These are scary times for high school seniors as they discover where they've been accepted -- or not. I still remember an April day, during spring break, when I was home and waiting for the mail. Except the mail was late due to a substitute postman, of all days. So I passed the time talking with friends who called to share their fates.
Finally the mail arrived and the news was not what I had hoped for. I'd been accepted at fine schools, just not the one I'd wanted. I spent the next week or so analyzing my situation, opted not to wait for wait lists, and made my choice. There was pain, but it was soon overtaken by graduation, a summer job, and excitement about a new chapter, even if it wasn't the one I'd counted on.
Around this time of year, you can always find stories about how people deal with rejection -- or perceived failure -- including getting a thin envelope from their college of choice. They're worth reading, whether you're in high school, in a challenging relationship, or struggling to find a job. An astute friend pointed out a good example. Even though it was J.K. Rowling, and even though she was giving the 2008 commencement address at Harvard, she makes good points, in memorable fashion, about what she called the "fringe benefits of failure."