If you fail, it’s really not the end of the world

by Julianna McDowell, Staff Columnist

For as long as I could remember, I did not fail things. I know what you must be thinking – that’s impossible, everyone fails sometimes, but I’m serious.

Ever since I was young, everything I was interested in and tried my hand at just kind of came naturally to me. Whether it was dance classes, reading and writing, sculpture and ceramics, or joining ASB, I can honestly say I don’t remember failing at something I really wanted and worked hard for.

I applied for a job early on in my college career. It was one I had coveted since before my first year at San Diego State. Needless to say, I wanted this job badly.

After applying confidently, I rested assured that I was a shoe-in. However, less than a week later, I received an email informing me that I had not been given the job I had so desperately sought. I was mostly bewildered at the development. My psyche was plagued by hints of sadness and self-pity. I had never experienced such melancholy.

Yet that melancholy was a sentiment I quickly ascertained as an integral and, more importantly, natural part of any college experience. Take the current Spring 2016 semester for instance, I have undoubtedly put myself out there and applied for numerous positions in many, if not all, of the organizations of which I am a part.

I did not receive a single one of the aforementioned positions. Each and every time I failed, I felt as though that failure carved out a piece of myself. As the carvings became more frequent, they created a hole in me, and as the hole got bigger, I found myself inevitably beginning to pull back.

I began to withdraw from the things I loved in order to spare myself further hurt, disappointment or frustration. I concluded that I no longer wanted to put myself out there – especially when it felt like everyone around me was succeeding.

After much introspection and soul searching (and possibly a lot of binging on ice cream too), I came to a realization.

Failing in college is okay. Actually, I think college is exactly the right time to fail. I think students go into college unfit and under-prepared to deal with the reality that you will not get everything you want.

Failing, at least for me, has made me a stronger person. I am not afraid to keep trying new things. Failing, whether it be doing poorly on a test, or not getting a job, or even striking out with a guy or girl can feel like the end of the world.

It reminds us, though, that we are human.

As J.K. Rowling says:

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

I have tried so many things, and I have failed just as many. It has beaten me down. I have felt as though the changes and the passion I could infused into these positions and organizations were not being recognized.

I was not being given a chance to make the impact that I perceived myself making; however, I realized that by simply taking part in something bigger than myself, I had already impacted them.

Maybe not in the fashion I would have chosen if given the opportunity, but definitely in the way the universe wants me to at this stage of my life. Failing, especially in college, is inevitable.

It is human. But, most importantly, it is okay.

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