Learn to grow from failure

Under the groans, especially of freshmen, the weight of academic failure has rested heavily on the minds of many. The first wave of grades has served as a wakeup call to the harsh reality of academic life, revealing its gilded nature and extinguishing its novelty.

A popular conception that pervades our culture is that college marks the beginning of adult life. We like to think maturity is easily marked by some ascribed status compounded with the immediate and relatively meager success of getting accepted to college. Nothing is farther from the truth.

The first day of an adult’s life is marked not by age or an immediate success, but rather by failure. What kind of adults we will become is determined by how we deal with failure; will we wallow around or rise from the ashes?

Ultimately, this should be the thing we all carry with us when we leave college. How we deal with failure branches out into our very attitudes on life.

Most people apparently just "deal" with college when confronted with any kind of failure or hardship. College life for them becomes a daily mundane grind alleviated by immediate gratification presented by the weekend – a temporary fix.

College for them is the problem; it is the car that breaks down and refuses to start again. This stems from a cultural problem that is all too apparent: refusal of accountability. The first step in any healing process is to perceive and admit failure. The people who just "deal" with college refuse to acknowledge the source of their failure, hence their attitude resides not in something external but rather the internal, in themselves.

The tragedy lies in that these people hone their attitudes so that each new stage in their lives bring dissatisfaction, another mundane grind they have to live through. They see problems with everything except themselves; they become the people who believe life has somehow cheated them. They never grow. They become static and wallow in the ashes.

Some people rise by acknowledging fault and acting upon it. They never make mistakes, but rather errors, mistakes they make an effort to fix and prevent. They make the most of their college experience; they get involved, study, party and are generally amiable.

Most people believe they don’t have time for things such as exercise, clubs or organizations. The diligent few, however, discover that these things actually create time rather than deplete it. For those skeptical of this I urge them to try it.

The quality of their lives is a series of intervals alternating between failure and success and marked ultimately by an upward trend of understanding what it truly means to be an adult – living truly fulfilling lives. They are dynamic individuals whose growths are exponential, making the most of their potential.

They are the ones who get out and push the car to the mechanic and don’t sit around whining about it. If life is a daily grind, these people utilize it by honing themselves to be sharper individuals. They rise from the ashes in a glorious and accurate display of what being human truly is.

Seek out and exploit all the services this campus has to offer when it comes to improving how you perform in classes. Exercise. Join organizations. Go out and meet people. Don’t procrastinate. Smile and laugh more. This is oddly hard for a lot of people to do. Become somebody whose existence is validated by your willingness and boldness to engage life in all its facets.

The first step is always the hardest, but everything is downhill from there as long as there is conviction and resolve in your heart to become more than what you currently are. If there is any true novelty of college it should be work oriented toward enjoyment and usefulness, but, intrinsically motivating of its own merit – essentially leisure.

The harder right is presented at every opportunity in college, as is the lure of the easier wrong; we must be prudent in choosing the steady diligent path to success. It is in these formative years that we have a unique opportunity to condition ourselves to rise above the status quo in how we approach our lives. Too often people waste their college years – and for that matter, their lives – neglecting to accept responsibility for what you should always be improving; yourself.

Hayes, a philosophy freshman, can be reached via [email protected]

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