Friday, December 11, 2009

Regrouping or Lessons Learned from Failure

I just found out that my attempt at a senior thesis was not accepted. I will not be allowed to continue on in the program. I cannot decide if I am angry and disappointed or relieved. Any anger or disappointment would be at myself because I took on more than I thought I could handle. I guess I am not supposed to be an academician. I am a bit embarrassed as well.
I feel like I still need to prove myself that I can be a serious historian. Not sure how to do that.

At this juncture, all I can do is step back and regroup. At least I did not get an F in the class, but the C will pull down my GPA. I am incredibly anal about grades and my GPA. A C also counts toward my credit total since it is still considered a passing grade (so I guess there are some positives in this whole fiasco).

So how does one handle failure and disappointment as a nontrad? I am desperately trying to find some lessons to share from this. This is the best I can come up with on the spur of the moment:

1. Admit your weakness. It's okay to say, "I tried. Perhaps I did not try my best, but I tried."
2. Cry if you have to, but don't dwell in that disappointment. Talk to a trusted friend or a counselor about the situation and your feelings. Give yourself time to mourn the situation.
3. Understand that you will live to see another day and failure and disappointment do not mean your college career is over.
4. Ask yourself, "What have I learned from this experience?" Everything we experience is a chance to learn and grow.
5. Do not burn bridges. Look at the situation for what it is, then let it go and move on. Take responsibility for your part of the situation.
6. Do not allow anyone to make you feel worse than you already do. Give yourself grace to fail. We fool ourselves if we do not acknowledge our humanity.
7. Turn the situation into a positive. Was this the kick in the pants you have been needing?
8. Realize you are not unique. Everyone fails at one time. Thomas Edison failed many times before he found success with the light bulb. He did not see his failures as failures, but as experiments that did not work. One day, he finally got it right.
9. Ease up. Were you putting unrealistic expectations on yourself?
10. View this as a chance to redefine and refine your goals. Failure may not have been the method of choice to do this, but here it is - use it.

I am sure I could come up with several more lessons if I sat here all night. That's not going to happen. I am going to mourn the situation and move on. My school schedule has opened up (since I will not be in History 408) and I can take a Geology class that will count toward my minor and toward my upper level distribution requirement.

Lesson learned from failure? Never give up. Stay tuned . . .


Lola said...

I came over from Student Mum - I'm an older student but not a mom, not even to the canine variety. So I have it easy, especially as my husband has followed my example and is also studying toward a degree.

I'm sorry to read about your bad news (not that I understand the US system of majors and minors), but it sounds as though you are following a positive path. I hope you have a very peaceful holiday season!

Betsy said...

I'm very impressed with this entry, Connie! On the spur of the moment, you came up with some great stuff both for yourself and for all of us to use as we face our various defeats. I know figure out a meaningful Plan B--you are so resourceful!

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!