Just not good enough
April 3, 2007 8:10 PM Subscribe
Help me understand why I'm always getting turned down for important things.
posted by nasreddin to human relations (38 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I am a college sophomore. Today I received a letter telling me that I was not among the winners of a summer fellowship in history I had applied for, with great hopes. The rejection letter said this: "The selection committee was greatly impressed by your enthusiasm for history and your obvious achievement and promise in the field," and then used the old "we had a lot of applications" line.
This scenario has repeated itself numerous times in my life, with other scholarships, college admissions, and so on (the last time was a few months ago, with a paper I submitted to a conference). Generally, several people whose opinion I trust will tell me that given my achievements, blah blah blah, they're confident that I will win the thing in question; in this case, a history professor I know and trust, and who wrote my recommendation letter, asserted confidently on a number of occasions that I was sure to get the fellowship. In the past, it was teachers, etc. Yet I've never managed to win anything I find relevant or interesting for my (hopefully) future academic career.
This makes me extremely depressed about my prospects, because there's obviously something important I'm lacking. When I ask people what these things might be, they more or less just pat me on the back and say everything's great. I am fully able to accept that the selection committee's words were soothing pablum, and that other people just want to preserve my self-esteem by not telling me what's wrong with me. My problem is, how do I figure out what they're not telling me?