It is inevitable to experience certain instances of failure or disappointment. As a human being, it goes without saying that you cannot always get your way. Perhaps the most astounding thing about this reality is how rewarding it can ultimately be for your future. Whether it be that job you did not get, the school you got rejected to, or the test you did not pass, there is one common factor between them all: you.

Life may let you down every now and then. I have learned that it is up to the individual to choose the way he or she wishes to move forward. After all, without failure, how will there ever be room for growth?

It took me nearly 18 years to understand that hardship promotes growth. After I worked harder than anyone I knew and still faced rejection from my top colleges after high school, it dawned on me that I could either choose to let the decision of others define me or I could let my actions speak for themselves.

Today, I feel more fulfilled and accomplished than ever. As a pre-med student, I am blessed with the opportunities I have earned through my unwavering work ethic and poised attitude. As a student intern, I have met and shadowed countless brilliant physicians who continue to inspire me every single day.

While it is true that I am not attending the institution deemed most promising for my future, it may be that the opportunities I have found for myself at my current college could not have been as great elsewhere. When you go through life with the mentality that things happen for a reason and it is up to you to dictate the way you respond to them, I guarantee you that a feeling of gratification and comfort will ultimately find its way into your life. The first step to accomplishing this mentality is appreciating where life has led you every step of the way. It is only a part of a much greater journey.

What is the greatest lesson of them all? It all begins with the way you view yourself. Too often, young women choose to feel powerless when faced with opposition. As simple as it may be to blame the world for your failures, this solution brings you nowhere closer to what you wish to achieve.

We have the potential to succeed in whatever it is we are passionate about. It is essential that we manage our perspectives to lead us toward our goals. It is not always easy being a woman in the professional world. This is especially true in competitive fields where a woman’s power and ability continues to be underestimated.

With that said, there is no room for self-pity or victimization over life’s unexpected moments. Never allow the way others view you to define you as a person. Rather, use any negativity to better yourself instead of bring you down. Use unfortunate curve balls as opportunities to test your resilience and self-empowerment. Choose to come back stronger not only for those who have ever doubted you but, more importantly, for yourself.