My List of Rejections and “Failures”*

 

I recently met up with a couple of amazing girlfriends of mine. Both of whom I worship like the goddesses they are. At one point during the conversation, we were recounting and laughing at all the rejections we had received. There were two things I felt during that part of the conversation:

  1. I didn’t think these goddesses actually received rejections
  2. By being open, candid and laughing at our rejections, rejection no longer felt like the end of the world. We were able to just move on and find the next opportunity.

So in my personal attempt to demystify my untouchable perfection (note sarcasm), I’ve made a list of every rejection, failure, thing I lost, am scared of, really anything that I can recall to be transparent about how my life does not always work out as magically as it seems.

It doesn’t. And that’s okay. Life chugs along.
*I put failure in quotations because failure is very subjective. I still think getting a B is a failure when obviously it’s not. I’m working against how I was socialized into viewing the world and failures. Nowadays, I try to view failure as a learning experience. So failure doesn’t really exist to me anymore. It’s just a way to learn. Try to redefine failure for yourself!

Challenge to you

I don’t want to force anyone to do anything, but I do think it would be cool to see if anyone reading this is willing to share their own list in the comments. It can be smaller than mine. No pressure :)

Collectives always have more power than individuals.

I know that being with my two best girlfriends and sharing all of our failures together made it so much easier to remove the facade of having it together and the pressure to always be perfect.

I understand this bear on a spiritual level

I understand this bear on a spiritual level

So here’s the list woop woop

Universities, jobs, diversity recruiting events, programs that I’ve been rejected from

  • Yale
  • Columbia
  • Tufts
  • Pomona (ish. Waitlisted)
  • The initial program I applied to at NYU Stern
  • Goldman Sachs
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Credit Suisse
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Perella Weinberg
  • Standard Chartered (I hate their damn online assessment test)
  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Morgan Stanley Diversity Recruiting Events
  • Barclays Diversity Recruiting Events
  • McKinsey Diversity Recruiting Events
  • Universe (no, not the actual universe. Just a cool startup)
  • A co-working space in Brazil (initially accepted, then they just sort of…disappeared)
  • No return offer from Morgan Stanley (honestly didn’t care since I didn’t want to go back and life moves on. I got ice cream afterwards. And my soul. And sleep)
  • CareerLAB Peer Career Advisor AND Social Media Internship (until eventually getting another position there. Shoutout to CareerLAB ❤)
  • Literally just never heard back from a bunch of companies that I don’t even remember who they are anymore
  • A few conferences (from the top of my head, start@startup, some finance conference, probably something else)

University and High school roles and positions that I lost

  • Brown Investment Group Research Committee
  • Collegiate Consulting Group Leader (well actually, I was fired from this. This was actually really funny to me. Either way, I don’t think I quite cared enough so probably for the best)
  • HS Student Body President
  • HS Habitat for Humanity Secretary
  • HS NHS President
  • HS 10th grade eating contest because I hate cucumbers and they made me eat cucumbers

The boys cause why not

  • Two of my 9th grade crushes
  • Some really hot guys on Tinder hahaha (except I’m probably way worse. Sorry, not sorry)
  • Maybe a couple guys at Brown? Ghosting is mean yo (except low key really guilty of it too. Sorry)

Personal “Failures”

  • Not calling my parents enough
  • Not keeping in touch with my extended family more
  • Thinking I had to keep everyone happy that I failed at keeping myself happy
  • Not being there for my friends
  • Living up to the expectations for myself
  • Living up to the expectations of everyone else (but don’t care about this one anymore)
  • A few calculus exams (took the classes S/NC. My HW grade got me to the promise land)
  • Dropping two courses partly because it got too stressful, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was also because I didn’t want to get a B/C

Things I’m too scared to try because I will probably fail (but really should do anyway)

  • CS 15
  • CS 17
  • CS 234897234987234982734
  • Ballroom dancing
  • Anything to do with flexibility (I don’t think I can reach my toes)
  • All math these days
  • Basically any hard science class (they’re all hard. In reference to physics and engineering type courses. And orgo. Definitely orgo)
  • Start a company (pretty sure this will eventually happen. But as of now, still scares the crap out of me)

CALL TO ACTION

 
Samanee Mahbub