Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Get Ready for That Feeling of Rejection and Failure

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Rejection and perceived failure are hard for everyone, but particularly for teens. It is that season again for receiving test scores and rejection letters - college applications are rejected, the writing contest results are coming in, scholarship and grant reviews are in, summer intern positions may be happening, too - and well, we all may have breaking hearts and tears! My advice during this season of rejection is to share it - share it wide and share it long!

Ask parents, teachers and friends to share their rejection and failure stories - and read a couple of tear-jerker books. Handle it how you please, but please do not pretend that you are the only only who did not win that writing contest, get selected for the summer internship, get into college early, or get the scholarship!

I would like to remind everyone - parents and teens alike - that rejection is not all bad! Getting rejected means that you put yourself out there, took a risk, and face it, probably enjoyed the fantasies about winning. Here in the Silicon Valley, the other place in the United States where all the children are above average, several schools have started "walls of shame" where college rejection letters will be posted for the world to see, or web sites for people to anonymously post their disappointing results.

Do not be ashamed - be proud of who you are and trust that your path, even if it is not the one you think you wanted, or tried hard to get, will become clear!

Here are some happy thoughts to help you attempt another success:
  • Even one success makes up for many failures!
  • Dance, dance, and keep dancing until you find "your place and your people."
  • Remember "failure is an event - never a person!"

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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