Caitlin Kirby, a doctoral student at Michigan State University, defended her dissertation while wearing a skirt made of rejection letters she had received during her studies:
Successfully defended my PhD dissertation today! In the spirit of acknowledging & normalizing failure in the process, I defended in a skirt made of rejection letters from the course of my PhD. #AcademicTwitter #AcademicChatter #PhDone
THANK YOU to everyone involved in my journey pic.twitter.com/FQbXYQ1Oov
— Caitlin K. Kirby (@kirbycai) October 7, 2019
She told Lansing State Journal that she made the skirt as a way of normalizing rejection and taking pride in overcoming it:
It took 17 rejection letters to make the skirt, rejections from scholarships, academic journals and conferences. To make the skirt, she printed them out and folded each one into a fan, connecting them in rows until they resembled a skirt. Kirby still had many left over.
"The whole process of revisiting those old letters and making that skirt sort of reminded me that you have to apply to a lot of things to succeed," she said. "A natural part of the process is to get rejected along the way."
You can get a closer look here.