I can’t even begin to tell you how many tests I’ve failed, how many organizations I didn’t get into, or how many interviews I have flat out bombed. Failing sucks, but I’m thankful for these experiences. Because of these failures, I learned to embrace rejection and to grow from it.
I realize that this is UVA, that many of us are used to getting what we want and that we are used to succeeding. If you’re like me, you’ll discover that this isn’t always the case. Meritocracy isn’t always the standard in every situation. In the end though, everything works out. Being determined and working hard will pay off big time in the end. And then one day, you’ll become proud of your rejections because they made you better than before
My family spent a lot of time in debt, living in a run down building in Astoria Queens, New York. My parents always refused to apply for food stamps and never asked for help; they were ashamed to do so. I remember staring at the town houses a couple streets down in front of the East River and wondering how luxurious it must be to have stairs in your house. I don’t think people truly understand what it means to live by the penny unless they’ve experienced it; you learn not to ask for anything, whether it is a 99 cent ring pop or brand name ice cream. But my parents always provided books; looking back I know how hard it was to do that, but they valued education above everything. Now that I am at UVA I am so thankful for that, I was able to develop intellectual skills that kids growing in Astoria usually didn’t. But I sometimes feel so out of place, because even though our socioeconomic status has changed in the past 5 years, the identity and culture of preservation and appreciation of every little thing remains. I still pause in awe when I have the luxury to eat out with a friend or buy an extra pair of shoes. At UVA, I often hear somewhat flippant comments about expenses made by professors, CIOs in emails, and students; I understand it is hard to monitor everything said, but to someone who knows economic struggle, it can be a painful sting and reminder of their seemingly abberational situation.