The R Word: Personal Lessons

Sam is a 16-year-old from Montgomery, NJ. She enjoys playing tennis, writing and Community Service. Her favorite subject in school is History.

When you think of the word rejection, probably the first two things that come to mind is a disappointing document from your top college or your crush dropping the “just friends” bomb. However, I have learned that the definition of the R word can span far beyond academic or romantic realms, and have learned how rejections can lead to other, more positive, options.

During the summers prior to my freshman and sophomore years, I was optimistic about trying out for my school’s tennis team, not really caring about whether or not I made JV or varsity. I wasn’t exactly in with the girls who were on the team, nor was I in the clique of desperate prospects wanting to fit into a tight green-and-white tennis dress. However, for those two summers, I was quickly rebuffed. This past summer, I was more determined than ever to prove the condescending tennis girls wrong. Unfortunately, that too, resulted in me being not chosen over girls that weren’t as skilled. Needless to say, when my mother found out, she gave the JV and varsity coaches a piece of her mind, making the former cry. I, on the other hand, got a different idea. I spoke with my school’s vice principal about it (he used to be the athletic director for the district) and in turn, was opened up to many advisory and administrative opportunities.

It didn’t stop there. As winter sports came along, I felt motivated enough to ask about being the statistician for our school’s hockey team. Most close to me know I am an avid fan of the sport, so they expected me to be excited. Unfortunately, I felt the fear coming on again. The alpha males at my school don’t play football, but hockey, and they are known for making asinine and vitriolic comments at weaklings like myself. Even worse was the fear of being arbitrarily rejected. Sure enough, I was bombarded with dirty stares of shock from the boys of my grade, yet welcomed with open arms by the seniors. I felt so confident of my accomplishment until a few weeks ago. I was bummed again when I found out was solely taking stats for JV (In my school, all JV sports and JV athletes are looked down upon as not being good enough athletes to play varsity). However, after the realization of how childish this thought was, I picked my chin up and completed the stats without complaint or worry.

Lastly, breaking away from sporty and athletic examples, I also deal with social rejection a lot. While I do have my friends, I’m not exactly what you would call accepted by any concrete group (popular kids, middle of the road kids, nerdy kids), and have been targeted by bullies over the years. It can also be tough trying to figure out who and where I am socially because of these reasons. Nonetheless, I’ve learned over the years to keep being myself (albeit within some reason) and not really care too much about others’ perceptions of me, and, of course, smile. Now while that may seem easier said than done, staying optimistic has definitely been key with me dealing with social rebuffings.

And every time I ever feel rejected or worry about it, I remember the lyrics to this inspirational cover of “Party in the USA:” (click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IrHee0ih_4)

Never gonna give up,

I live my life,

Feel better each and every day,

I’m not gonna quit so there

Sick of this Shhh so there

Never gonna give up,

I live my life,

Feel better each and every day,

Yeahhh,

Everything’s gonna be okay,

Yeahhh,

Everything’s gonna be okay

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One Response to “The R Word: Personal Lessons”

  1. Chelsea
    January 5, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    You’re on to some smart life lessons early, which is great! Learning to deal with anxiety, rejection and other negative emotions without letting it lead to your self-esteem crumbling is so important. I’m glad to hear you draw strength from how you handle these things in a positive way.

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