Saturday, 21 April 2012

thoughts on failure

I feel like I'm writing about the same things over and over again. Which is why I haven't posted much lately. But there are heavy thoughts I need to kick around a bit. So bear with me.

This spring I failed to get into university.

Right. I said it.

Obviously I don't know what you think now, but I doubt it's Oh my goodness what a pathetic little girl, probably the most witless of all the witless, why am I even reading this idiot blog, if I saw her I'd point and laugh. (If this is what you're thinking, please do not consider it necessary to inform me.)

But this is very much what I think.

I am bad at failing. For the past month or so I've been holding my breath. Waiting to wake up.
So far I haven't.

I haven't talked about not getting into uni with anyone at all. I didn't want to. Still don't. I just went out and bought the books I need to study for the entry exams of the University of Helsinki. And remade my plans. I've done the mature thing and still I feel more like a child than in ages.

My worst fear all along has been the pity. The pity, the surprise. The disappointment. I have feared the reactions of my friends and family because, and I know exactly how irrational this is, I thought they would no longer love me if I failed. So I've kept it all to myself.

Can I be completely honest with you?
I'm really lost with my life right now.
And it's terrifying.

Also, it's good. In that annoying self-help kind of way, that disgustingly cheesy rebuild-your-life, have-a-gap-year, figure-out-who-you-are-and-what-you-want-to-do way.

I'm not going to lie, not anymore: it's a constant gruelling uphill battle with a voice in the back of my head calling me names. It is no fun.

But it is necessary. It is, on that self-help level, good.

I'm drawing up a map from scratch.
No, not from scratch. From everything I know about myself. I will find my way.

After all, what I needed to hear was that the people who love me still love me.
And guess what?
They do.

(Also, a friend of mine sent me this video, in which the brilliant 
Hank Green answers questions about growing up and adulthood. 
Someone asked, How do you get past your insecurities?
Hank's answer: If you fail, I will like you more. 
Which was exactly what I needed to hear today. )


  1. it sounds trite, but the great thing about failure means you tried for something. And trying is how we fail and how we succeed.

    I've always loved a quote from Samuel Beckett "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."

  2. Hi, I've ever sent you a message to tell you how I loved your text, your manner to write, but there it's different I'm feeling exactly the same things you wrote. I'm doing and studying what I like but I'm lost, completely. Anyway it's not for that i'm writing to you. I'd like to tell you i hope you'll keep confidence in yourself, you'll find force to affirm what you want to do, what you want to live. "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." J.L This is what I'm trying to remember when I'm sad or disappointed. Do you know the text Desiderata writing by Max Ehrmann ? It helps me sometimes :)

    just thank you for your text, I like to read it :)
    Sorry for mistakes...

  3. You haven't failed until you've given up or until you can't try anymore. :)

    It's always easier said than done to look on the bright side in a stressful situation, but I really do think a gap-year can be a great thing. What is the purpose of higher education for you? What are your objectives in taking the program you want? What do you want after you graduate? Try to keep these goals in mind and hopefully they will help you feel more in control, less lost. You may be surprised at how much you can learn and accomplish outside of academia that you can bring with you to create an even more fulfilling university experience.

  4. Thank you all for your encouragement!

    It's a bit overwhelming, the response I get every time I write about this. I honestly don't expect any comments, because I write these things as a therapy of sorts. So reading all your kind words really means the world to me.

  5. I haven't been through the exact same thing that you've been through so I won't pretend that I know how you feel. However I did fail a subject in my first uni year at 6 years ago, retook it 2 months later and failed again, and had to literally beg my college to not kick me out. Up until then I had always been a prefect at high school and thought I had life figured out being admitted to a prestigious uni.

    My personal tutor back then had told me, "You have a long road ahead, you would pick up and carry on. Five years down the road noone will remember this happened." It is of course not to dismiss what happened, but to not let it hold you down.

    I hope your new plans work out well. Being international in EU, I used to envy home students who took gap year and still plan to take at least one gap year in my life soon! :D