There’s a quote by Lewis Carroll: "If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there."
Recently, I applied and interviewed for two clubs at USC and got rejected by both. You can imagine how shit that feels after I felt like I was part of the organization already. For the design thinking club I applied to, I was accepted to the final round. It was disappointing. I seriously questioned my abilities. If I can’t even get in a simple club, how will I ever be competitive enough to get a recognizable job, for example a position at a well-known firm?
I realized that once again, I face several problems that need to be broken down before I can move on and accept my failure.
First, I need to pat myself on the back. Why?
1) At least I tried.
At least I tried to apply while so many other freshmen are still lounging around in their partying zones (not to be stereotypical or anything). But at least I wanted it. I dared put myself out there in the risk zone for my the sake of my future.
2) I’m only a freshmen.
To everyone I’ve told when I got rejected, they have said you’re only a freshmen, don’t worry. I still do, but I guess it’s true. Right now, I should just do what I can do. I still have more chances of getting in in the future.
And about how to improve? I need to begin by changing my mentality.
1) I need to think I’m good enough.
There is not much of a secret to confidence. It’s just something you have to think. You have to believe in yourself, think this is who I am and I’m good. I can be better, I can improve, but I am not bad. I do have some strengths and skills and if I show my full potential, I am probably not all that bad either.
You probably noticed I used a lot of vague terms, such as “probably” and “good”. That’s because I’m still unsure about myself yet even though I hope to be more sure.
2) I need to want it bad enough.
I wanted to join the design thinking club, but could I have extended out of my comfort zone further? Probably, but I have to admit that this interview time was the most I’ve extended in awhile in terms of speaking up and working with others. It made me realize that more than just wanting something badly enough, I still need to practice more on a daily basis.
3) Use every opportunity to talk to practice your talking skills, to challenge yourself and embrace your fears.
I realized school is already a really open place for you to express your opinions, especially in small classes. There is basically no one talking down your idea and everyone’s opinions are pretty much accepted. I’m not sure if that is the case at work or in the adult world. Thus, I should take every free opportunity to talk for now.
For example, I participated in my poetry class today and it was the highlight of my day. Seriously. I am much more engaged and feel like I made a serious contribution to the discussion.
Furthermore, I realized I need to practice thinking on my feet more. That includes raising my hand in class even when I’m not completely sure what I want to say either. Spontaneous ideas. Say more what pops up into my mind. Those are when the best ideas occur, before the brain shuts them away saying “that’s too lame”. I need to spontaneously participate more.
4) Focus on what I can achieve now.
I can focus on finding internships. At USC, people say it’s really hard for freshmen to find internships. I call that bullshit. If I don’t find one, I just haven’t tried hard enough.
I can also focus on attaining better grades now. I’m going to keep working hard and getting the top marks I set myself to attain this semester.
Thanks for letting me fail. These failures will only make me stronger, fuck shit.