We spoke to Trainee Educational Psychologist Samantha Baloro, Trainee Health Psychologist Krishna Talsania, and Trainee Clinical Psychologist Ronald Dodzro about rejection and perseverance throughout their journeys leading to professional training.
I think what helped was knowing that the doctorate is very competitive. This allowed me to not take 'Nos' personally as I knew that there were far more capable applicants than places.
The path towards qualifying as a psychologist is notoriously competitive. How do you overcome self-doubt in the face of rejection?
This is a great question and something I still struggle with! I think what helped was knowing that the doctorate is very competitive. This allowed me to not take 'Nos' personally as I knew that there were far more capable applicants than places. I also always asked for feedback after every interview rejection which allowed me to focus on
the next steps.
What was your personal experience with rejection and how did you overcome any self-doubt it may have effected?
I've had many rejections. From assistant psychology posts to training posts on the Doctorate in clinical psychology training. I've lost count of the number of applications I have made which have been rejected. These rejections were difficult to begin with but then I started to concentrate on developing myself further through voluntary work, further education and training. I started working too and all this helped me to overcome my self-doubt. It’s so important to believe in yourself.
How do you stay motivated after rejection and stay confident when applying?
Staying motivated after rejection is hard! The doubt creeps in and works on the imposter syndrome. For me, I always think about why I wanted to get into this profession which fuels my drive. I don't think I'm ever confident when applying. I'm just me and try to get that across.
Rejection as a tool for development
One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is to use feedback to your advantage.
What kind of feedback did you find most constructive to your development?
The most helpful feedback I have received spoke about trying to really reflect on the Educational Psychologist (EP) role and the complexities of it. I then contacted and spoke to EPs via social media. I was also asked to reflect on my values and how they fit into the profession which was helpful for the doctorate application. The importance of being reflective was also mentioned and I aimed to be more reflective by keeping a diary. This was helpful for thinking about the psychology/research behind my practice (as a teaching assistant/assistant EP).
What would you say was the most valuable lesson you were able to take away from your experiences of rejection?
Remain steadfast in your career development. If it’s what you really want then rejections will be a part of that, but when you are well developed and established you will know how far you have come. Believe in yourself, it’s essential. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is to use feedback to your advantage. It’s necessary as it gives you a reflection of where you are developing well and where you need further development. Even if you don't agree, it will show you where you are doing well.
Advice on fostering perseverance
Remind yourself that even if they don't see your value in an application or interview, you're still valuable!
What advice would you give to someone currently doubting their chosen path towards qualification after facing repeated rejections?
What helped me was to take a step back and really consider why I decided to undertake the psychology route. It is a tricky profession and most people that I have spoken to have had to apply for courses/assistant jobs multiple times. Also, try speaking to prospective EPs/trainee EPs/EPs on social media. Everyone is super supportive and sometimes just having a chat or asking someone to look over an application form can be helpful when you are experiencing doubt.
Do you have any tips on how to keep motivated for the next round of applications? Particularly after receiving many rejections?
1. Question why you want this and if Clinical Psychology is the only option
2. Remind yourself that even if they don't see your value in an application or interview, you're still valuable!
3. Doing activities and hobbies you love will remind you that the world is bigger than Clinical Psychology
This was the final event in our #NewFaceOfPsychology social media campaign which ran over the course of the 2020/21 academic year. The campaign aimed to showcase the 2020 incoming cohort of trainee Clinical, Educational, Health, Counselling, Sports and Exercise, Forensic and Occupational psychologists from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. Over the past year, we have hosted several Twitter Q&As and Instagram Live interviews to support aspiring psychologists from BME backgrounds. You can look back at the campaign activities on social media via the hashtag.