Rejection or redirection?

I do not always say that I hate rejection, but I do hate it, and I think most people feel the same way.

On the other day, while I was checking my Instagram, I came across a quote. “As I look back on my life, I realize that when I thought I was being rejected from something good I was actually being re-directed to do something better.” I put my phone down and tried to retrieve my memory of rejection.

Three years ago, I decided to pursue a degree in music, instead of medicine. My parents and I decided to apply to three different schools in Southeast Asia: Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Lasalle College of the Arts and University College Sedaya International, simply because my parents (and me) did not want me to go too far from home. However, all of us knew that we were aiming for NAFA and the other two schools were just backups.

I went to UCSI. I nailed the tests and the audition went well. Three days later, I received an email from the school. I got in.

I spent a week to record my program several times, picked the best one and sent the video to Lasalle. Four days later, I received an email from the school. I got in.

I went to audition for NAFA. This time, I did not play well even though I practiced a lot. I did not need to wait for the result. I just knew that I would not be able to get in and I prepared myself for the pain of rejection. The result went out a week after the audition.

I was right, I failed my audition. I did not get in.

It was a quite heartbreaking experience. I told myself that, "I cannot play the piano. I am not a good musician. I am such a failure. They chose two people out of fourteen people and I am not even two of them. There were only fourteen people. Only fourteen. Fourteen."

Time to decide between Lasalle and UCSI, but I could not say yes to any of them.  I just could not pick one of those schools because I did not really want to go there! Then, I had a lesson with a lecturer from Sydney Conservatorium of Music. After we finished the lesson, he said to me, “Thank you for playing the Beethoven for me today. I am coming back to Jakarta next year and I’ll be happy to see you again! Oh wait! You’d be studying in Malaysia or Singapore wouldn’t you? Why don’t you just come to Sydney? Australia? You are good enough!” I did not say anything to him. I only smiled at him as I said goodbye.

On the way home, I spontaneously told my parents that I wanted to go to Australia if I can get into one of the music schools. I honestly did not really think about it properly. However, the first reaction came from my dad, he said, ‘That’s my daughter! Someone who is brave enough to get new challenges!’ We started to gather some information from my piano teacher who studied in Melbourne and also from an education consultant. Apparently, I had to wait for a few months to apply to Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

No problem. I was always the youngest in my batch.

I ended up sending a video to Melbourne Conservatorium Music and the result came two weeks later.

I got in.

I decided to accept the offer so I had a nine months break before I started my foundation studies. In that time, I explored my passion in teaching, by teaching more students than I had before. I did readings, I discovered my love of playing in the orchestra, I took lessons and practiced hard and I also had my first solo recital.

Time flew and I finally came to Melbourne. I wanted this particular piano teacher so before the semester started I had to meet him and play for him. I came to him on my second day in Melbourne. I played a Prelude and Fugue by Bach and a Schubert’s Impromptu.

After I played, he told me that he wants me to be his student.

In my second week in Melbourne, I went to St. Francis church and captivated by the choir. I sent an email to the music director and arranged an audition. I sang for him and the choir accompanist.

They said yes, and I am now still singing in the choir.

After I finished my foundation studies, I decided that I want to live in one of the Melbourne University’s residential colleges. I filled the application form, wrote an essay, gave them my first semester results and had an interview.

Right after I got my foundation studies results, they gave me a place.

During the summer break, someone told me that the university musical theater association was looking for a music director. I filled the form and had an online interview. I did not expect anything because I was just about to start my first semester after finishing my foundation studies.

Twenty minutes after I closed my Skype application, they offered me the position.

In my second year of university, when I was ‘pracrastinating’ I applied to be the music director of a musical by the Indonesian Student Association in Melbourne and went for an interview.

Two days after the interview, I received an email saying that I got the position.

Two weeks ago, I auditioned for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chorus. They told me that they would email me the result later at night or the next day after the audition.

They emailed me two hours after the audition and the first word of the email was, ‘congratulations!’

I could go on with the list but the point is I did not realize that these great things in my life started from a failed audition, and it left me thinking, if one rejection could lead me to (lots of) better things, why would I still hate rejection?

I took my phone from the bedside table and opened my Facebook. I watched a video shared by a friend and came across a quote by Oprah Winfrey. “There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.” Well, life has moved me to a good direction indeed.