Life experience ·4.3·
From Graphic Design to Economics to Japanese – The path of failures, experiences and trying to follow your dreams and passions III
The struggle of not wanting to stand out and the need to attract attention
I didn’t intend to apply for university before spring. Nevertheless, after my father mentioned that there was still time to apply for university in January, I took out a university guide with a list of every subject and university in Germany. At that time I gave up on Graphic Design completely and decided that “something international” could be interesting. I opened the page where the international subjects were listed and looked up a few universities. I considered applying for the so called “Duales Studium”. That meant that I had to get accepted for an internship first, before being able to enroll in university. I thought that this could also be a good opportunity to earn a little bit of money while studying, so that my parents didn’t have to take care of all the expenses and thus I began filling out online applications. I was invited to several interviews and one assessment center, organised by a global health-care company. I was especially proud to be at least noticed by such a big company. After a few months of self-doubt I finally achieved something small and I was thinking that maybe this time everything would work out.
During the assessment center I met other applicants who seemed to be very interesting people. There was a guy who was studying abroad in America at that time and flew back to Germany, just for the interview. We had to introduce ourselves and solve several tasks while being observed and evaluated the whole time.
I don’t know what kind of candidates they were looking for exactly, but I still think that the more outgoing and charismatic extroverts were the ones who caught the interviewers’ attention. I tried to be an extrovert, forced myself to be talkative in an unfamiliar environment with complete strangers.
At the end of the day they told every applicant whether they got chosen for the internship or not. In the beginning we were also told that they would explain in detail why they didn’t choose someone. When I got called in, they just told me that some other applicants had some stronger traits and thus were more suitable for the internship than I was. I wished they have told me, what I could do better in the future. However, it seemed more like they wanted to get it done with the people they have not chosen.
The other interviews I was invited to turned out that way, too. Every time I got rejected, I was told that they had found someone more suitable. It was like they were telling me that I am not worth to be invested in. I believed that if I had managed to come so far to be invited to some interviews, maybe I might be able to convince at least one of them that they wouldn’t be making a mistake by hiring me and yet, when I thought that I was finally moving forward, I got pushed back again.
I felt really helpless, because I didn’t know what it was that I was lacking. Nobody told me. What should I do to be worth to be chosen? Talk more? Brag more about the things I think that I am good at? Maybe I should emit a more outgoing atmosphere, learn to be an extrovert who can talk none-stop while still being that one person everyone likes listening to, rather than being one of the introverts who prefers listening over talking?
I thought about that guy who was studying in America, who seemed to experience all kinds of exciting things abroad and I considered myself as uninteresting and boring in comparison. Maybe I should have visited different countries first with my non-existent money and apply for jobs after that, because nowadays traveling the world seems to be a criteria to be an interesting person and that will help you get jobs.
All the rejections didn’t really help me build up my self-confidence and I felt worthless once again. I thought that maybe I will never be good enough for anything or anyone. As resigned as I was, I looked up other universities without an internship and came across Furtwangen university. I could chose to study international business management and Chinese there, so I decided to fill out the application. A few weeks later I got notified that I was accepted into university. I was just relieved, because this way, I had some kind of plans for my future and my parents won’t ask me about it anymore. They were satisfied for the time being and we began preparing for my move immediately.