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3 life lessons from the 18-year-old who transformed her Oxford rejection letter into beautiful artwork

Sharika Nair
25th Jan 2017
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18-year-old cut up her rejection letter from Oxford to create a beautiful artwork that has now gone viral on Twitter

Author Paul Sweeney had spoken about how true success is overcoming the fear of being unsuccessful. But that is easier said than done. We all face situations where we fail and it feels like everything is going wrong. That coveted job interview that does not result in a call back, that amazing person who doesn’t reciprocate romantic interest, that close friend who is not keen on hanging out anymore feature in all of our lives. Somewhere these experiences chip away at one’s sense of self, slowly eroding our self-worth.

Carrie Fisher, who had immortalised Princess Leia in Star Wars, had said it beautifully when she exhorted, “take your broken heart and make it into art”. That is exactly what 18-year-old Londoner Claudia Vulliamy did. She had received a rejection letter from Oxford, like many other students, in response to her application for a Classics course.

claudia vulliamy
Claudia Vulliamy

However, she was not dejected by it. By the time her mother Louise Saunders got home from work, Claudia had cut up the letter and transformed it into this beautiful piece of art.

oxford rejection painting
Claudia's art work
Credit: Claudia's Instagram 'flamboyant_aesthete'

When Louise posted Claudia’s art on Twitter, it touched a chord among thousands and went viral in a matter of days, having been liked and retweeted more than two lakh times.

 Claudia's instagram flamboyant_aesthete 1
Another artwork by Claudia
Credit - Claudia's instagram flamboyant_aesthete

Claudia explained her motivations to BBC:

I just thought I had this letter, it's not often that you get a letter dedicated to you from Oxford. So, I thought it would be funny if I made it into something.

Claudia is joining another premier institution - Durham university – soon, leaving behind her brief disappointment from Oxford as she embarks on the new phase of her life. However, there are life lessons that this young girl can teach us on how to cope with rejection.

Closed doors hide open ones

It’s impossible that things go well all the time. Even for those who seem super successful, there are still low points and adverse situations they have had to tackle. But brooding over what did not work out will only lead to missing out newer opportunities

Clarity can happen only in retrospect

Success and failure can truly be understood only in retrospect. What seems like heart-breaking rejection might turn out to be the start of the best thing ever to happen to you in another five years.

Classy is the way to go

Letting go is important but what is even more important is letting go beautifully. As the proverb goes - 'In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.'

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