Dealing with your inner Demons

The process of applying to opportunities can be extremely rewarding. It is usually a time when you think and reflect deeper about yourself and take one step closer to your goals.

But at the same time, the process might be gruelling and hard to stick through. You may feel insecure and uncertain about most things. What’s hard is sticking through the process and doing what you are supposed to, despite all these feelings.

Before you begin to even familiarise with the guidance, let’s address the elephant in the room. Let us first look at some common challenges and insecurities one may face and how you can navigate through them. It is not certain that you will feel any of these but should you feel so, do understand that this is perfectly normal. Almost everyone goes through these challenges. But only the ones that come out of these will finally make it.

If you do not feel any of these insecurities, then great! congrats. You’re all set to begin. So jump to next chapter on approaching the applications and get started!

If you do feel worried, nervous? worked up? Stay patient and read through :)

Common Challenges

I’m not good enough!

Almost everyone does this mistake of trying to evaluate and grade yourself based on what you think is good enough. Maybe you found out that your share of experiences and accomplishments are different from those of a previous winner. Maybe you are comparing yourself with another student who is applying to the opportunity. Or maybe you are reading through the selection criteria and feeling,”I don’t have any of these!”

Truth is that there is no need to feel so. Comparing yourself with anything or any one can be detrimental to your own growth. If you do feel that you are not good enough, then you should translate them to this: “I can do better than what I have done so far and I need to invest in my own growth”. Applying to this opportunity without judging yourself is you taking prompt action and investing in your growth.

I’m confused about my goals

While starting out with identifying our goals, everyone goes through this phase. We are all humans and it is quite natural to feel this way. What you want today might not be what you want tomorrow. As you evolve, your goals will also evolve.

But if you feel super confused while you apply, you should take a time out and rethink about them. Try and refocus your goals on to the frame of the opportunity and see if you can zero in on a goal at least for the purpose of filling up your application.

Will I get selected?

Honestly, no one knows the answer to this unless you do get selected or rejected. Worrying about this question is merely a waste of your own time and energy. Neither will you be able to find an answer to this, nor will you be able to focus your mind onto applying.

Remember that every second you worry about this, you are actually snatching away time from doing what you are really supposed to do in improving your chances of getting selected. you are much better off being calm and working on your application.

My parents wont anyway allow me to pursue the opportunity. Then why apply?!

The answer to this one is simple: Your parents might change their mind.

We have often seen a lot of cases where parents were initially reluctant about allowing their daughter or son to go attend a program but eased up once the student actually got selected.

Pheba, a 2017 GHCI scholar, in her interview with us, shares this experience of hers where her parents did not initially let her travel to Bangalore to attend the GHCI conference. But she finally managed to help them understand the important of the conference, the career fair that happens there and also how those opportunities could change her life. Her parents finally did permit her to attend the conference and true to Pheba’s words, the career fair at GHCI did change her life. She got placed at Microsoft as a Project Manager.

If you feel that your parents might not understand you and quit the very same moment without even trying, then your chances of availing the opportunity are nil. Instead of getting to these conclusions by yourself, what might be better is giving it a try. You never know what’s going to happen!

My language is bad

Not to worry about this one. Lot of students find language to be an issue primarily because they think that writing and speaking in flowery language is integral to a winning application. But this is actually not true. The reviewers of an opportunity evaluate you on the basis of who you are and what you have done. Your essays are not entering an essay writing competition. So beautiful language, while may be an advantage is definitely not a determining factor.

What matters more is that you write from your heart, with honesty and authenticity. Be true to yourself and to your application and the reviewers will definitely understand what it is that you are trying to convey.

If you do feel insecure about your language you can try using a spell and grammar check tool to find common mistakes and correct them. One such tool is Grammarly. It works really well in highlighting common errors in your writing and also provides you suggestions to improve it.

What you can also do is run your application past a good friend or someone who is proficient enough with language. Getting someone to proofread and help you edit it out along with helping you understand where you went wrong and how you could correct it is a good idea.

I don’t have enough accomplishments to write about.

This one is a bit tricky. Why because sometimes, you may genuinely not have much to write about. And this is when you know for sure that you haven’t participated in enough activities. Or maybe the activities you did take part in don’t fit in with the opportunity.

The other case is where you only feel that you don’t have enough accomplishments. This is a translation of the “I’m not good enough” issue that most applicants face.

If you really do feel that you genuinely do not have enough accomplishments to showcase about, then honestly, it is a clear message to yourself on what you must be improving upon. Take it in the right spirit instead of feeling bad about it. What’s important is that you decide to put in an application even though you feel so. Because we really don’t know what will click.

There isn’t a magic formula such as 3 projects, 2 volunteering experience and one good internship for you to get selected. So we don’t know for sure about where your accomplishments really stand. How you fare in the selection depends not just on you but also on your competitors. Let’s take the benefit of the doubt and choose to be on the brighter side here. Decide to apply this time and see for yourself what happens.

And when you are done applying, you can take up these issues you face and see how you can improve upon your accomplishments so that you increase your chances of getting selected at least the next year, if not this one.

This is just way too hard. I’ll try next time.

To put it bluntly, if this is what you think, you’re being lazy. And no lazy person ever made it to the top. It takes effort for you to really do things in life and only those who go through the process and the hardships that come with it finally make it to the finish line.

Take out some time and effort to try doing this. You will thank yourself at the end of it.

I have back papers.

This may not really be an issue in case of all opportunities. In cases where an opportunity specifies academic achievements or potential as one of their key selection criteria, this may matter. But in other cases where the opportunity evaluates you based on your skills and not your marks, your back papers might not matter.

In case the selection criteria is ambiguous and you do not know if you stand a chance to get through, then it really means that you may still have a window of chance to get selected. Ensure that you apply despite your reservations and see for yourself if it worked!

It will be a rollercoaster ride

Your application process is essentially a learning process and every learning cycle is not a smooth road. It is in all probability going to be a rollercoaster ride.

It is good for you to prepare yourself to face the ride ahead of time instead of fighting it as you encounter it.

See the image below? That’s probably what you might feel and go through for the first few times you begin applying. Eventually, with time and experience, you will get better at it and will be able to quickly complete application processes.

If you really think about it, every time you have tried to learn or do something new, you have gone through a series of ups and downs. And probably the only reason why you were able to finally manage to pull through and complete it was because you disciplined yourself.

You dealt with the difficult phases and kept doing what you were supposed to do. And that is probably what will help you get ahead through your application process too.

There might be times when you feel you aren’t good enough. But keep at it. Keep trying. Your effort will finally bring forth results.

While at it, do take care not to be too hard on yourself. While facing challenges, it is important for you to remain optimistic and determined to solve them. Instead, if you begin to believe that you may not be able to do it, then finally you may really not be able to do it.

Everyone has a different way of dealing with their issues. One of the things you may do at the beginning of the process is write down why you really want to apply for the opportunity. When things get difficult and you feel like quitting, it is good to go back and remind yourself about why you wanted to apply in the first place. Surrounding yourself with your well wishers and a positive support system is also essential.

Finally, always remember that if you decide to quit and not put in an application, your chances of getting selected is zero. Precisely, zero. But putting in an application, you have some chance at actually getting selected to the opportunity. It is good committing to applying no matter what, even if you feel it is a bad application or that you wouldn’t get selected.

For in most cases, there is no cost for putting in an application. You have nothing to lose but have everything to gain.

Dealing with Rejection

You very enthusiastically applied to an opportunity and perhaps got rejected? Let’s be honest, it hurts. Instead of ignoring how we feel about this and denying it, let’s look to acknowledge it. Let’s accept that some things might not have worked the way we wanted it to and that we need to try harder and smarter next time.

You might feel all sorts of negativity at the moment. But hey, rejection might not be so bad either. How come?

For one, the mere fact that you got rejected means that you pushed your limits. If it really was super easy for you to get selected, then it would mean that you were still playing around in your comfort zone. Instead, you tried to achieve for a higher target and means that you are genuinely trying to improve your capabilities.

Secondly, this may be a brilliant opportunity for you to really assess your abilities and understand what more you should learn and improve upon to get selected. If not for such an opportunity, you might not have even considered this.

Rejection is entirely an opportunity to learn and grow. Do not let yourself talk negative - that you did not deserve it, or that you are not good enough. For all you know, maybe you made it to the waiting list. Maybe you were selected but you had to be dropped due to restrictions on number of students who could be selected. So it’s not yet time for you to conclude that you cannot do this.

It’s time for you to pick yourself up and keep trying better no matter what. For this rejection really does not define who you are. You are stronger than this :)

I quite recently came across this challenge called as #100RejectionLetters. What this essentially means is that you make it a mission of your lives to receive 100 rejection letters. This sure is a fun way to look at Rejection and also even enjoy it a bit. So here, I dare you. Are you up for the #100RejectionLetter challenge?

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