You were swift as the coursing river, you had the force of a great typhoon, you had the strength of a raging fire…You did it all: you rocked the paper application. You had one or more interviews that you felt you nailed! You kept your fingers crossed, your family and friends wished you luck.
Then, offer day comes.
Denial. Denial. Denial. And they just keep coming. Until you are left…on the dark side of the moon.
I will tell you that this happened to me for multiple semesters. And I cried. I got frustrated. I even questioned myself whether or not I belonged in this field because I was not sure if I was good enough.
Like all stories though, there was a happily ever after. After 3 semesters I got a practicum at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. After 2 semesters, I finally received my internship back at CHLA for Summer 2017! (I’m still elated about this!)
At first, this doesn’t seem real, but it is. Some people get the practicum or internship right away, while others need more time. Like me. The nature of this field is EXTREMELY competitive. I seriously thought at one point that I needed to add to my resume that I could ride a unicycle with one hand, upside down, while belting an opera and shoot an arrow with my feet.
It’s hard to watch other members of your cohort succeed before you, and even more disheartening knowing that some other amazing person JUST LIKE YOU, snatched the spot.
So if you are batting your head around the questions of “Why? Why? Why?” I encourage you to read this blog.
First, when you get denied, let emotions happen. It’s ok to be upset about it. You worked hard. It is natural to just feel defeated. Especially the day of.
Now, throw away the tissues and start thinking. Where do I go from here?
I’ll guide you for a moment. Here are 5 things you need to reconsider so that you can grab that practicum and/or internship!
- Email/Call your interviewers for feedback. Some will be more willing to do this than others, but it is worth a shot!
- Review your application. Did you include EVERYTHING that was asked of you? Review your letters of recommendation, make sure your transcripts are as up to date as possible, have verification letters of ALL of your volunteer work and employment, and re-read your applications questions. Were they strong enough? If you need to edit, do so! I did this several times myself!
- Talk to your academic program advisor or another mentor who guided you during your application process. Present to them what you experienced. They may be able to enlighten you with feedback or provide additional tips!
- Brush up on your interview skills and responses to interview questions! This includes noting your body language and how you speak. It is a good idea to record yourself to make sure you are making eye contact, avoiding filler words, etc. (I actually got denied by a hospital because during one challenging question I was expected to answer, I kept my eyes closed for too long and they were concerned that it would happen if I worked with a family since families would not be aware that I was a visual learner.)
- Apply again!
You may have to repeat this cycle over and over again, but I promise you that you will succeed! After all, Mulan did not become a great warrior on the first try. She needed to get down to business first. Then defeat the Huns. So get down to your business and do what it takes to achieve your child life dreams!