A Reflection on Rejection


Rejection sucks. Like, a lot.

Here’s a bit of context. Today is my last day of classes for my first semester of law school. Finals are looming and tensions are high, to say the least. Stress is an entirely different topic that I’m sure I’ll be addressing in the near future, but here’s an excerpt of an email that the law school sent to us in preparation for finals, just to give you an idea:

“This time of year can be very stressful.  The University Health Services (UHS) offers both primary care and mental health counseling services.  The UHS primary number is 608 265-5600 and the mental health number is 608 265-5600, option 9.  24 hour crisis services are also available.

The Wisconsin State Bar’s Wisconsin Lawyer’s Assistance Program (WISLAP) has a helpline available to students.

Be sure to balance your days during finals (We also strongly recommend night balance as well).  Please take breaks, so your eyes can have a chance to look at something other than words.  Venture outdoors, but be sure to return indoors because the weather will likely not be Tahiti-esque.  Eat food.  Food good.  Yum.  “Sleep, perchance to dream,” for tranquility awaits when slumber’s grip ferries you beyond yawn-der land.  It’s very important to remember that breaks, food, and sleep in any order can help make studying more productive.”

Something about needing to offer crisis counseling and an alcohol abuse line to students in anticipation of final exams seems to suggest a larger, systemic problem with the legal profession as a whole to me. Alas, that’s a digression that I’ll dive into another day. Today we’re talking about rejection.

Apparently all of that stuff up there is not nearly stressful enough, if you really want to be successful as a future lawyer. Because right now is also the time to start applying for jobs, clinics and internships for summer. As such, it’s also the time that the rejection letters start rolling in. It’s an inevitable fact of nature when 300-ish people are applying for 20-ish available positions at any given time. The most disheartening rejection so far was this one from a clinical program at school:

“Thank you for applying for a position in the clinics. As you may know, we do not have the resources to accept all of the qualified applicants who are interested in our clinical programs. These are extremely difficult choices, and we understand that they are particularly difficult for those students not selected (i.e. for interviews, as well as for the few slots available in the programs). We consider a variety of factors in deciding whom to interview for the clinical programs.We had an extraordinarily large number of applicants this year and unfortunately, we cannot interview or place in a program everyone who has applied.”

Now, that’s a really pretty boilerplate statement, and of course I’ve seen that type of response to an application before in my life. The hardest part about this particular rejection was that it’s basically a nice way of saying, “Sorry, but you’re not even good enough for an interview.” Which makes more sense when you understand that this was an application for an unpaid, school sponsored clinic…not a big fancy paid position at a big fancy law firm. The rational side of me knows that there are a lot of other students who didn’t get interviews either, but the emotional side of me (exacerbated by stress) really took this to heart – complete with a “why did I even come to law school”-esque melt down.

I was upset and unreasonably crabby for about a day after that, but I had to force myself to leave the pity party and move on. A great conversation with an old friend yielded the wisdom, “rejection is God’s way of protecting us from things that might hurt us if we got into them. Sometimes failure can be the largest blessing we receive, because he’s setting up something perfect for you.” With that encouraging message in mind, I keep searching for opportunities and keep sending applications, hoping that that perfect opportunity will come along eventually. There are a couple of promising leads, but nothing concrete yet. I keep telling myself that it’s ok. There’s time.

Sometimes if you tell yourself something enough times, you start to make yourself believe it.

As for my rejected Weddingbee application, I really think my friend’s advice (without knowing it) hit the nail on the head. Like I mentioned in my last post, writing my blog with the intention of becoming a Bee really had started to make me focus on all of the wrong things lately as far as the wedding was concerned. The projects, the details, the things that just really don’t matter. That rejection letter afforded me the opportunity to step back and think about why I had even applied in the first place. Honestly, I haven’t found the answer to that question yet. If I do, maybe I’ll reapply later when I’m eligible again. If not, that’s ok too. Because the purpose of the wedding isn’t to take pictures and talk about them on the Internet. It’s to get married to the love of my life.


About Kimberly H.

I'm a Wisconsin girl born and bred - a 2L at the University of Wisconsin Law School and a former member of the UW Marching Band. I married my best friend on 7/7/2012 and am an avid lover of nail polish, corgi pups and historical fiction novels!

2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Catching Up « Life. Love. Law.

  2. Pingback: Try, Try Again « Life. Love. Law.

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