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Finding motivation after rejection

Have you ever spent so long pouring your heart into a job application or clerkship/internship application, only to later receive a rejection email? If yes, you are absolutely not alone. Rejection is inevitable! While that may seem so obvious, I think as law students, we can have a tendency to hyper-fixate and convince ourselves that I need this particular job, I need this clerkship, I need to do this internship etc.


When you have that mindset – that a particular application is the be-all and end-all – receiving a rejection email can feel even more crushing, deflating and disheartening, and can hinder your motivation to seek out other opportunities.


To get over these setbacks, it may take a bit of time. Everyone copes with rejection differently. Here are a few things that have helped me and might help you, to regain your motivation after feeling it evaporate.


1 - Focus on how far you’ve come

As you obviously know, studying law is not easy! It is an achievement in itself to be completing a law degree. Whether you are in your first semester or your final one, you have a lot to be proud of to be where you are. The skills you are developing in your degree are sought after skills in the workplace and you should try to always remember this!


2 - Reconnect with why you enrolled in law school

Reconnecting with why you are enrolled in law school and making sure you are applying for positions that match your goals and values is so important. For example, if you don’t see yourself working in commercial law, you might want to look beyond the traditional clerkship process for alternative opportunities that better fit your career goals.


3 - Consume media that inspires you

Watching movies and tv shows that depict lawyers and legal work can be a real motivation booster. There are also a multitude of podcasts, YouTube videos and Instagram accounts dedicated towards showcasing the life of a lawyer and sharing advice for aspiring lawyers. Consuming this type of media can help to rediscover a lost motivation.


4 - If appropriate, ask for feedback

If you are like me, this will be the last thing you would want to do after receiving a rejection email! But there are so many benefits to sending a polite email asking for feedback. It can give you useful ways to improve your applications in future, as well as demonstrating to the hiring manager that you really care, which can potentially keep you in their mind for other opportunities down the track.


5 - Get back on the horse!

This is of course way easier said than done, but when you feel ready, channelling that disappointment from the rejection into making your next application even better is the best thing you can do. Searching the Monash Career Connect platform, finding community legal centres that take on volunteers, looking into Monash clinical placements and scholarships are some great starting points to getting back on the horse!


Above all, be kind to yourself.

Give yourself a break and surround yourself with people that support you and do things that make you feel happy and energised. If this is difficult, remember that Monash University offers free counselling services to students.


Rejection is inevitable! Remember, there is a big wide world full of exciting opportunities – the right fit for you will come.


Written by Emmaline Ohri

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