Failure is an Amazing Tool

Billy Ferguson/Fourth Estate


Oh midterms … a lovely section of our time here at Mason to remind us that we are still indeed students and that we still need to strive for the best. I consider this one of the most stressful times of the semester, as the heavy workload before and after spring break has definitely had me spread very thin. However, the most stressful part of this midterm season comes with the concept of failure.

Eventually, we’re going to run into situation where we do not exceed or even meet our expectations. We are going to fail. No, I do not mean a literal F grade, but I mean that we will let ourselves down.

I feel like failure within our society, at least within my experience, has been shunned too much and not taken in a positive note. Throughout my entire life, I have felt that if I do not succeed I cannot be a good person. This is completely wrong, and if you take a look at some of the most successful people in the world, they will probably say the same thing I am about to say now: failure is an amazing tool for success.

Once you figure out how to deal with it, failure has so many valuable lessons that you can take throughout the rest of your life. Failure teaches you how to handle rejection,  failure teaches you how to deal with ill-met expectations, failure teaches you how to accept something that may be extremely uncomfortable to you.

Failure teaches you how to work past those uncomfortable feelings and work with them, failure teaches you how to assess situations, failure teaches you how to understand what you’ve done wrong. Failure teaches you how to tackle situations you’ve failed at before and do even better the next time, and failure teaches you how to succeed through multiple attempts at something by doing it right the next time.

Throughout my life, I have miserably failed over and over again. I would even argue that failure is natural in a human’s life, and if you have not failed, then you simply are not human. I remember in high school during junior year, I had a case of “senioritis”. Something was off, and I absolutely hated school and wanted nothing to do with anything school related. Heck, I barely talked to any friends it was that bad. I remember receiving updates about my grades halfway through the year and how awful they were—some looking as if I would have to repeat the course.

I remember how awful I had felt about it, knowing that I let down myself and my family who wanted nothing but the best for me. I remember how I just could not do school anymore. However, I forced myself out of the rut of failure and made myself get over the slump. All of my F’s turned into really decent grades that would ensure  I had a 3.5 GPA. It was amazing compared to what I had the first semester.

I remember realizing that I had learned how important it was to maintain yourself through your academics consistently, seek help when you need it, take care of your mental health first and pick yourself up and dust yourself off after failing. After I was able to get the motivation of schooling again, I was able to succeed and pass my junior year.

So, I’m here to say that failure is absolutely okay. It’s normal. In fact, it is beautiful. Why? Because failing means you are human. It means you are learning. It means you are on the path of success.

Afterall, if it teaches you all the things aforementioned, then you can tackle absolutely anything that comes your way. Please, do not stress about how dissatisfactory you did, but make  yourself excited how amazing you will do the next time, or even the next few times.