About a year ago, I thought I had my next few years planned out and knew exactly what the next chapter of my life would look like. However, my post-grad experience did not take the path I expected it to. During the last year of my Undergraduate Degree, I applied to multiple Graduate schools in my chosen program, with the hopes of achieving my Master’s within the next couple years. To my surprise at the time, I was rejected from all of them, and with those rejections came a lot of emotions and changes in my life. 

Throughout high school, my grades were incredibly important to me. I strived to be at the top of my class, and I succeeded. When I entered University, there was a learning curve, but soon I got the hang of it and was able to achieve the marks I wanted. So, up until this point, I had never experienced any huge rejection or “failure,” in terms of my academic career.

When I received multiple rejections to the Masters programs I applied to, I was incredibly discouraged. I thought that I was a failure, and that I would never get into my desired program in the future, and thus my chosen career afterwards. I was very hard on myself for a few months and struggled with my self worth. It took me many difficult months to recognize I had tied so much of my self worth in the past to my academic success. I also realized that what I thought of as a “failure,” was just an alternative path than the one I had planned. These realizations though, came after many tears, after leaning on my support system of family, friends, and my therapist, and practicing a lot of self-compassion. 

During this time, I kept working on caring for myself, my mental health and found a job as a Therapeutic Assistant. This job has been life changing and has led to many discoveries about my future career and provided me with new learning opportunities. I spent time over the last year growing as a person and expanding my experience. When completing my applications this year for Graduate Programs, I felt a confidence in my abilities that grew out of everything I had gained this past year. I knew that although what I thought was a failure last year, was a chance to explore more opportunities, and discover more about myself before jumping right back into school again. 

One thing I have learned through this time is that one's experience postgrad can be difficult. It is a tough time where one can feel a bit lost, especially when going through the grueling applications of postgrad programs. I have given myself the grace of knowing that getting into competitive post graduation programs is incredibly hard, and it is okay to not get accepted on the first application. I have met multiple successful Graduate students in my chosen program that took multiple years to get accepted. If you take anything from reading this article, know that you are not the only one struggling with applications, or feeling lost after graduation. Although it may seem like I have overcome my difficult time last year, that fear of failure still tries to creep in sometimes, and that is okay. Even when it feels like you are isolated in this experience, there are so many others going through similar situations, and you are not alone. 

About the author:
Teresa Gordon (she/her) is a recent B.Sc Psychology graduate and now works as a Therapeutic Assistant with Elementary students. She has been volunteering with the Peer Support Centre for 3 years. In her spare time, she loves to watch her favourite TV shows, spend time with friends, and try new restaurants.