Imagine if you were rejected romantically in the same fashion that organizations at BC turn away applicants. It’d probably go something like this:
To: undisclosed recipients;
Subject: Significant Other Decision
I regret to inform you that I am not able to offer you a position as my significant other for this academic year. I deeply appreciate your interest in dating me, and I hope we can remain in contact and that you continue to keep up with me in person and on social media! I would also encourage you to look into other dating opportunities; there are plenty of people similar to me in your classes and in your residence hall. There was an overwhelming amount of qualified applicants for the position of my significant other, and it was a very difficult decision.
Sound familiar? That’s because rejection is inevitable at BC, be it from wanting to get involved in clubs or from trying to attend a crowded Mod party. Even more brutal than being told “no,” is having to brush it off and keep trying. Our elders call it a “growing experience” or a “step to success,” but email by email, one’s self esteem takes a real hit. Students poke fun at the notion of applying to volunteer at BC, but what is really comical is that these clubs attempt to gauge who will be a good fit from essays inevitably written at 1:00 AM or ten minute conversations about someone’s major and hometown.
On a similar note, perhaps the reason romance isn’t exactly flourishing on campus is because everyone is so terrified of being rejected, as Professor Kerry Cronin has famously suggested in her “Bring Back the Date” talks. The hookup culture thrives by removing the emotional aspect of dating and allowing people to feign indifference to developing a connection, which humans naturally crave. It’s gotten to the point that apps like Tinder exist, where individuals never find out if a person doesn’t reciprocate their feelings. But realistically, no one is getting married off of Tinder. In order to develop a sustainable relationship, we must risk the inevitable rejection and let our guards down.
BC students like to appear confident, and the majority of us aren’t willing to admit that rejection is painful. From a scientific standpoint, research has proven that the pain of rejection is felt the same way as physical pain. University of Michigan psychologist Ethan Kross, PhD, conducted a study where participants were shown photos of their romantic partners who had recently broken up with them. Not surprisingly, the scans revealed that the same part of the brain associated with physical pain lit up. These seemingly minor incidents add up and can have long-term effects on individuals.
How are students supposed to cope with these feelings of vulnerability? It’s easy to let rejection discourage you from trying again, so it’s integral that you shake it off when it happens. Some might suggest not getting so invested in the first place, but there’s nothing wrong with being passionate and letting your guard down. Most importantly, always keep in mind your worth. Chances are, whoever or whatever rejected you doesn’t know all of your wonderful qualities. A good support system is crucial for gaining perspective in these situations, and such positive connections can help release opioids, naturally improving your mood. Moreover, none of your friends or family are going to love you any less if you’re not dating a certain person or part of a certain club, and at the end of the day, that’s worth a lot. So when it comes to rejection, fear not. Embrace the risk; learn from the experience and come back stronger the second go-around.