figuring out how to cope with that rejection. What do I do now?

The best immediate thing to do in the face of rejection is just to let yourself feel it. It’s okay to be disappointed and take minute to process. No one should you expect you to just let it roll off like it was nothing. It will sting–and if it doesn’t, then you probably didn’t care all that much about it to begin with.

Rejection is also the perfect opportunity to self-evaluate. That doesn’t mean to beat yourself up and tell yourself how unworthy you are. It just means being honest with yourself. What went wrong here? It may take rejection for you to realize that there are things you could improve–not only to help you reach your goals but also to make you a better student, employee or even a better person overall.

Okay so that’s easy enough. This next part…not as fun. In the face of rejection, it might be beneficial to have someone you trust give you feedback as well. They may be able to shed light on something that you are missing. As hard as it is to be self-aware and see where it you went wrong, it’s even harder to let someone else weigh in. I’ll emphasize again, this should be someone you trust–someone with your best interests at heart.

Another thing to consider is why you went for that position or school (or person). What was your motivation? Often times if we can’t answer this question, it becomes abundantly clear why things didn’t work out. Another tough question: was this goal realistic? Does it match up with the long-term goals you have for yourself? Make sure you’re shooting for things that align with your level of experience and abilities, but also things that are going to push and fulfill you.

Finally, you have everything you need at that point to turn rejection into redirection. Clever, right? This is your chance to make moves. Maybe there are things about yourself that could use improvement. Maybe you need to change up how you use your time. (Maybe its time to try dating nicer girls/guys haha). Make the changes, set your sights on new attainable goals and let your confidence bounce back.

“…turn rejection into redirection”

Take ownership of your rejection. Sure, they said no, but look at what it taught you. Look at the improvements you’ve made. Look at how much you’ve grown. Success is sure to follow. After all, the only person in charge of you achieving your dreams is you.



DIY: Internships

Career Services says that finding internships is one of the toughest DIY (do-it-yourself) projects.  I’m sure Chip and Joanna Gaines would say the same; however, even when you are “doing the work yourself” in a DIY, you aren’t entirely “on your own.” For example: Chip and Joanna aren’t out back making each farmhouse table.  Instead, they’ve often times stockpiled the materials necessary and then call in their friend Clint to assist with the farmhouse creation.  They use their resources.  Apply the “Chip and Joanna method” by using your Mercer resources to find an internship.

Think of Career Services like the Home Depot of your DIY: resume assistance, mock interview prep, but most importantly, SOME SERIOUS HELP IN GETTING STARTED!

1. Identify your “why?”

How do you know you need an internship?  Some majors require an internship for academic credit, but even if your major doesn’t set that expectation, I encourage you to seek out an internship opportunity for your own personal benefit.  Internships BUILD CHARACTER and can offer a hands-on application to what you’re learning in the classroom or what you’d like to be learning from a business, government agency, or non-profit.

2. When should I apply for an internship?

FACT: it’s never too early to pursue an internship. Don’t fall to the MYTH that internships are only for juniors and seniors– internship opportunities offer a depth and breadth to your college experience that continues to be developed throughout your time at Mercer.  No experience is a bad experience because you’ll undoubtedly learn something throughout the process!  Don’t hold back or second guess the power of THIS SUMMER!

3. How do I begin the search process?

Find your Career Advisor>> on the Career Services website and schedule an appointment to talk more.  Your Career Advisor can assist with the set up your Bear Link account to populate internship opportunities related to your preferences.  Once you have found a few internship opportunities that interest you, work on your application materials and submit!

4. Are there other financial resources available to me?

If you haven’t heard about the FREE HOUSING application process for students doing internships in the Macon and Atlanta area between May 30-July 29, STOP what you’re doing right now and read more here>>.  Who wouldn’t love to live on-campus in Macon or Atlanta to make the internship opportunity a little more affordable?  Selection for housing will consider the student’s financial need, paid or non-paid internship status, and overall potential summer learning experience. Even if you haven’t secured your internship yet, you’re still encouraged to complete the housing application by March 13.  You have until mid-April to confirm your internship with a supervisor and share details with Career Services.

5. What about internship opportunities during the school year?

The Center for Community Engagement, in partnership with SGA, Service Learning, and Career Services, is launching a Community Engagement and Development (CED) internship program for the 2017-2018 academic year. This new initiative is designed to pair students with non-profits, community-based organizations, and private businesses with a vested interest in improving our Central Georgia community.  Students will commit to an academic yearlong internship experience (from September to April) that allows you to become a quality asset for a community partner (and for community partner to provide you a meaningful, developmental experience in return).

Don’t let your DIY be a #pinterestfail.

You’ve got the resources, skills, and opportunities to make great things happen– your internship success is right around the corner!

Identifying your “WHY?”

by Amanda Carls

“Why?” can be an intimidating question. Three little letters: one LARGE impact. To this day, if someone asks me “why?” it stops me dead in my tracks and makes me second guess if I’ve missed something important. The truth is,

if we fail to ask ourselves, “why?” we DO miss something important—we miss what has driven us to this point and what motivates us to keep going. We miss a greater understanding and appreciation for the larger picture.

I worked in Career Services during college. In an attempt to help students strengthen the overall impact of their resume, I would ask about their involvement in various activities. Over time, I came to dread asking about why they were involved because of the all-too-common answer: involvements were a “resume builder.”

Being involved in things to build your resume is NOT ENOUGH. In fact, adding these organizations, committees, or activities to your resume for the purpose of filling it to impress someone else is a disservice to your own abilities.

The Orangeprint>> encourages you to get involved, but don’t miss the point of campus engagement! Student organizations don’t exist on our campus for you to merely have things to list on your resume. Its purpose is much more meaningful than that: to create place, purpose, community, and self-discovery.

Instead of picking up one more activity this semester “just because,” spend time identifying your WHY.

Ask yourself:

  • Where do I add the greatest value?
  • What excites me?
  • What helps me feel connected to other people and our Mercer community?
  • What skills could I gain/am I gaining from this organization or activity that directly translate to my future?
  • What do I stand for—and does this activity or organization support that?

Do your answers to the questions above align with what you’re currently involved in on our campus? If not, I challenge you to reflect and decide if you’re ready to 1) maximize your potential within that organization and seek your “why,” or 2) pass on that opportunity because it doesn’t align with your personal mission. It’s OKAY to say NO to an opportunity, especially if it would allow you to reallocate your time and efforts to further invest in other things that are more important to you.

Don’t find your importance in the activities listed in your e-mail signature….. or in the number of nametags you’re collecting on your mini fridge. After graduation, titles are forgotten, trophies tarnish, and accolades fade. Spend today doing something “future you” will thank you for. Ask the tough questions to figure out why you’re here, what you’re doing, and how these chosen activities push you to be the best version of yourself.

Married to the Idea of What I Thought I Wanted to Be

by Amanda Carls

I started helping my mom with wedding bouquets when I was old enough to hold the flowers. My mom is an outstanding florist and has always made each wedding bouquet, boutonniere, and centerpiece—no matter how big or small—into a beautiful creation. As her little shadow, I’d tag along to help her set up wedding receptions as a child. It didn’t take long for my fascination with wedding celebrations to emerge. I loved helping to make someone’s “special day” even more memorable. That carried long into my teenage years, so much so that my high school philosophy in my senior yearbook said:


(Let me be the first to acknowledge that 18-year old me obviously had #priorities and was #vain).

I began college with a major in Public Relations with full intention of pursuing the wedding business…. wedding planning was, after all, what I told everyone what I was going to do. As I started my Public Relations coursework, I LOVED what I was learning—every class was even more exciting than the last. Through a final project in my Introduction to Public Relations class, I was offered the opportunity to intern with the bridal division of a local newspaper and help implement a bridal show. I loved the event planning aspect—months of planning coming to fruition for the enjoyment of thousands of people. I did not; however, love the intensity that brides brought with them to the event itself. As an 18-year old caught up in the magic of a large-scale event, I could have easily been trampled by brides on a mission.

I learned three important things through this experience:

  1. I was good at event planning and naturally understood how small details worked together for the greater good,
  2. I was not as comfortable in the bridal world as I had hoped I would be, and
  3. Life is too short to do something I didn’t fully enjoy.

I stood at a crossroads. Did I need to change my major to find something else that interested me since I didn’t want to be a wedding planner anymore? Should I stay in Public Relations and see what else I could do with that degree? How was I going to explain this to my family and everyone else I told that I was going to be a wedding planner? And most importantly: would they be disappointed that I’ve changed my mind?

It took me a while to realize that, while I love my family and value their perspective,

choosing a major (and a vocation) can only truly be chosen by me—the one sitting in the classes, soaking in the information, and applying it to my life beyond graduation.

Families are invested in your college experience because they support you— and I would venture to say that if you find yourself at a similar crossroads to mine, they would love you through it.

I decided that I enjoyed my Public Relations coursework enough to further immerse myself in the curriculum and see how I could shape my future career in a different way. As I continued my studies, I also began to streamline my campus involvement (aka: went from being involved in ALL the things to choosing a handful of activities that really left me feeling fulfilled). In that handful of activities, I found myself a part of the Student Admissions Ambassadors and assisted with Admissions visit days and daily office operations. I served as a Summer Orientation Staff member and helped 3,000 new students and their families’ transition to life on our college campus. I also worked in the Office of Career Services and helped my peers review their resumes, develop a personal brand, and represent themselves professionally in interviews, in addition to planning and implementing teaching and career fairs. In these activities, I felt authentic joy in large-and-small-scale events. Through each, I was providing a platform to bring college students together to share a common experience and learn things to shape their own college experiences. I had brought my Public Relations coursework to life in a new way.

As I started my junior year of college, I found my purpose—vocation—in the field of Higher Education: the perfect intersection (for me) of my communication, business, journalism, and graphic design classes with my love for event planning and the holistic development of college students. Prior to attending graduate school for College Student Personnel, I interned for a summer in New Student Orientation at Mercer and found my place. If you haven’t realized it yet, I hope you do soon: Mercer University is a special place. You can truly begin to find yourself here—yes, in the four walls of a classroom, but also in discovering where you can meet your fullest potential. In my five years at Mercer in New Student Programs, I also feel as though I have found myself—and it all started with me standing at a crossroads nearly 10 years ago.

My advice to you is outlined in the Orangeprint>>:

“Use your time to explore your academic major choices. Look for ways to gain experience in the career path you want to pursue through internships, undergraduate research, part-time jobs, or volunteering.”

You don’t have to be married to the idea of who you think you’ll be. Allow yourself to stand at the crossroads and explore your options. I’m thankful for my crossroads in 2006 that led to me discovering Student Affairs, Mercer University, and Macon, GA— where will your crossroads take you?