“I’m sorry, but we’re not going to offer you the position.”

Defeated. Disappointed. Those were two feelings that flooded my thinking when I found out I wasn’t going to be a Residence Advisor during my fourth year of post-secondary studies. There was no plan B! The house I was renting wasn’t going to be an option next year as two of my housemates were leaving. Where was I going to live?!

I needed a plan B.

Prior to this experience, I think it is safe to say that I had an unhealthy level of confidence. During secondary school I was offered EVERY job I applied for, building up assurance in my ability to interview for a position. Having never experienced this sense of rejection—other than maybe being turned down for date here and there—I didn’t see the need to think hard about a second option.

Failure or Opportunity?

After the initial shock of needing to get back to the drawing board I remembered something that a teacher shared with me in secondary school. They mentioned the value of following up with a hiring team if you are not offered the position. So, I decided to request a meeting to embrace the “opportunity”of learning from this experience.

They accepted my request.

Feeling nervous as I entered the residence advisory office, I was greeted by a member of the administration team who brought me into a conference room after a brief wait.

I was starting to rethink my decision until the head of the hiring team said something I will never forget….

Rather than jumping right into things, she shared with me how impressed she was with my willingness to follow up and learn from my experience. She built on that by saying that if I was to apply again that she would confidently offer me a Residence Advisor role the following year!

Old Notes, New Growth

This morning, while writing this post, I went scanning through my old files and came across one called “Notes from RA Meeting” detailing the feedback I received during that meeting.

It noted that one of my shortcomings during my interview was initiative…I suppose this area of needed growth was already being developed.

As a teacher of career education at ACS, the mindset of “opportunity” is one of my deep hopes for students who go through the program. Failure to succeed isn’t a blocked path, but a chance to find a way around an obstacle.

Future planning for students can be a time of paralyzing uncertainty, but if students continue to take steps forward and navigate around these moments of defeat, they can move forward with confidence that our good God has plans that far exceed what we envision in our own minds.

We all hope for the best for our kids, but what if a “failure” is the exact opportunity that they need today?