After the Broken Leg

The past week has been filled with numerous tryouts and auditions for sports, musical groups and theater. Perhaps you have been working all summer for that one moment. Your kicks are perfect and your notes could not be more in tune, but on tryout day, your nerves kick in and you miss a note or fumble the ball. If your practice has paid off and your skill shines above the rest, congratulations to those who were accepted into their respective groups! For those who did not make it through, please do not be discouraged. The way I see it, failure is a part of life. In going to tryouts or auditions, we silently agree to take that risk. I know that doesn’t make it any less disappointing, but you are given a couple of choices: give up and completely sever ties with one of your favorite hobbies, or work harder to try again next semester or year.

Here’s a fact: there will always be people better than you, just as there will always be people worse than you. Failure does not mean you have no skill or that you should just terminate your participation in the activity. There are always ways to continue. You are the one in control, the one with the power to choose how rejection defines you. Maybe take music lessons to hone your skills or gather a bunch of friends to create your own sports practices or go to an open mic night to show off the singing ability that people are missing out on. Opportunities will always be there, but you have to go and find them.

These little pieces of advice probably seem totally cliché and may not be helpful in dealing with the rejection, but they’re coming from a person who is best friends with rejection. In the last week alone, I was rejected from all four of the groups for which I auditioned. The emails were generic and polite – some a little more disappointing than others – but I am just as happy with Colgate as the day I arrived. There are so many other opportunities here, and sometimes the best activities may be the ones you didn’t notice before. Performers generally say “break a leg” rather than “good luck” before a show, but I wish to add something to that little saying: break a leg, but be ready to get back up again.