Keeping At It
Isn’t it annoying/frustrating/depressing that you need (a lot of) experience in order to get the opportunity that you want? The logic is that, the more opportunities under your belt, the better your chances of getting the opportunity you want. Therefore it almost appears (and those ‘we regret to inform you…’ emails almost make it true) like there is no point in trying to get opportunities when you are at zero because the odds are against you?
Okay, that gave me a headache as well, so I will break it down. If me, who has never been accepted for a fellowship, identifies a fellowship that I would like to apply for, the odds of me getting the fellowship are very low because apparently, human beings want the certainty that other people have bet on you before, and didn’t regret it, before they give you a chance to be a part of their fellowship.
Considering that there is no official document that states this, this could all be hearsay that somehow made its way into my ears.
If there is an ounce of truth to this though, it means that on average, most people will encounter a billion no’s before they ever get the yes that takes them into the ‘usually gets a positive response’ category.
Quick question; after how many emails with a ‘we regret to inform you…’ or its equivalent does someone say ‘enough is enough’, and give up on applying for opportunities? At what point do you take a pause, and may be consider the chance that all those no’s are not out to get you but that you might actually not be good enough?
I won’t lie, I don’t have the answers, but here’s what I know. It’s okay and well within your right to feel all kinds of sad emotions when you receive a no from an application that you poured your heart into. It is also okay to never want to apply for an opportunity ever again, because you don’t know if you can handle that pain once more.
If you don’t know what do, here is a good place to start;
- Take a break: There’s only so many no’s that a girl can take. I know it might seem like you want to get the opportunity now now, but you need to take a break from not only applying for opportunities (because we all know how tedious those things can be) but also from the potential no’s that might come from applying. Rest, try not to think about the opportunities and allow yourself to almost forget about it.
- Only apply to opportunities that are relevant to you: When you feel that you are ready to dive into the applying again, only apply to opportunities that suit you. It might be tempting to apply for everything in the hopes that your net will catch something but you not being suitable for everything might be the reason why you haven’t yet received any yeses. Focus on your area of expertise, and watch the magic happen.
- Two heads are better than one: When possible, have someone else look at your application before you submit it. This might be the edge that your applications have been missing.
- Talk about it: Don’t die with your no’s alone. Talk to your friends and family about what you are going through, and how it makes you feel. Allow yourself to feel the pain, and allow the people in your life to be there for you.
- Make friends who are also looking for opportunities: Although, family and friends are a great support system, it is also important to have people who are also going through this in your circle. For starters, you will be surprised by how many people out there are also getting rejections left, right and centre. Secondly, it is comforting to be in the application struggle with someone else. Missing deadlines, losing your mind over the 5 essays with a 500 word limit that you need to write out, might be easier when you are walking the journey with someone who can relate. And if it isn’t, then you know that you are not alone.
I recently got a no that hurt so bad that I felt like I couldn’t breathe. When I told my friend, she said that I have at least 100 more no’s to go through. This is not to say that I might not catch a break before I have to go through 100 no’s, but it is to say that I am not the only one going through this. Many people have been through this, and come out at the other end.
Like Kemiyondo says, ‘Trust the process’. Keep at it, your happy place is around the corner. It might just be a long stretch before you get there.