During my first year as an undergraduate, I was determined to get as many general education requirements out of the way as possible. One of those requirements was in the wellness category. I had not done much yoga by that point, but a class in which I would do stretching and breath work rather than write a paper appealed to me. During the registration period, students with more credits got earlier access to courses to choose from. Although I had come in with some extra credits from my AP courses, as a first-semester freshman, I was still fairly low on the priority list. That meant that by the time I could access the yoga course, all 20 spots were already taken.
I could have accepted that and signed up at a later semester. But in that season, I was shifting from courses I didn’t care for to courses I was excited about and wanted yoga to be in my schedule. So, I kept checking to see if someone would cancel their registration. For a few days, all I saw was 20 out of 20. Then, one day, at an odd hour of the morning (maybe 3 or 4 AM), I saw 19 out of 20. I quickly registered and snatched that vacant spot.
The class was great, and I suspect that I was the only freshman there. I’m aware that it could have gone a different way: I could have kept waiting, only to find a vacancy didn’t open up. In that case, I would have accepted it and chosen another course. But why not persist and see what happens rather than just accept what seems to be settled? In this case, it ended up working. I can think of other times in my life when it worked and when it did not work. The point is, though, that whether it worked out or not, I was satisfied that I had truly given my all.
Please understand that I am not talking about ignoring boundaries; we still need to use discernment and know when a situation will not change and respect that. If I get rejected for an opportunity, I’m not going to push the hiring manager to change their mind about me. If someone tells me they don’t want to a favor for me, I’m not going to tell them why they should. What I may do instead, is try for that opportunity again when it opens next year (which I have done) or find someone else who can do that favor for me.
Your response to a roadblock or rejection doesn’t need to be inaction. Think about what can you do instead.