Results Day: it’s a rather touchy subject.
The form for those approaching said subject seems to be as follows: with a slight sideways tilt of the head, hands clasped together apologetically as one walking towards the embalmed remains of a distant relative at a wake.
‘Oh bad luck, you alright?’ become five words drawn out into and endless elongation of droning syllables.
You’re fine, gritted teeth filtering out the verbal sucker punch you’ve got stored in your subconscious. Aunt Mildred doesn’t really mean any harm.
Rewinding to the interview stages, it becomes an interesting, if rather torturous exercise, to think of what might have been different. Did I say all I wanted to say? Where did I slip up? For me I could pinpoint it surprisingly easily. It’s a rather disturbing, but I feel rather fortunate realisation, failing ever knowing what you want to do, to at least know what you don’t want to do. Sitting in the economics half of my History and Economics interview conveyor belt, and listening to a rather saturnine professor list the various reasons for not including behavioural economics, a subject I leant on heavily in my personal statement in the course, it slowly dawned on an increasingly disheartened self that I wasn’t getting in, and that unbelievably, I wasn’t sure I wanted to (promise).
A letter arrived apologising, a door was closed, and to bastardise the saying, a few others opened. ‘The junction of a dizzying range of alternatives’. Masochistically I decided I wanted to try again, and this time ended up applying (rather originally) for History. A few things dawned on me during this second swing. I was calmer, less eager (desperate) to impress, and much much more excited to talk about things I didn’t entirely know, as opposed declaiming on things I had absolutely no idea about. The second experience was at least enjoyed rather more than the first was endured.
I’m not going to say that the feeling of getting rejected is an experience on par with a rhapsody, it’s obviously not. It does at least provide some sort of perspective. At some point along the line a rejection will be viewed as one of the best thing that ever happened to you, if only because it either informs what you really don’t want to do, or confirms what you really do.