Cultivating resilience as a young graduate

As graduation approaches, students would like to think that the future holds in store for them a stimulating and interesting job, or an exciting master’s or a Ph.D. However, getting to that point can be hard work: the effects of constantly researching, getting yourself ready, and submitting job applications (not to mention interviewing) can range from exhilaration to exhaustion.


However, when applying either for an academic course or a regular job, rejection is common. Maybe you get helpful feedback, maybe you don’t. Such rejections can be frustrating, annoying, or even disheartening. How does one get over them? In this article, I intend to share some best practices that will help you increase your resilience and keep your enthusiasm going after being rejected as a young graduate.

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How to deal with rejection: the nature of resilience

Many of us are dread the idea of negative feedback: it is scary enough to put ourselves out there only to receive a somewhat empty response stating that, for no particular reason whatsoever, we are not what the employer is looking for. However, rejection happens a lot, so knowing that there are positive ways to deal with it will help you to grow and let go of the stress.


If we cannot totally avoid or make ourselves immune to tough situations, we can instead try to overcome them. This is where resilience, the capacity to bounce back from adversity, comes in. You might have heard of the term while learning about systems, or environmental processes: for example, resilience is the ability of an ecosystem to recover after a natural disaster. For young graduates, every rejection or negative outcome can feel exactly like a disaster. Therefore, the abilities to adapt and overcome problems are not only useful but necessary.


Luckily, resilience is not an inborn trait, but rather a skill that can be nurtured and grown by cultivating specific behaviours and thoughts and putting some time and effort into it. Before we move on, we must understand that resilience is not the same as stubborness, but rather a parallel of pragmatism. We need to practice self-assessment to realize if the path we are following is the right one for us. Sometimes it is wise to adjust one’s goals if the feedback points that way.

Techniques for coping with rejection as a young graduate

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1. Build and strengthen your network


Negative outcomes are always a possibility, and form part of many processes in life. As a young graduate, it is more than likely that your close social circle either has had, or is experiencing, a hard time finding a job or landing a research position. Do not fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others just to reduce the hardship of your process and feel a little better.


Instead, strengthen your relationships by trusting others with all your feelings and thoughts during difficult times. Whether it is a friend, a family member, or a mentor, realising that you are not alone will not only make the process more bearable but might also even create opportunities for the future. Finding a job does not have to be lonely and despairing; you can rely on your network for help, advice, or company, and it will make the overall road to success way more manageable.

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Natalia Pitta Osses

Article Writer & Content Contributor

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The opinions expressed in this article/publication are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of GiLE or its members.

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