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Rejecting the Pain of Rejection

By Sara McCrea in Opinion & Politics

With the season of college announcements, a different kind of rejection letter has gone viral. When Duke University sent a letter to Siobhan O'Dell from North Carolina this spring denying her acceptance to the prestigious school, she realized just how much these rejections affect students and decided to fight back with a rejection to their rejection. Keeping the letter simply as a satire with a message, Siobhan posted it to her tumblr. And in the true fashion of the internet, suddenly it was everywhere.

"Their word is the end-all, be-all. But what if it wasn't? What if I treated them like they treated me?" O’Dell explained to The Huffington Post.

Starting the letter in the traditional format of a rejection letter she wrote, “After careful consideration, I regret to inform you I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me admission into the Fall 2015 freshman class at Duke.” Her full letter can be read below:

Is Ms. O’Dell right for sending a satirical piece and not buying into the hurt of rejection?

With the cutthroat admissions of Duke, it’s no secret that it is selective. Duke has a 10.8% acceptance rate (2014). It’s easy to think the message of the satirical letter is for O’Dell to take her anger out on the admissions office of Duke, and that the purpose of the letter is to say she deserved to get in, but I disagree. The meaning of this message was more to show students to keep their heads up in the time of rejection season.

Duke actually replied to O’Dell, inviting her to apply for them to reconsider their decision, and assuring her that she will do well at the college of her choice. However, the Senior Assistant Director didn’t want to extend unrealistic expectations, and made it known that it is incredibly rare that they would change their decision.

But when sending in an application, nothing is certain. O’Dell wanted to make a statement that she wasn’t going to let the rejection bother her, but instead some people believe that she was trying to make a statement that she should have gotten in. Obviously the Duke administration did nothing wrong with turning her away, as they have to be selective, so the letter wasn’t important to the Dean. Therefore the importance of the letter only arose on social media, where other students going through the same disappointment can unite.

It’s easy to be crushed when you do not get the “Congratulations!’ on the big envelope of your dream school. But we must constantly remind ourselves that, as Duke University said in their reply to Siobhan, decisions about college acceptance and how you present on paper don’t mark how successful or what kind of person you are. The 89.2% of applicants of Duke that get rejected (Duke Admissions) are guaranteed to be a huge talent pool, like many schools. Know that all highly successful people have gotten rejected their fair share of times. For example, J.K. Rowling got denied from Bloomsbury 12 times before publishing Harry Potter.

So keep your head up, and take the words of Siobhan O’Dell to heart. Reject the pain of rejection, and keep looking forward to the bright future ahead.

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