By Maggie Chen
Reading my rejection email from Oxford university in the middle of a lesson, I watched the perfect academic life I envisioned vanish in front of me. At the time, getting into Oxford was all that mattered. I was angry with myself, and lost all confidence in my intelligence. I felt clueless as I did not put much thought into my other university choices. Instead of revising for A-levels, I directed all my negative energy into music. I spent most of my time shredding the guitar, listening to Nirvana, and taking it out on the drumkit. In truth, I was in no mood for studying or thinking about my future. Frustrated, I decided to take a gap year to study music production. I deferred my university offer to study physics, despite my teachers advising against taking a year out before such an academically demanding degree.
It was the best year of my life.
I moved to London soon after departing school, and started the musician life. My days were filled with working in the studio, writing music with friends, and gigging around London. The change of discipline was much needed. Being away from physics made me miss it immensely, and I regained my desire to learn. I also realised that not only did I need the challenges that came with an academic life, I also needed the creativity and freedom from arts. London accommodated my needs perfectly, and I had slowly fallen in love with it.
Refreshed and filled with hope for the future, I was again ready to take on university. I quickly rejected my deferred offer, and reapplied to London universities. Today, I am a 4th year physics student at UCL, busy with my project, and writing a new arrangement for the annual music show.
Coming out of the shadow of rejection is not always easy. It takes time to take a breath,
regroup, and then take actions. It is also never a bad idea to give the drumkit a good bashing sometimes.