Student Blog: Roxanna Shaik
The Rejections Don’t Really Count
Roxanna Shaik

May 11, 2018 — After receiving dozens of rejections, it felt almost pointless to apply to more internships. With self-doubt constantly ringing in my ears, I started questioning my qualifications. What did I lack? How could I improve?

I distinctly remember one day at the end of my sophomore year, when the sting of rejections was particularly jarring. I had received multiple rejections, minutes apart, and had confided in a group of close friends. One friend said to me, “the number of rejections doesn’t matter — only the one acceptance matters.”

This statement, a mere line, continued to remind me every time I wanted to give up the following year. It worked as a motivator, and I developed a strict regime of searching and applying for internships on a daily basis. The self-doubt remained, but I knew I had to push beyond the negativity to slowly inch toward building my career.

Finally, during the first two quarters of my junior year, I started to see results from my hard work. I lined up interviews for various companies, sometimes scheduling multiple interviews a day! Through each interview, I moved further along in the process, but they all still ended in rejection.

Specifically, one internship focused on a position as a software development engineer at the Amazon headquarters in Seattle. I was thrilled when I was first contacted for an assessment. The experience was unique and challenging. I was in a room full of fellow UCI students, all striving for the same position. When the recruiter went over the various responsibilities of interns, my heart filled with hope and I felt a sense of belonging. In the following weeks, I also completed a technical phone interview and was informed that I would be contacted within two weeks. One month later, I received the rejection.

This one hurt more than usual. With summer slowly approaching, I thought it might have been my last chance to land an internship. Luckily, one month later, I received an interview with another company. After returning home from the interview, as usual, I sat down to send a thank you email. It was at this moment that I decided to check my spam folder. I was astonished to find that the day before, I had been contacted by an Amazon recruiter. New positions had opened up, and I had been accepted!

I am very thankful for this opportunity, and I look forward to spending the summer learning more about software development. This long process of facing rejection has taught me that hard work, perseverance and consistency are key factors on the path to success — those earlier rejections no longer matter.

Roxanna Shaik is a third-year data science major.

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