On a campus where success is celebrated constantly, visitors to the Annenberg School for Communication on Monday may have been bemused to find a tribute to failure.
The “Wall of Rejection,” founded by College senior Rebecca Brown, is a whiteboard covered with neon index cards, each containing a handwritten story of rejection. The wall was placed in Annenberg around 1 p.m. today and now sits in the lobby.
The purpose of the wall, Brown said, is to demonstrate to Penn students that rejection is inherent in everyday life.
Brown said she as amassed at least 250 submissions for the wall so far and is collecting more. Although not all 250 are on the board in Annenberg, they will be displayed on another, permanent wall in the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services that she is still working to create.
The wall, which is sponsored by Penn Wellness, will stay in Annenberg for a few weeks before relocating to another building on campus. Hillel and the Engineering Quadrangle have already agreed to host the wall, and Brown said she is hoping to bring it to Huntsman Hall and 1920 Commons as well.
Brown decided to create the Wall of Rejection while abroad last year after her friend, College senior Morgan Pearlman, told her how her high school had a wall of college rejection letters.
Pearlman ended up helping Brown with the project, alongside many of Brown’s other friends. Brown emphasized that her project would not have come to fruition without their help “spamming” listservs in order to submit content and encourage others to do the same. They created a wall last year that was housed in Van Pelt Library.
This year, the two have changed their project to create a mobile wall that can access more areas of campus.
Meredith Sheehan, a Nursing senior and a friend of Brown’s who helped her with the wall, said some cards provided advice for how to deal with rejection and some people “wrote their hearts out” on the cards.
“Everyone felt like they could contribute,” she said.
“When I was 17 I got rejected by SEAS, but now I get to travel across OCEANS,” one card reads.
“When life gives you two options, try and make a third :),” reads another.