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Dealing with Rejection – Accepting Setbacks and Moving On

We at BrightSparks wish each and every scholarship applicant the best, and we hope that each and every one of you is awarded the scholarship of your dreams.

But reality can be harsh. The truth that we have to face is that there are many more applicants than there are places, so some of you won’t be accepted.

That can be a crushing blow after all your hard work and effort. It can be especially difficult when you friends happily report their successes, or when you think back to all those hours spent preparing that now seem like time wasted. Let the disappointment and frustration run its course.

But don’t get yourself down! You worked hard and tried your best. Even if you didn’t get a scholarship, the experience itself has a lot a value. We’ve outlined some important learning takeaways from the process of scholarship applications alone.


1.     It’s not always about you

Your rejection is nothing personal. It simply means that what you presented was not what the organisation was looking for.

 In addition to their technical requirements like grades and CCA records, organisations are looking for people who fit with their work culture and can cooperate with their existing teams and departments. You might simply not have been what they wanted, not that you are in any way lacking in character or achievement.

 For example, the organisation may be looking for someone who enjoys a fast-paced work environment, constantly meeting new challenges. You may have given them the impression of being a temperate, meticulous individual who works at a deliberate pace with great care. In this case, neither of you are “bad”, there was simply no synergy between the person and the work.


2.     A chance to redefine success, for yourself

There is no single measure of success, everyone defines and measures it differently. By the same token, “I did not get a scholarship” is not an inviolate knell of failure.

Ultimately, the scholarship is only part of the means to an end. Did you apply for a scholarship with travel opportunities to broaden your understanding of the world? You can still do that, you just may have to take a different route. Or you simply wished to further your learning, in which case, there are many courses and credits available.

Not getting a scholarship may present a roadblock in your path, but don’t let it deter you from pursuing your goals for yourself.


3.     Learning from the process

Plenty of students judge the scholarship process as they would an examination. They see only if they “passed” or “failed”, and are plunged into despair at the latter.

But think back to all the work you did. You networked at events, you wrote essays, you attended interviews and you thought and studied. All these taught you valuable skills, and you should take time to appreciate how far you’ve come. 


4.     Looking to the future

The scholarship is a big event, but it is a single event. You have plenty more in store in the adventure of your life! You can apply for a job, research alternate ways of getting educational funding, or just go on a trip and let loose!

You may also wish to explore alternative methods of funding, or wait and apply for a mid-term scholarship, as well. Be sure to check the BrightSparks portal for mid-term scholarships on offer.

Write some goals for yourself, analyse what you want in the next few years. You have much more in store! As Chuck Yeager said, “You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up.”


Background photo created by jcomp -

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