Candace Henslee, former Student Reagent for Texas Woman's University as well as former member of the Leadership Institute and ODK.
My graduate school application experience was such a great test in believing in myself and what I bring to the table. I learned it only takes one "yes" and it is helpful to not get brought down by the "no's". I applied to the top 3 schools (UCONN, University of Georgia, and Indiana University). After 2 rejections, I received an invitation to interview at Indiana University. I had to be hired in an internship position in order to be accepted. I had eight 30 minute interviews back to back which was exhausting. Throughout the weekend, I chatted with amazing applicants from all over the country who had been invited to interview at multiple schools.
It was a very intimidating process, but I kept reminding myself that I was qualified for the position. The internship I received was the interview about which I was uncertain. I could feel the interviewer was bored and just as tired as I was from interviewing person after person. However, it was the position I wanted the most and at the end of the interview, I made a point to share my achievements.
We had dinner with the interviewers later that night and as much as I wanted to sit next to the friends I had made that weekend, I sat next to the man who interviewed me as I wanted him to remember my face. I asked him more questions about the position and a few weeks later I got a call from him saying he would like to offer me the position at his university.
It's amazing how things work out when you put in the effort and believe in yourself and your experiences. The Leadership Institute helped me in putting away my introverted tendencies and get outside my comfort zone. Had I not done that, I think I would be in a completely different place. I hope my experiences can help other members of the Leadership Institute know that jobs, internships, and graduate programs don't just fall into your lap (at least in my world) so always put yourself at the table as a worthy candidate and go outside your comfort zone. And remember, it only takes one yes!