Seventeen. Why is that such a significant number? A number that I will never forget. A number that haunted me but now motivates me. A number that controlled my thoughts for two years. A number that resulted in me sacrificing my health. A number that fully consumed me. But most importantly, a number that signifies the reason I’m in the exact position I’m in today.
Okay Alyssa, backup… You sound crazy or possessed right now! How could seventeen possibly be such a significant number in your journey to PT school? Is seventeen the day of the month you got your acceptance letter? Is seventeen the amount of hours you spent celebrating on the day you got in? Is seventeen the amount of times you pinched yourself to make sure it was true, that your dream school accepted you into their physical therapy program?
Nope, not quite. What if I told you seventeen is the number of rejection letters I received? Would you believe me? Sometimes I’m not even sure if I believe myself. I mean now I’m at the University of Miami in a top ten ranked physical therapy program… how did seventeen other programs not find myself worth an interview? Worth a slot? Or the chance? I’m not sure the answer to those questions but I’m pretty confident of why University of Miami took a shot with me and I’ll go into that in a future blog post (cliff hanger, I know!)
It’s true though, seventeen rejection letters made their way into my mailbox and e-mail account. Maybe you’re asking yourself why I’m so focused on the amount of rejection letters I received and not on the amount of acceptances I received? I’m a pretty positive, glass half-full kind of girl…it may not sound like that right now, but I am, I promise.
Let’s do a bit of math, nothing too crazy I didn’t even take Calc! So, I graduated with my Bachelors in April of 2013. By August of 2013 I sent out nine applications to nine DPT Programs throughout Florida. By Spring of 2014, I had received back nine rejection letters. It felt like a boomerang coming right back and piercing my heart after what I thought was a great throw. I’m a fall down seven times, get up eight kind of girl so fast forward to August of 2014, at this point I’ve sent out nine more applications. Yes, eighteen total, and I’ve already let the cat out of the bag… I received seventeen rejection letters. University of Miami was the only acceptance I received (and boy, that acceptance story is long enough for it’s own blog post.. another cliff hanger, oops).
This photo was taken the day I got accepted into UM! My family took me out for a celebratory dinner at Cheddar’s and I don’t think I ate more than 3 bites, nor did I sleep that night because it felt all too surreal.
Why am I sharing this with you? There’s a happy ending but in reality it’s not the most uplifting story to share. Well, when you apply to eighteen programs and get rejected to seventeen of them, you learn a few things. This story wasn’t always one I shared freely, I used to be so embarrassed by it but I’ve finally found the good in those seventeen rejections and I want to share it with you. You might not be in the exact same position as I was but if you’re applying for your dream job… go for it. If you’re applying to a prestigious grad program… apply for it. If you’re trying to make something out of nothing… make it happen.
I feel as if turning your rejections into your blessings is the best way to handle a situation like this one and that’s exactly what I’ve done. I want to encourage you, if you’re at your wits end that doesn’t mean to give up. That bottom of the barrel feeling should encourage you to keep going. In my next blog post I want to share with you 5 lessons I learned from my seventeen rejections. Until then… keep pushing! Whatever that internal battle you’re struggling with is, I’m sure on that eighteenth try, a blessing bigger than you could have imagined is waiting for you.
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