By: Leyka Rumalla
I couldn’t really vocalize to anyone how badly I had wanted to be in Footprints- it was this constant back-of-my-head feeling I had because I had known that the Footprints family was a real thing and more than anything, I understood that everyone in Footprints intrinsically connected to each other in an intrapersonal way that went beyond interacting with the kids. I had only ever heard great things and I fell in love with Footprint’s through the words of others and the constant affirmations I had received from people I know regarding how spectacular Footprints was. Knowing all of this, I decided to apply, undergoing the process and then being faced with rejection. Rejection had never been something that I feared too much but it was how I handled it that always revealed my true intentions. When I kept going with something- even after I had faced rejection- I knew that I wanted it as bad subconsciously as I did consciously. I had faced rejection before but deciding to reapply was homage to the true passion and feelings I had towards something.
I was genuinely devastated but I knew this was something I wanted to love and find community within so I decided to reapply.
Reapplying was not tedious, I knew the steps and I understood that rejection was normal. Anyone can get rejected but I understood that it was an intrinsic deed to want to be a part of something that makes someone reapply. I reminisced on my friends words in my head telling me that she applied twice and she eventually got in, it was that coupled with my passion to be a part of the Footprints Fam that led me to truly undergo the process again because I knew I would regret it if I didn’t. I knew that persistence was key and it isn’t how you fall but whether or not you chose to get up and keep running that really matters in the end.
Getting my acceptance letter- as corny as it sounds- felt like getting into college all over again. I was at the airport with my family and hadn’t understood how to comprehend the news, I was elated and since then, those feelings haven’t subsided. I feel giddy talking about footprints and everything that it has done for me, everyone is just as accepting and as open-hearted as I thought they would be. But more than anything, you truly internalize what “for the kids” means. I began to understand components of myself through volunteering with the kids and Footprints has adequately shown me the importance of community within the hospital and out of it. I hope that this can be someone’s reason to apply to Footprints, I have been at UF for three years and this has been the sweetest and most kindest part of my experience here. And if you apply and get rejected, don’t take that as fear to not try again but rather as passion that a second chance is STILL there and that you can be a part of the Footprints fam too :)))
Leyka Rumalla is a Junior majoring in Biochemistry. She joined Footprints in Fall 2021 semester and she hopes to be a doctor in the future.