Don’t let the noes keep you from the yeses.
It’s easy to lose perspective in the face of rejection. That’s what happened to the author. But after reflecting on her accomplishments, she began seeing things in a new light.
As a recently graduated nurse, my plan was to quickly land a residency, but it didn’t happen. I have some great news, though. In the process of searching for a residency in a dream hospital—a reality I believe is closer—I found my inner strength.
After completing my BSN at West Coast University and beginning my search for a residency, I received more noes than yeses. After repeated rejections, seven thus far, I began feeling inept—that I wasn’t good enough—and depressed. So I did what any normal person would do in my shoes: I cried. I allowed myself to feel the sadness within and, for a few days, wallowed in self-pity.
Then I picked myself up and told myself I was smart enough. In fact, I was smart enough for a residency position at any hospital. I just hadn’t found the right one.
I came to this realization as I reflected on my own life and all the amazing things I’ve accomplished. So I couldn’t possibly become stagnant and let this sadness rule over me. Not me! “I am strong and emotionally intelligent,” I told myself.
I was chosen for an Oxford honors program. (I studied global nursing at Oxford University’s Hertford College.) I was chosen to be part of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) because I was in the top 35% of my class. I scored one of the highest grades in my cohort on the exit exam. (Only 1% in the nation scored higher.) I graduated magna cum laude with a GPA of 3.89. I passed the NCLEX after answering just 75 questions.
I did all this while volunteering at numerous places—including setting up events to tutor students at my university—raising a little girl and having familial duties. And I did it in spite of being a victim of childhood sexual abuse and its aftermath. I knew I was—and am—a survivor of trauma and of life.
It was at that time, while reflecting on my accomplishments, that I knew I was not going to give up and wallow; I would fight for my goal of becoming a nurse. I could not have achieved what I did without incredible grit, a sense of purpose, and supportive people: my beautiful little girl, a wonderful husband, parents, in-laws, sisters, brother, and friends I’ve met along the way.
I took some time for myself, looked within, and came to the realization that the multiple rejections I had received were not a personal attack on me, nor did they accurately reflect my self-value. My résumé simply did not make me shine.
To make my résumé stand out, I sought help from family and friends as well as strangers. I posted on The Circle and Reddit. I even reached out to past professors. One particularly unforgettable professor advised me to put down everything I had accomplished during my educational years, including tutoring others in nursing courses and attending Oxford. (I had refrained from mentioning the latter for fear of appearing boastful.) She even offered to serve as a reference. I disciplined myself and set aside time to work on my résumé every day. I spent weeks fixing it until it looked perfect.
I contacted a nurse hiring manager and asked what she looked for in a résumé. I also asked her to review my cover letter and résumé before submitting them elsewhere. (Someone on The Circle’s Career Advice Forum had suggested this.) She readily agreed. Responding to my enthusiasm, she even told me what specialty her hospital was looking for. The unit she mentioned frightened me, but I knew I was up for the challenge. If your goals do not scare you, they are not big enough!
Many of us become discouraged in the face of rejection. However, don’t let rejection define you, and don’t let success make you complacent. Allow yourself to feel valid feelings. Remind yourself that you are good enough. Give yourself permission to strive for your goals. Be kind to yourself during the good and the bad, and your kindness will shine onto others.
I hope I’ve inspired you to find your grit and not to let the noes get in the way of your future yeses. RNL
Editor’s note: On the day this article was posted, the author was offered a residency, which she has accepted.
Laura Broussard, BSN, RN, a resident of Texas (USA), is a 2019 graduate of West Coast University, which offers BSN programs in Texas and California.