How to Prepare Yourself for Academic Rejection

Life is harsh. Indeed, life can be brutal.

Prepare Yourself

Life is harsh. Indeed, life can be brutal. There, I said it. You probably already know this and you don’t need to be some sort of academic to figure this out. In fact, the moment you get out that door every single day, you will be faced with some form of disappointment at some level or another.

Now, it may not be as shocking or attention grabbing as stage 4 cancer, but it can come close. It can involve your relationships, it can involve your career trajectory, it might even involve small, seemingly minor annoyances at work. Whatever the case may be, you will be let down. The reason for this, of course, is the human condition.

Again, this is not rocket science. Most people with any power of observance and empathy would be able to figure this out. The reason why we get disappointed and the reason why we face one letdown after another is the fact that we set expectations. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. Seriously. Because it all boils down to the fact that you cannot get disappointed if you did not have certain expectations.


Make no mistake about it, hanging on to unrealistic assumptions and expectations is a one way ticket to disappointment. You can bet a million bucks on that observation.

Let me tell you a story. There were three guys who dipped their fingers in vinegar and put it in their mouths. One guy looked very unhappy. He said, “I’m so sad. It’s so sour. This sucks.” Another guy put the vinegar in his mouth, sucked on it, and had this very angry look, “Why is it sour? Why does it have to be sour?” The final guy did the same thing, but had this amazing smile on his face. He was beaming. He said, “Yes, this is vinegar because it is sour.”

Have you ever noticed that people who have no expectations whatsoever tend to be the happiest? So I need you to wrap your mind around that so as to protect yourself from unnecessary headaches that you inflict on yourself.


I hope you get the point of the joke. We depress or discourage ourselves based on our assumptions because if you assume that life is going to be hard, you will be prepared. You won’t be as disappointed as you are. You won’t continue to struggle like you do.

However, if you feel that you are somehow, some way, entitled to things being smooth or life being a cakewalk, you will get beat down again and again and again. And the worst part to all of this is that you did it to yourself.

So the short answer to adequately preparing yourself for academic rejection is to roll with the punches. Assume that it’s going to happen and learn from each harsh lesson. Eventually, you will get to the point where the more you get rejected, the better you become. Now, how awesome would that be?