Failure is not final, neither is rejection personal. In 2019, I applied for the MSc Economics & Strategy for Business programme at Imperial College Business School. I got past the interview stage and was moved to the waiting list. I was thrilled and scared at the same time because it meant I was not rejected, but it did not mean I was accepted either. You can imagine my disappointment when, after two months on the waiting list, I received a rejection email.
In spite of my disappointment, I decided to take a step back and move on to my next best option - a return to my home country of Nigeria to take part in the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. This entailed gaining a year’s work experience as well as getting involved in community service. I was lucky enough to obtain my work experience at PwC, one of the ‘big four’ accounting firms.
During the year, I applied to Imperial College Business School once again. A few weeks later, and after an initial second rejection, to my surprise and delight I received an acceptance letter from Imperial to study MSc Economics & Strategy for Business. I was ecstatic. A few months on I received even more unexpected yet incredible news - Imperial had chosen me for the Imperial Business Scholarship Award. Receiving this award was an emotional moment for me, and certainly not something I expected.
There I was, a girl with two rejections from Imperial prior, now being selected for a highly competitive scholarship award. Talk about double blessings for your former troubles! As of right now, my Imperial student gateway account still shows two applications ‘unsuccessful’ and one of them ‘unconditional firm’ a sight which still encourages me to believe miracles do happen when you work hard enough, and this was nothing short of it.
As I mentioned in the beginning, rejection is not personal, neither is failure final. I learned during this journey that my rejections meant either that it was not the right time, or that it was not the right thing for me. My advice to anyone with similar aspirations would be not to stay disheartened looking at the door that has closed. I encourage everyone to grieve if they have to, but then move on and look for the next available door. Improve yourself and your skills, then try again. There are so many opportunities that are ahead; learn from your setbacks, and do not give up on yourself!