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The Dartmouth
May 26, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Qu: Brush Off Your Brush Offs

Dartmouth students may not be used to rejection, but they should be.

I have never sent a flitz, but I haven’t received one either. My excuse is that my hard-to-spell-Chinese-pinyin-blitz name is a secret that I have fought hard to keep. I’m not talking about romantic rejections, though. The rejections I speak of are far more difficult for some to brush off. Group rejections, whether they are from sports teams, comedy troupes, a cappella groups, dance ensembles, Greek houses, leadership councils or even classes, are truly the ones that can keep you up at night. It’s no surprise then that the height of audition and application season — right about… now — is ripe with the sorrows of fresh rejections.

I understand that seeing the word “rejection” in such a concentrated manner above may have sent some of you into shock. Perhaps you’ve never been turned away in your entire life, and you shudder at the thought of such a horrible experience. Or, perhaps you were just brought back to the memory of an intense eight-grade class council speech in front of the entire school in which you forgot half your speech (not speaking from personal experience or anything). The bottom line is: rejections can be hard to deal with, and sometimes you just want to hastily hide them away in the darkest, dustiest part of your brain forever. But I, with all my wisdom, will grace you with one piece of important advice for college: do not fear rejection. Embrace rejection! Say it in front of the mirror three times. Get it tattooed. Write it on your burger patty with ketchup and then eat it in one bite.

You shouldn’t feel ashamed about your rejections, nor should you pity your friends for theirs. Putting yourself out there can be one of the most stressful and unpleasant feelings you may have the pleasure to experience. The more you go outside your comfort zone, though, the easier it will become. If your comfort zone is fortified by a formidable wall of insecurities, you should be proud of yourself for even considering applying or auditioning for something you think would be fun but have no guarantee you can excel in. Conversely, if you love the feeling of meeting new people and being judged, then kindly explain to me your secrets.

College is by no means completely representative of real life, but one of the realest experiences you will get from Dartmouth is rejection. Some rejections, such as being rejected from your only potential apartment, can be troublesome, but there are no repercussions for any rejections you may experience here at Dartmouth. And yet, a rejection is still a rejection. Therefore, it’s in your best academic interest to take advantage of this opportunity and experience it. No one is going to look at your transcript and see written with invisible ink, “didn’t get into Acting 1.” It’s almost as likely that no one is going to look at your transcript, period.

I will now share this undisclosed piece of information with you, unnamed reader: I received six rejections early in my freshman year, and I expect many, many more over the coming years. Freshman fall, however, I had a very different approach towards rejection. It was difficult to not take it personally, and I seriously considered not showing up to the auditions I had following these rejections. It seems very silly to me now that I might have missed out on what is now a group of some of my closest friends on campus.

There will always be opportunities for you at Dartmouth, and you shouldn’t let fear of rejection or a lack of morale prevent you from finding your niche. There is always another group. There is always another term. In the meantime, don’t cower before rejections. Take it out on a nice dinner. Split the check. And enjoy your freshman year!