Round 4 of Our Failure Competition Starts Today

Our Failure Competition Starts Today

At out Hall of Fame event in February, we featured a video of our alum Mayor Ken Bradley who is also CEO of Florida Hospital, Winter Park. The video starts out with Ken saying the following: “I came to UCF as a failure and left a success.” Ken had seen his dream to enter medical school dashed, but found his future at UCF. He has gone on to great things and know has doctors reporting to him! His achievements landed him in our Hall of Fame, a place where only 61 of our more than 50,000 alums have been recognized for their accomplishments.

Despite what helicopter parents think, everyone fails. It is part of life. Getting comfortable with failure is a key step in becoming a better risk–taker and successful business leader. That is why we celebrate failure and persistence in the college. Today, we begin the fourth installment of our Failure Competition in the College’s Capstone Class. I will be explaining the details of this semester’s competition to students today at 2 pm. But the basics are pretty simple:

1. Each student in our capstone class is asked to write an essay on a failure they have experienced, how it transformed them, and what others can learn from their experience.

2. They are to post these essays in response to this blog along with the section number and name of their instructor. They must complete this exercise by 5 pm on June 20th.

3. Each instructor will then choose a winner from their section and explain why they chose the essay they did. The deadline for them to make the selections is 5 pm on June 24th.

4. Those winning entries are then sent to me. I will select three finalists.

5. The finalists will be asked to submit short videos based on their essays. They must have those videos to me by July 3rd at 5 pm.

6. I will then feature one video each day on my blog the week of July 7th, with a vote taking place on Thursday July 10th.

7. The winner will get a letter of recommendation from me along with a $500 cash prize. Second place will get $300, third place $200.

We have had as many as 800 voters for the past competitions. With the help of the alumni association, I expect we will have at least that many this semester. If you want to get some sense of the stories that have moved voters in the past, finalists’ entries are still on my blog as prior posts. Look them up.

Good Luck to the participants and Charge On!

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22 thoughts on “Round 4 of Our Failure Competition Starts Today

  1. Shane Greene
    Lab Instructor – Richard Quinn
    Section – D017

    It’s that pit in your stomach after receiving some disheartening news. Everyone experiences it multiple times in his or her life. For me, it was one that I had to explain to my parents and friends. The news that I received on that fateful day was one met with huge dissatisfaction and a chance to become motivated. It was October of 2009 and I was a senior in my high school. College admissions were constantly being checked for the schools with rolling admissions. I think I checked my application about twice a day to see if I had gotten in yet. I had applied to multiple colleges but there was really only one school that I had my eye on. The University of Central Florida was a school that really caught my eye when I visited and I knew from day one of being in Orlando that I wanted to attend that school. I had many friends get in and I was just waiting my acceptance. I had the adequate grades and extra circular activities to really give me an edge over other students. I remember sitting there in one of my early morning classes when I decided to check MyUCF through my phone to see if admission had been posted. It had. The news that I had been waiting weeks for was finally upon me. I scrolled down and I read the text that would define my life for the next four years and I’m sure many more after that. It read “You’ve been deferred admission to the University of Central Florida for the summer semester of 2010.” Now what in the world did deferred mean? I thought their was only accepted and denied and I wasn’t either. My heart sank as I kept re-reading the decision that was in front of my saddened eyes. I quickly re-grouped and realized that I still had a chance and that my test scores (SAT & ACT) were too low to get me into my dream college. I needed a plan of action moving forward that would get me closer to my ultimate goal of UCF admitting me. My first step was telling my parents that I didn’t get in right away and gaining their support to keep trying. They were extremely accepting and a huge motivational factor to me. They gave me all the resources I needed to keep trying. The next step was to make enough time as possible to study for the SAT. With my current schedule at the time, I really had to find a balance between school and free time. I decided to cut back on playing my video games and truly commit myself to using that time to study for the SAT. Every day for a month and a half, I would come home and spend an hour in my SAT book working on problems. I received my letter that I was deferred from UCF a few days I saw it online. I used that as one of my biggest motivators by putting it on my bedroom door so I could see it everyday when I left for school. I took it upon myself to improve my score and stayed highly dedicated because I knew at the end of the day, it would pay off. The last step was taking my SAT in December after the month or so of preparation and with a better mindset than my previous attempts at the exam. I was confident after I left my exam that I had improved but didn’t know by how much as the results would be posted in a couple of weeks. I’ll never forget sitting at my computer desk on an early December morning when I decided to see if the results were posted online. They were and I saw them with my eyes that I couldn’t believe. I raised my score by 130 points and that was unheard of after the 3rd attempt on that exam. My hard work paid off and I yelled with screams of joy. It wasn’t guaranteed that I would gain admittance into UCF but the fact that I raised my score and did all that I possibly could was enough for me to be satisfied with my effort. Over the course of those two months, I made friends with my guidance counselor who knew someone at UCF admissions and she told me if I could raise my score, she would help me by talking to her friend. It wasn’t long after my score being released that I got accepted into UCF.

    From all my hard work and dedication, it got me to my ultimate goal that I’m extremely proud of. This whole ordeal showed me that even when you’re told you can’t, you still could. It proved to me that if you work hard and set your sights on a goal, you could achieve it. I have no idea where I’d be if I never put the time and effort in become a UCF student. I wanted it too much for it to not become a reality. These past 4 years (although it’s coming to an end) have been a building block of successes and failures. Those lessons will carry me well into the future and wherever I end up after college. Anyone reading this should understand that if you set your sights on something, it could be yours. I never gave up and took matters into my own hands. I have had four successful years at one of the best colleges in the nation and it was all because I never gave up.

  2. Brandon Rosenblum
    Lab Instructor – Richard Quinn
    Section – D016

    Sometimes two wrong can lead to a right! My greatest failure was something that I worked really hard to ensure. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and I lived the life of a traditional latchkey city kid. I am from a single parent household with a mother who worked a lot to support my older brother and I, which led to plenty of unsupervised time for Brandon. What does an unsupervised kid from Brooklyn do with themselves? It wasn’t study hard and go to school.
    When I was in the 6th grade I looked up to my older brother and hanging out with him made me feel cooler, this was when I started on my path to truancy. I would skip school, hang out with the older kids, drink, and think that life was a party. I would up making it through 6th, 7th, and 8th grade by sheer smarts alone. State and city tests helped me get from grade to grade as that was the ultimate standard that you were judged on; don’t go to class or do homework but score 99 on your tests and you will make it. This all came to an abrupt halt when high school hit.
    To start high school I was sent to Florida to live with my father and get my life straight but that only lasted six months. I did well in school during my time in Florida but I missed my friends, my neighborhood, my home. I came back to Brooklyn to finish out the 9th grade and started strong, but old habits die hard. Eventually I found my way back to skipping school, experimenting with drugs, and drinking. I made it to the 10th grade and then things just started getting worse; first I would miss a day, then a week, and then half the semester was over. I never went back at that point, I dropped out of high school at 15 years old and in the 10th grade. I was not thinking about my future at this point, I was living in the now. At 17 years old I started to doubt the path that I took and decided to take my GED. I thought maybe I could start to get it back.
    After passing my GED my home life was not the best and thought that if I was going to do something for myself that I would have to do it by myself. When I turned 18 I joined the United States Navy for a 6 year enlistment. I again scored really high on a test and got into the advanced electronics program. My military career started out great; top of my class throughout school, picked orders to Pearl Harbor Hawaii, and was on my way. I was really good at my job and the Navy life, I was making rank quickly. After 4 years in the Navy I was applying for the Seaman to Admiral program; this program took enlisted sailors, sent them to college, and turned them into officers. There was a less than 5% acceptance rate but I was selected. I flew through my interviews, wrote a perfect essay, and even went back and scored really well on my ACTs. I was the number one ranked sailor in all of Pearl Harbor. I was finally getting back on track with school, finally going to make it to college.
    After I found out that I was selected for the Seaman to Admiral program and was accepted to San Diego State University I decided to go out and celebrate. This celebration led to my DUI and the end of my chances of college and being a Navy officer. So many people invested in me and felt burned by my poor decisions. After that I felt like I was in quick sand, i felt that every time I fought to get myself out of a bad situation I just sunk deeper. Navy life was not the same anymore, four years of hard work was wasted. After my six years were up I decided to get out of the Navy and try a new path for life.
    I was recruited for a position as a technical writer because of my experience with Radars and weapon systems, along with a strong technical background. I now had a good career path laid out for me but it wasn’t enough, there was something missing. I knew that I had to achieve that elusive goal of making it to and completing college. Now years after those regretful decisions of skipping school and more poor choices then I would like to remember, I am 6 weeks away from obtaining my business degree from UCF. This is going to be my most satisfying personal achievement. I had to fail at school, at life, at decision making before I realized that sometimes the right decisions are not the easy ones. I never thought that I would go to college let along graduate and it took a whole lot of failures to realize what true success actually is. I am not proud of the path I walked to get here but I am proud of the determination I showed to not let my failures define me.

  3. Deborah Jenkins
    Lab Instructor – Richard Quinn
    Section – D016

    Failure is a relative term. We mostly think of failure as falling short of a goal that you put effort into achieving. However, Ben Franklin said that “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” I think I unintentionally fell into this category.

    Life happens. When I was 20 years old, I had put school on hold and was managing a yogurt store in Montgomery, Alabama. Then life hit. My mother and sister were killed, and my life turned upside down and inside out. I became fearful, and lost what confidence I had that I would be able to take care of myself. Until then, I knew that, even if I failed, my mom would be there to pick me up and help me through whatever life threw at me. Now that was gone.

    During the next year, I fought these feelings and worked at recreating my life. I went back to school, and changed jobs. Later, I married a wonderful man. I felt that, together, we could do pretty much anything. Shortly thereafter, we received custody of his two children and both put college on hold again. Over the next ten years or so, our focus was on taking care of our family and the kids. Neither of us really planned any further ahead than the next paycheck.

    Early in 2003, life hit again. My husband passed away unexpectedly. While I tried to put a brave face on for the world, for my girls and to make sure everything that needed to get done did, I was an emotional mess. My life was in tatters because the person that it was centered around was gone. How would I manage to go on?

    I had received the same wakeup call twice in my life. What I took away from this was that I could not rely on other people to make sure that I was ok. By failing to plan for my own future, I was failing. My future looked bleak. I decided to make some changes and take my future in my own hands.

    By November of 2004, I had changed careers and received my license in massage therapy. Not satisfied in putting my entire future “in one basket”, I also decided to go back to school. When I injured my wrist (tendonitis from overwork), I returned to the business world. I currently work for Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. and will be completing my business degree this summer.

    My future is not clear, but I do have many more options available to me. I have remarried, but am not reliant on my husband to support me. My future now is brighter than ever because I finally learned the consequences of not planning. I am continually looking to the future to see what comes “next”. It will be an exciting adventure.

  4. Wadson Joseph
    Lab Instructor: Richard Quinn
    Section – D017
    Summer 2014

    People are always looking for the best way to advance in their lives. However, nothing never come easy without any challenges. The challenges test people’s wiliness and dedication to accomplish something long desired and dreamed of. In my case, I have been tested by several adversities. Sometimes, I feel strongest with the desire to keep going. Other times, I feel beaten, discouraged with the desire to give up. Either way, I always found a reason to reinvent myself, dust up my shoulders and keep going.
    I am originally from Haiti. In the Haitian culture, parents, which much of them don’t have a formal education, hope that one day their kids can become someone educated. My parents used to live in a very remote small town with only one school sponsored by an international Christian mission. The school only offered elementary education. My parents, with the burning desire to push their children to accomplish something big, sent me and all my brothers and sisters to study in the capital where we can have access to higher education. It was eight of us; were very excited about the opportunity. My parents did not have a formal education; however, they had big visions for their children.
    Before I even finished my high school education, my father always told me that he wanted me to become a medical doctor. I didn’t know why my father wanted me to become a doctor, however, I was very excited with the aspiration to become a doctor. After my high school graduation, I got into the only stated sponsored medical school to make my parents proud and happy especially my father. Three year into the program, I started to realize that I was in the wrong field. It’s true that I enjoyed medicine and helping people, but I had an irreversible problem dealing with suffering people, blood and dead people. I was doing good with anything that has something to do with studying. When it comes to the clinical portion of the program, I was struggling. I was unable to overcome my struggles; finally, I had to drop out. After dropping out, I became upset at myself and depressed. After an internal and external analysis of myself, I realized that the real reason the medical program was such a struggle for me because it was not my sweet spot in life. I was doing it not because I wanted to, but to please my father who wanted me to become a doctor. After a long conversation with my father about my failure, he finally admitted to me that my failure was his fault. He said that he always dreamed to be a doctor; since he failed to become one, he saw me as an opportunity to accomplish his dream through me. Becoming a medical doctor has never my own dream. I understood his aspiration and I forgave him. After an assessment of the situation, he decided to send me to the United State to find out what my sweet spot in life is and to pursue it. Once, I arrived in the united Stated, I reinvented myself and found out that a career in business has been the best fit for me all along.
    When it comes to what a student wants to become and what his or her parents want sometimes conflict with each other. Sometimes, some parents aspire a dream career for their children while the children themselves want to do something completely different. Parents have to realize that they have to let their children pursue their own dream in order to do something they are good at, they enjoy doing and will get paid to do. Whatever my parents wanted was irrelevant to my career choices; I suffered a career set back because of that. If I knew that back then, I would choice to do what I felt comfortable doing for the rest of my life. Failure is not the end of life; it’s a test of true will and dedication. My failure has motivated me and gave me more dedication to push myself harder. Now I am a finance/real estate student; finally I found my sweet spot in life.

  5. Haris Moore
    Lab Instructor – Richard Quinn
    Section – D017

    Until the age of 22 or so, I failed to take life seriously, thinking the pursuit of pleasure was a noble purpose suited for a man my age and position. Why not? Life was easy: I was born good looking, smart and healthy, with no financial worries because my parents took care of everything, even supplying the genes that I have enjoyed from birth. I took advantage of the situation and failed to try my best, because it was so easy not to. People in High School looked up to me and wanted to be my friend, and I didn’t have to try to be liked, it just happened. My dad always said that I had people skills and I used them wantonly, never attempting academic success because it was too daunting. High School was where my failure to achieve began, despite my parents’ constant urging to study, work and make something of myself. I didn’t because failure was too easy, too much fun and hard work wasn’t.
    I went to college with that mindset and lived happily with my failure habit, supported by hours wasted on texting and Facebook, which distracted me from my stated mission: to graduate with a degree in accounting, on my way to becoming a CPA one day. The first year was a disaster as my grades suffered from the addition of a new, bad habit: I joined a fraternity, which was another distraction that augmented my failure to achieve. However, I always knew that I had potential, I just didn’t have the will to find it because the “wolf” was never at my door. The second year wasn’t much help to my GPA and I hit an inflection point: an ultimatum from my parents. They said that if I ever received a grade below a “B” again they would cut me off and I would have to get a job. I could tell they were serious and so this became my first life crisis.
    After much discussion with close friends on the issue and facing my innate fear of 8 to 5 work, I decided to study a bit, just to meet the doomsday threshold of Bs or better. That decision happened at the beginning of my junior year, which was really following my third year at UCF. There was no doubt about it, I had been taking my time, enjoying my Facebook friends who were not really my friends because they wasted my time. Time that was not on my side because life was passing me by while I lived in bliss. Nevertheless, I began to study and the results were good, which inspired me to study more, which led me to believe I could achieve academic success and throw off the chains of failure that held my future hostage. I even got As and began to realize that I was smart, if and when I controlled my urge to be distracted. Success felt great and I wanted more of it, even finding a host of new friends that made the library their home. It became my home also and I dedicated myself to study, four hours a day, sometimes six. It was a new life for me, a new perspective, and I found a lady friend who even studied more than I did which inspired me further. I must confess, it all started at the inflection point, which was the ultimatum that changed the culture of pleasure in which I lived. After all, at the time, nothing would have disrupted my life more than a job.
    That was my life then, but now I am well on my way to the goal. I realize that I have matured and reset my values according to my destiny to be a success. Failure did that for me and it didn’t happen all at once. Failure was a lifestyle drift, an easy life that robbed me of ambition. Facing reality helped me overcome that bad habit, which can turn into a bad life if you let it. Fortunately, I didn’t and I’m graduating next month.

  6. Paul O’Connor
    Lab Instructor- Bob Boettcher
    Section- D12

    Success is a mountainous labyrinth. For my career and my lifestyle I have one goal, which is unnecessary to state for this quick story. When I was accepted into the college of business for accounting and was given my list of courses necessary to graduate, I mapped out a path that would enable me to graduate a year earlier than projected by collegiate norms. As is recommended, I went to see my advisor to ask about my plans and if they think them possible through hard work. After presenting my plan, I was told that its ambitious but unrealistic, and I was then given a plan they deemed to be more sensible, because what’s the hurry, enjoy yourself, etc. I proceeded to ignore the advice given by my advisor and enrolled in the plan I thought was the most efficient, prompting the first of many uphill battles with the college of business advising office. So through hard work and heavy course loads, my plan seemed to be working perfectly, at the rate I was going I could graduate early like I had planned to. Around this time, feeling confident about my planning and decision making skills, I went to my first career fair. While I am at the career fair, talking with recruiters from many companies, mainly accounting firms, I provide my graduation date to be the one I thought I was on the correct track for, which was a year earlier than someone from my catalogue year was scheduled to graduate. While I am talking with people, one of the recruiters I talk to happens to be the assistant director of a large corporation that is centralizing its financial activities in Orlando, and when I give them my resume, and tell them about my background, as well as the fact that I will be graduating early, they are impressed. I did not think much of it at the time, I thought it was just another company and just another low level recruiter, so I thanked them and moved on.
    About a month later, I get a call and it was the same recruiter asking if I would come in for an interview, I said sure. To make a long story short, and keep to the point of the story, I got the job offer and accepted it, start date being immediately after my early graduation date. They tell me congratulations, all you have to do is take a drug test and pass the background check of your resume information. I said no problem. So I pass the drug test, background check is fine, except for one of my work history items seemed to be giving the background check company some problems, so my contact with the company called me and said they needed more information for it. I said ok what do you need? Now, the item they were having problems with, was a venture of mine that I started as a high school student. This was before I had any formal business training. I had bought some speakers and lights, hired a DJ, and was running a small entertainment business for local restaurants. Being young and unaware, I dealt only in cash, sometime with checks, and I never officially made my business into a company. I operated with these restaurants under my social security number as a vendor. The company that hired me said they couldn’t find this company registered with the secretary of state. I said I know, I never registered, it was a small thing and I was young, I thought you would appreciate the fact that I attempted business ventures at such a young age. They said if you don’t have proof of this company you made, you have lied on your application and we will rescind your job offer. So now I start to get nervous, but I keep calm and ask, ok what can I do to provide proof. They said give us copies of the checks the restaurants used to pay you. So I did so. They said that was not enough because it didn’t cover the full date range I provided. I said, I don’t have anymore checks, everything else was with cash, can I have management write you a letter stating that I did in fact provide them with services? They said ok we can try that. After months of going back and fourth with the company, and tracking down managers and finally getting them to write these letters, I turn them all in. The hiring company sends me a letter saying, thank you for your interest in the company, however the information you have provided is not sufficient enough for our standards, your job offer is hereby rescinded, I was taken out of the system, no longer a future employee.
    I felt like a bullet train crashing into the face of a mountain. everything I had been working towards throughout my entire life, I had finally achieved a critical first step, and I was planning my future around it, and it was taken away as fast as I had achieved it. I was completely crushed, I stopped working out, hanging out, and studying for about 3 days. Now, motivation is a quick push forward to achieve a goal, it has the potential to last but usually dwindles with time. Inspiration is something different entirely and vastly more powerful. I don’t have a child of my own, however I do plan on having one someday soon with my fiancée. I love the thought of my future child as if it were already here. In that moment when I was at my lowest, feeling the world was crushing me and my dreams for the future along with me, I imagined my future child sitting there, watching me in that moment, and the man I want them to see when they look at their father. I spent the next 8 hours, using every bit of research skills I had acquired throughout college and combined them with everything I thought I could possibly use, from statistics to psychology and appealing to reader, to build the information necessary for a letter to send to the director of the company. I brought up facts about their recent financing activities, which was a 49 billion dollar bond venture and correlated it to their current move to the area and the fact that Orlando will soon be one of the top 3 most populated cities in the country, as well as my expertise in accounting and how I can look at the company on a bigger scale than my individual position which I was hired for, and I am the type of individual they need to have a successful new financial headquarters for the entire country, emphasizing that it would be a mistake to lose such an asset over a technicality in hiring procedure for the company. I both mailed and emailed this letter. The next day I got a call, and had my job back.
    At this point, I feel unstoppable. A boulder was thrown in my way and I smashed through it continuing towards my goal. I’m thinking nothing can stop me, then comes my good friends at the college of business advising office and its time to register for classes for my last semester. I am hit with the news that unfortunately I cannot enroll in the classes to graduate because the total credit hours of the course load would come out to 15 credit hours which is 1 credit hour over the limit. Why is the credit hour limit 14 instead of a more rounded number like 13.7 you ask? or better yet why are the limitations of each student set and decided, instead of changing with the performance of the individual? Don’t ask me, I have no idea, and also, don’t ask the college of business advising staff, neither do they. In fact, if your question is not a clearly written rule or regulation that is already stated on the school website or your course catalogue, they are just as helpful as the error message that pops up when you try to enroll but can’t, left frustrated with more questions and nothing having been solved. But, the staff that I speak of was present before the department layoff, so hopefully the life coaches are much better. I apologize for my frankness but the frustration is still fresh.
    Anyway, I proceed to do my own research on how to take care of this problem, and I come across a route that would enable me to possibly proceed forward, a petition to do a course overload. I go to some of my professors to ask their advice on how to make this graduation possible. Everyone I asked said its not possible, and one professor’s answer was a resounding “you’re crazy, there’s no freakin’ way that will go through, I would not approve it, and even if it did get approved you would not pass all the classes due to the course load.” Once again I felt disheartened, but after my debacle with my hiring company I knew I had the drive to handle this situation. I submitted the petition. After weeks of waiting and a renewed fear for losing my job a second time, the petition is approved and I can once again rest easy. I am ready to graduate. Two weeks pass, and the college of business announces that it is changing its policy of what core business class credit hours are worth, from 4 to 3, excluding cornerstone and capstone. If a person is short by 1 credit hour due to this change, they waive it, however if you are short by 2 credit hours you must take another class. As fate will have it, my particular course load made me short by 2 credit hours. Slightly more agitated, I go in to talk to the advising office. They say their classic response, sorry there’s nothing we can do, and I ask why can I not graduate with the same classes my peers are using to graduate the semester before my graduation. They stated its because the classes are now less extensive. I responded, that if they look at the syllabus for the classes before and after the change, they will look identical. But once again its not up to them and there is nothing they can do. I attempt the petition to waive the 2 credit hours and it does not work. I try to add a class but the course overload would be too significant. I ask to see the dean of the business college, no matter what appointments I need to make and they respond, the dean doesn’t meet with people unless it is an emergency, they would not even disclose the office location of the dean. I’ve exhausted every avenue and was considering doing a credit by examination, when I step back and take a deep breath and read their requirements one more time. It states I need 36 hours of upper level business courses not related to my major. With that in mind, I go back through my previous classes and come across a class I took as an elective that coincided with my goals for the future. The class was How to Start a Business, I took it as a sophomore even though it was not required, and I was now able to apply it towards the 2 extra hours I needed to graduate. I did so through the proper channels of the UCF system. Me taking that class for no reason was the action of something more powerful than myself. After feeling half-secure about graduating I looked into grad school here at ucf, which has changed it guidelines once again, and now you must have 2 years work experience before you can be accepted. I brushed it off and applied elsewhere.
    I write this today, after my battles with my employer and my university, which both lasted several months, around 5 in total.

    My name is Paul O’Connor, a am an accounting major at UCF, who started school in 2011 and I will be graduating 1 year early in summer 2014, with a job secured at one of the top 20 Fortune 100 companies as an accounting analyst, and as an accepted graduate student at FAU in the masters in forensic accounting program, which will be paid for in full by my employer. I am not an exceptional student, my GPA is average, I am not a success story, I am a story of failure after failure after failure, but I did not accept it, I analyzed it and maneuvered through it to reach my goals. I said success is a mountainous labyrinth, because the fight for your dreams is an uphill battle that will constantly lead to dead ends, but the more you go through the higher you rise, where you stop and settle is the limit of what you can achieve, once you push through it all and get to the top of that labyrinth, with what you’ve learned going through it, nothing is in your way but the sky.

  7. Eugenia Solomon
    Lab Instructor: Richard Quinn
    Section: D016

    Throughout my life, I found myself having ups and downs, but here is my biggest one. I have been experiencing this problem with my weight ever since I was a child. I first notice this one day in elementary school, we were making cookies as a class together. I was enjoying all the different types of cookies we all were creating. I was in charge of stirring the batter bowls for the class and a kid that I will never forget his name, “Pearson”. He walks up to me and says, “Wow, you are doing so good at stirring that bowl”. “You must eat a lot of cookies, Ms. Fatty”!
    I was so crushed by what he said because I did not figure it out till that same moment. I was bigger than the other kids that were all around me. I cried and cried that entire day, It was ruined for me from that very instant. Since then, I became more aware of my weight and decided that I did not want to not be that big eye sore that everyone seen me as anymore. At that time, I weighed 170 lbs of disgrace. I eventually told my family about my concern, and about how this one particular kid picked on me because of my weight issue. Then my mom and dad decided to try eating healthy on my behalf.
    In middle school, I dropped about 10 lbs to 15 lb of weight so I weighed about 155 pounds. I was slowly going towards a healthier more popular me. I found myself becoming more out of my shell; more I felt comfortable in my skin. Then something horrible happened to me and my family in my 8th grade year. My grandmother died in horrible car accident. She smashed into a light pole and died on impact while having a seizure. Another car was involved however they walked away with just a few scratches and a few parts for their car missing. My family and I were devastated about what happened to my grandma.
    But who got it the worst was my little brother Wayne. He did not want to talk or play with anyone for 3 months including my family. Our Grandma and he were extremely close. I tried my very best to comfort him and ensure him that Grandma is in a better place. That she would want you to live your life and be happy! About 3 months later, he started coming out of his room a little bit more often and eventually he went back to normal.
    Although, It was not the same for me in the end. I relapsed, and starting gaining weight again. The first ten pounds were unnoticed, and then thereon after I started gaining more weight in high school. Weighing about 175 lbs after my Grandma death incident I did not fully get over. I was so upset with myself for letting it get me this far with my weight. Suddenly, It struck me, when I was in 11th grade, why am I doing this to myself? No matter what life throws at me, I got to me strong! I can achieve my goal, and I am not going to stop until I do! After I came to that realization, I ran across a nice, young fit man by the name of William in my junior year at high school.
    We became friends and I started to tell him my insecurities about my weight and if he would help me. He said, “You only have one life, one life, that’s it”! “It’s about time you live and don’t regret”! “I will help you get your life back”! Right after he said that, he had the brightest smile that I have ever seen to this day. I cried tears of joy that day when he decided to help me with my goals. Years later, I was attending community college at 145 lbs comfortably through my diet and exercise William helped put me on. But I was not fully satisfied with my body. I did not just want a body that was not looked upon, as fat or disgusting. I wanted a body that I could be proud of, as an athletic and healthy physique! So I continued with William and soon through our friendship he became more and more a part of my life. As I am about to finish college at UCF, I am now at 133 lbs and feeling better than ever! William and I are engaged and soon to be married by February 9th (Which is the date when he asked me to marry him).
    So through it all, I feel blessed in so many ways than the huge negative that was in majority of my life. My weight issues pushed me to prevail over my grandmother’s loss! It has made me determined to do whatever I set my mind to! It has even helped me to find the love of my dreams! I can truly say, through all my blunders, I am happy for how God has made me, because without that, I would not be, the amazing person that I am today! Hope that my situation can inspire and help someone, no matter what you may be going through or what your situation is, you can conquer it and become victorious! Believe in yourself, just like I did in the past!

  8. Matt Serio
    Lab Instructor- Richard Quinn
    Section- D017

    Failure is a term that I do not keep in my vocabulary. It is a term that only applies to those who give up. Those who do not get up after falling down. Failure is something I hope to never encounter because I do not plan on ever giving up. I will not deny that failure is something that is constantly knocking on my door, something that is waiting for me at every corner.

    When I wake up everyday, I have to decide if I’m going to face the challenges that await me. Everybody has those fears of not being good enough, not taking calculated risks because we are afraid of failure. Like everyone else, I have many fears of being rejected by peers, professors, and employers. I fear being the center of attention for a mistake that will cause me to fail.

    For the last 12 years, I have shied away from speaking up in class, asking for help, and trying new things that I may not be good at or comfortable doing. It wasn’t until the summer of 2013, a year before I graduate, that I decided to face my fears and to embark on a journey of finding out exactly who I was going to become in a year. I started reaching out to professionals in the sports business industry, updating my resume, and applying for jobs. I also started asking professionals in my field to give me advice and to become an extra set of eyes for me. Things that seem like common sense now were things I was afraid of doing, in part because it was new to me, and because I was afraid of being rejected. Taking the time to look through numerous job sites and responding to professional emails are things that any young college graduate needs to do in order to be successful, but are sometimes things that are worse than pulling teeth.

    A few months ago I was approached by my GM who hired me over four years ago. Although I do not wish to stay in this industry past graduation, I have looked up to her for professional guidance. She has always called me by my full name “Matthew” ever since day 1. It wasn’t until a few months ago that she addressed me by Matt, which came as a surprise. She approached me to tell me how appreciative of the work I have done for her over the past four years and commented on how much I have grown up in the past year or so. When I told her that she called me Matt for the first time in over 4 years, she took a second to think about this. After taking a moment, she said that it signaled the maturity she has seen in me. This unprovoked comment from my GM assured me of the long journey I am on is going down the right path.

    As each day brings the day of graduation closer, I continue to make small improvements each day to continue this journey into the professional world. As I move into this real world, I must remember to never encounter this “Failure” term. I must remember to never lose sight of what it is I wish to accomplish and the necessary steps in order to make my dreams a reality.

  9. Brittany Dill
    Section D21
    Lab Instructor: Bob Boettcher

    There are billions of people in the world, and a majority of them only want to be one thing: successful. Some people find it important to succeed in school, others strive to succeed in their career, and others still want to be a great parent so that their children will succeed once they are grown up. Success is something to chase and pursue in order to have a happy, comfortable life; but success requires a lot of hard work and for most will include some mistakes and failures along the way to finding it.
    My biggest failure so far in my life would have to be my first year after graduating high school. I was an exceptional student throughout my academic career. I frequently received straight A’s on my report card, I was a dual enrollment student – meaning that I was taking some courses at the local college to get some of my credits finished before graduating high school – and I learned in my last semester of my senior year that I was graduating eighth in my class of 517 students. To take advantage of all of these great accomplishments, I took my chances and decided to apply to the four major universities in Florida: the University of Central Florida, the University of South Florida, Florida State University, and the University of Florida. I was accepted into all four of them. My family was so proud of me, and I did not want let them down. I chose to enroll in the school that my family held the highest prestige for, which was the University of Florida. With an approximately three and a half hour long drive from my hometown of Port Saint Lucie – the only home I had known at that point in my life – I found myself making my first move into an unknown town. I enrolled in the summer semester at UF, and I was moving into a dorm three weeks after my graduation.
    So far, this sounds like a success story of a young woman who had a bright future ahead of her, managed to extract herself from a small town in Florida and replanted her roots in Gainesville in order to continue her education. So, how does this story turn into a failure? Well, for starters, I had no idea what to do. I went to one of Florida’s best universities with no knowledge of what I was interested in, what I wanted to major in, or what I wanted to do for my career after receiving a degree. I was only sure of one thing: I wanted to have a career that made a lot of money. I declared myself a biology major and enrolled in the general education courses required for the pre-dental track. After the summer semester, I decided I wanted to live off-campus. With all my friends who had come from high school to UF deciding to remain living on-campus, I was paired up with complete strangers to share a 4 bedroom/4 bathroom apartment. We did not get along. I rarely left my personal bedroom unless it was to grab a quick bite to eat, and even then I always took the food back into my bedroom to consume. In addition to my awful living arrangements, I could not keep with the intensity of my required courses. I failed every chemistry exam I took, and being too embarrassed to go to class, I began skipping them. I was homesick, depressed, and anti-social. After withdrawing from almost every class that I enrolled in for my spring semester of 2011, I drove to my parents’ house to stay for my summer break. Two and a half months after being back in my childhood home, on the night before I was supposed to go back for the fall semester, I woke my mother up at 2:00am and in tears said, “I can’t go back to Gainesville. Please don’t make me go back.”
    I did not go back to the University of Florida, which I am so thankful for. I have no contempt for the school, and I still consider it a great institution, but I completely overestimated the workload that students get saddled with in college. I was so worried that my family would be ashamed of me, to have a daughter/sister/granddaughter/niece/cousin that dropped out of UF just because times got tough. In all actuality, the opposite became reality; my family was so supportive of my choice to enroll at Indian River State College. My parents encouraged me to take classes that I was interested in, and I soon found myself declaring that I was a finance major. After getting my A.A. and not being able to continue my education at IRSC, I decided to apply as a transfer student to the University of Central Florida. Being only an hour and a half away from my family was much more comforting than the three and a half hour drive that I had been taking to and from Gainesville, and my family promised they would visit often for fun packed weekends at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. Now in my last semester at UCF, I cannot wait to get my Bachelor’s degree in finance and take on the challenge of finding a great job in a field that I am genuinely interested in.
    To close this story recounting my biggest failure, I just want the reader to know that no matter what challenges you face and no matter what obstacles you have to overcome, you can do it. Even if you have to do something that you would consider a failure, I promise that it will be worth it as long as it is for your own wellbeing. My mother has said to me countless times that she is so proud of me for getting out of the toxic environment I plunged head-first into by going to UF straight out of high school with no inkling of an idea of what I wanted my future to entail. Although I consider going to UF a failure of mine, I do not regret it. While I experienced times there were beyond difficult, I learned a lot about myself, what my limits are, and what I truly wanted in my lifetime.

  10. Jacob sadowsky
    Lab instructor- Leslie Connell
    Section -11

    failure is almost certain characteristic of everyone in this world. We were born to fail as failure is what evolves us into each level of our lives. A baseball player is considered successful if he fails 7 out of 10 times he is at the plate, much like we as human beings are considered successful by their few shining moments. Life is strange in that way. No one person get through an entire life without getting over a major hump along the way. No one like to to be wrong, no one likes to fail. Certain people, however, fail more gracefully then others. It’s these certain individual who learn from their failures and each time they do fail, another lesson is learned from it. The failure I will discuss today is not one of getting fired or getting caught doing something wrong, when I was in high school I failed as a son.
    The overwhelming feeling of failure came when I was 16 years old growing up Jupiter Florida. I had failed as son. My mother was in the hospital with a severe brain injury, there was nothing that I did to cause it and also nothing I could do about it, but did I feel like I failed as a son. I took my mother for granted until she was almost gone. My mom when in for a very standard nasal surgery to repair something minor. The surgeon decided to miss her nose and “accidentally hit her brain”. I never knew what it was like to live without a mother. I was nasty to mom and constantly got in screaming fights because well I was a teenage brat. When my mother was in Icu, I felt the feeling, that overwhelming feeling that I had failed, and I would never get to speak to my mom again. This trauma led to me to getting my first job at 16 because I wanted to anything to helps family. I had a failed as son because I never expressed how much I lovedt mom to her until after she had fully recovered, which by the way she did. This failure made me realize what is important in this world and without realizing it, I would not be where I am today.

  11. Faulys Ponceano
    Lab Instructor – Richard Quinn
    Section – D017

    Always Running

    It all started summer 2010 when I took my trigonometry class at Valencia College. After graduating high school, my goals and dreams went towards Civil Engineering. Engineering was my passion and the career path that I wanted to take. However, on the first day of Trigonometry class, I knew right there that I wasn’t going to be an engineer and it broke my heart. I went through the entire semester and suffered in every class because I felt ignorant for not understanding the concepts. The homework will constantly take me hours to get done and the majority of that time was with assistance. I never got to understand the applications that were taught in class since they were difficult to grasp. Although I kept telling myself that I was going to pass the course, I then realized that this was it for my career path in Engineering. Even though I passed the class with a C, I decided to change my major to Business Administration. However, after taking a couple of business classes for two semesters, I was not happy with the decision I made.
    Therefore, a year later, I decided to take Calculus I and I ended up with a B in the course, but I was still unsatisfied with the experience I had during the class. For the following semester, I didn’t take any other math classes until the spring semester when I took Calculus II. Calculus II helped me build my confidence enough that I decided to take Physics and return to my Engineering path. However, that was a huge mistake and I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. It was a horrible experience, so I decided to withdraw from Physics. Nevertheless, during the fall term, I retook Physics and although I tried my best, it wasn’t good enough and so I had to withdraw from the class again. After those tough attempts, I finally decided that Engineering was not for me. I wanted to be a great engineer so that my skills will shine and excel above others and performing in physics was not showing me that what I wanted to achieve that goal.
    Throughout all the chances of taking math and physics classes, I continue to pursue my career path in business. So during this time, I work as a math tutor and a Student Leader at Valencia College. After three years of working at Valencia and completing math and business classes, I finally realized what my dreams and goals actually were. I love teaching and working with students, but I also love managing people and I can be an extremely organized person. I am a semester away to graduate with my Bachelors in Business Management with a minor in Mathematics. In spring 2015, I will come back to UCF to start my Masters in Mathematics. After pursuing that goal, I will return once more for a Master’s in Business Administration or Leadership. I believe that all the classes I have taken and will be completing are one of the many reasons why I have become the person that I am today.

  12. Austin Beattie
    Lab Instructor – Richard Quinn
    Section – D017

    I believe that everything is a matter of perspective, what might be considered a failure in the eyes of one person can be a success in the eyes of another. That is probably the best way to sum up the past four years of my life.
    I can sit here and tell you that I got the most out of my college experience in ways that I never thought imaginable when I first came to Orlando in the fall of 2010. I joined one of the premier Fraternities at this school, I made friends that will last a lifetime, I’m graduating in four years, and I have a respectable GPA. However, if I were asked before I came to UCF what I wanted to accomplish here, I would want something completely different. So in that respect, I failed my past self.
    I would’ve wanted to play hockey or lacrosse instead of joining a fraternity, I would’ve wanted to make friends but I would’ve also wanted to stay closer with the ones I came here with, graduate with a job lined up, and I would’ve wanted to move back to South Florida instead of wanting to stay in Orlando. I had my hardships these past four years just like everyone else, and just because everyone has their own problems, it doesn’t not make them any less difficult to deal with. My father passed away this past year right before finals week and I stayed in Orlando to finish taking my finals before I could go home because I needed to do well on them, luckily I did. I had to unexpectedly move in the middle of the semester last fall because UCF had suspended the Fraternity house I was living in, so I had to balance school, work, searching for a new house, and moving all at the same time.
    I believe its hardships like these that change your perspective on what really matters, so although I have failed my past self, I am happy with the way things have worked out. After all you cant let the past affect the future.

  13. Vinh Tran
    SBU Manager: Gary Nichols
    Section: D013

    Ever since I was an infant, I have been raised to succeed. In a way, it was due to this insulation from failure, growing up, that caused me to arrive at my greatest failure.

    As a child, I had an affinity for recognizing patterns. For this reason, along with others, my parents signed me up to receive musical training at a young age. When I entered primary school, I was placed in the gifted program, which served to immediately isolate me from failure. As a self-proclaimed mediocre student, I like to believe that the main reason that I was able to succeed in my early years was not because of aptitude, but rather because of better instruction. In fact, since my teachers were so good at disseminating their knowledge to students, I eventually became rather lazy and began to rely on my ability to listen and regurgitate information to carry me through grade school; my first mistake. Thomas Edison said it best in his famous quote: “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

    When the time came to enter high school, I knew that going to the local high school was not the best option, so I faced the decision of traveling an hour by bus to the neighboring city to attend a high school with an International Baccalaureate magnet program, or travel an hour by train to attend a school of the arts. Daunted by the lack of certainty associated with a career as a musician, my parents convinced me to attend the IB school, which, at the time, was regarded as one of the best public school in the nation. Around this time, I also began training for the swim-bike-run multi-discipline sport of triathlon. Rather than excelling in any particular area, the rigorous schedule, difficult coursework, extra curricular activities, volunteering commitment, and training schedule caused me to fight to stay afloat rather than figure out what I was passionate about in life. In retrospect, it was in this time that I began to realize how average I was as a student.

    I graduated high school and ended up following my sister’s footsteps, which led me to the University of Central Florida. Still unsure about my future, I rationalized that with a math and physics background in high school, a degree in engineering would be the logical choice. Of course, merely meeting a 12 credit hour requirement to maintain my scholarship wasn’t enough for me, so I took as many courses as my schedule would permit. I enrolled in the Burnett Honors College, which again, began to overwhelm me, between the Junior Achievement volunteer commitments, and increased honors coursework. Furthermore, I decided to continue with triathlons, leading me to join the university’s club team. I was, once more, falling into the trap of mediocrity.

    In October of my sophomore year at UCF, fate struck. By then, I had become increasingly dedicated to training for triathlons. It was a Thursday evening. I rushed out of my last class of the day in order to quickly change and ride my bicycle over to the start of a training ride with two of my teammates. Just under 9 miles into our ride, I was T-boned by a car full of college kids, sending me along with my bicycle flying through the air. Unconscious and profusely bleeding, I was Traumahawked to Orlando Regional Medical Center where I laid in the ICU in a coma for 10 days. Though I didn’t break any bones, I sustained damage to the frontal lobe of my brain, leaving me with severe issues with my short-term memory. I spent a month in the hospital and then continued physical, occupational, and speech therapy for a number of months to follow.

    My main goal, besides riding a bicycle again, was to return to UCF to continue my education. However, I had difficulty understanding that life, for me, had changed. I would no longer be able to handle the amount of coursework that I had previously been accustomed to, let alone even half of it. I eventually returned to school, but struggled. My inadequacies, which have been present since childhood, had finally begun to catch up with me. I could no longer be lazy and depend on merely listening to lectures to regurgitate information. I had to, essentially, relearn how to learn. My grades began to take a toll, which prompted a change of majors, landing me in the College of Business. It wasn’t really until I took my senior-level courses that I realized the amount of work and dedication necessary for me to succeed.

    I don’t think that my greatest failure lies in academics or being mediocre, or even in my decision to make it to that training ride my sophomore year. I think my greatest failure in life is letting it pass by and not taking enough time to enjoy it with the people that really matter. Last summer, my father was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer. Since then, it has metastasized to the brain, skin, and liver. I don’t know how much time I have left with him and that terrifies me. It has put things into perspective and made me question myself. What is really important in life?

  14. Kevin Fisher
    Lab instructor- Leslie Connell
    Section -11

    As a young eighteen year old freshman starting at UCF I thought I had everything figured out. Being the son of a Cardiologist I grew up watching my father succeed in his profession as well as gain others respect and gratitude for his service to society. After seeing the fulfillment that my father got from helping and saving his patients I knew that I wanted to follow in his footsteps and become a doctor myself one day. I knew that pursuing a science major and getting into medical school was going to be a long and difficult road but i was determined to get past it and make my father proud.
    Sitting in my first science class I knew that I was in for a hard semester but I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it was. Unfortunately the Biology and Chemistry wasn’t clicking for me like it was for others and, I was getting through those classes with C’s even though I was giving it all my effort. Although many others who were in my same situation dropped out of the classes and changed their majors i was still tenacious and believed that eventually I would be able to excel like I thought i should. I managed to hold onto this determination until I had to take the course chemistry 2.
    While taking this course I slowly realized that I was in over my head. I was devoting all my time towards this course yet I wasn’t even passing. After spending hours on the phone with my father we came to the conclusive decision that I was not cut out to be a doctor, and that it was time to change my major. After ending the conversation with my dad and coming to that conclusion I felt like a huge failure and disgrace to my father and family. I always said that I was going to be a doctor and here I was crushing my own dream. For many days after this I felt extremely depressed and worthless, untilI I was able to put my head up and realize that there were other opportunities for me besides being a doctor.
    I decided to switch my major to business management and am now proud to say that I will be graduating UCF this summer with a job lined up when I get out. From this experience I learned that failure is a part of life and that when one door closes another one opens. Its important to learn from our failures and not let them dwell on us.

  15. Ashley Bravo
    Lab Instructor- Richard Quinn
    Section- D016

    Help! Help! In my head I’m yelling with all my might, but I fail to make a sound. I try to lift my arm, but it fails to move. I see nothing but black space, I fail to see. I am completely immobile. This was the day my body begun to fail me and at the time I failed to understand why. Neurocardiogenic Syncope came about in the midst of utter exhaustion caused by a compounding effect of stress and thus became my biggest failure up to date, the failure to listen to my body.
    Through the course of the development of my diagnosis, I was forced to look within myself. I found there was a correlation between the number of fainting spells versus the number of activities I had crammed into my schedule, leaving out less and less time for sleep and a drastic change to my diet. I was under a great deal of stress, hindering me from seeing what was essentially transpiring to my mind and body. You see, living in a society where we are forced to constantly outdo ourselves and the person sitting next to us, it is easier to listen to the voices of those advising you to push harder while ultimately obscuring the voice within ourselves telling us to slow down and catch our breath. While success may be determined by the number of accomplishments we attain in life, this experience has lead me to redefine success. Learning from my failures is a critical part of that definition. I will no longer fail to see what my body is telling me. I will no longer fail to move in the direction in which my body leads me. I will no longer fail to hear myself speak. I will not let society define what I can and can’t accomplish.
    The significance of this failure may perhaps induce others to take a step back and listen. The underlining message: the messages our body transmits to us can take many forms. Be it a head ache, fainting/paralysis spells, weight loss/ gain, etc. It is our job to define that breaking point, and when we’ve passed it make sure to catch those signs. Though it may seem that our bodies are invincible, I have witnessed firsthand the limits allowed. My advice: take note, listen. From that, we can determine how much we can genuinely accomplish.

  16. Katie Lustberg
    Lab instructor — Richard Quinn
    Section D017

    From the outside looking in, many would think my future was basically set. With no loans to pay off, financial support from my parents since I can remember, a business put in my name at the age of 18 run by my father, and nothing less than an A in any of my accounting classes, what was there to stop me? Self-confidence.

    For reasons unknown to me, I have been a self-conscious person for as long as I can remember. I have always chalked it up to being my “personality”, although to a certain extent I still believe that to be partly true. I do not enjoy being the center of attention, public speaking, or even participating in class discussions; and all of these factors have never really hindered me in my life, until senior year.

    I had always envisioned myself working for a top accounting firm, yet I had no plan to turn that objective into action. Although I had straight A’s throughout my major, what did I actually know about accounting? That was the question that continuously haunted me.

    Like most seniors my age, it was time for me to really step up and attend the career expo on campus. I dreaded this day for months in advance. Making excuses like I didn’t have the right outfit, or it was going to rain so I would not be looking my absolute best. Yet being the student I am, I poured myself into researching all the top firms and companies I knew I would want to be talking with.

    The day came and I was ball of nerves. I could barely eat breakfast that morning, let alone stomach the thought of talking to so many professionals and competing with others my age who seem to have no problem speaking in front of others. So many times that little voice in my head told me to “turn around, you’re not ready for this.” To that little voice’s dismay, I proceeded.

    Waiting in line behind so many hopefuls, I looked around and realized I needed to really put my fears behind me. I had worked so hard the last four years building my grades and resume for this moment. Was I going to let all that hard work go to waste? Of course not. The first interview flashed before my eyes and it was over. As the day went on, I became more and more comfortable with everyone I met. I realized what I had feared was the my lack of experience and knowledge within accounting. However the truth of the matter is, most companies do not expect you to know much. I would have never believed such a thing until an intern of a top ten accounting firm expressed their experience to me at the expo.

    Within a few weeks I had four interviews set up with some of the top accounting firms in the country. I was lucky enough to fall in love with one opportunity that was presented to me, and I will be interning for the firm of my dreams this spring.

    If I had let my fear of failure hinder me from attending that job fair, I can’t even begin to think of how different my life would be today. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned throughout this journey is that no one is going to believe in you unless you believe in yourself; confidence is contagious. If you were to look up the definition of failure, I’m sure you would receive a thousand different answers. My personal definition of failure is the act of not allowing yourself to be great. I will not only be able to take this lesson and apply it throughout my career, but also through life.

  17. Elizabeth Marlow
    Lab Instructor – Richard Quinn
    Section – D017

    Failure to me is an experience. Yes, you can fail a test, or fail to be present in certain situations, but the actual act of failing is something that should be looked at in a different light. With failure comes learning, growing, and believing. Although it can get you down, it allows you to look forward and know that there are hopefully better things coming your way. Experiencing failure throughout my life has allowed me to stay focused on what is important. Knowing that there is always another route to take is a blessing, and I have truly become who I am today through the ups and downs of failure.

    Although I have never been through any drastic life changing failures to date, I have definitely had my fair share of failures. Growing up, I was always a happy kid, but I have always been on the shy side. When it comes to meeting new people, speaking up in class, performing on stage, or anything that has to do with having all eyes on me, I’ve never liked it. I never saw this as a failure until I thought about what to write in this essay. After becoming more and more comfortable in my own skin, I have overcome the unnecessary nerves that have always gotten to me.

    Upon graduating high school, I was ready for college and had a whole new aura of confidence, I was no longer the shy, quiet girl. I was able to experience everything college has to offer, and all with a new perspective. A perspective to appreciate, enjoy, and live everyday with a positive attitude. I tried to never take anything for granted and when I did find myself failing to be appreciative or becoming upset, I would look at the certain situations with a new plan and know that everything would turn out just as it was intended to be, as long as I stayed focused and did what I needed to do. One of my biggest failures in college was indeed failing a class. I started slacking off around the time I took financial accounting. I ended up with a D in the class and I knew that I hadn’t tried hard enough or put in enough effort. I re-took the class, passed with a B and from that point on I vowed to never fail a class again, and I haven’t.

    Failure has taught me to improve on the overall quality of my life in general. I am about to graduate college with a solid GPA, lots of internships under my belt, and high aspirations for the future. I am able to attribute all of these accomplishments to both the successes and failures that I have been through, and also those that I have witnessed from others. I have always been a good student, easygoing person, and loving daughter, but it is after lots of hurdles and jumps that I have gotten to where I am today and where I will be going in the next chapter of my life. Without setbacks and failures, everything would be too easy, and easy is boring and insufficient. I am now moving forward with passion, drive, and exuberance. I know that there are still numerous failures that I’ll face throughout the rest of my life, but for now it’s one step at a time and I’ve learned to handle them with trust, planning, and the simple act of learning.

  18. Blake Bender
    MAN 4720-D17
    Mr. Richard Quinn

    Letting Down the Team
    The definition of a win can be defined as a goal or shot that wins a winner a point. No matter who you are or what you are competing for everyone wants to win and therefore becomes a winner. That is exactly what I wanted to be when competing in the State Water Polo Finals for my high school. I trained months in and months out with my team in order to make it to the Finals and eventually the dream came true, we won our final game and we made it to the championship. Although we made it the dream was not fulfilled…we still had to win.

    I remember so clear jumping into the pool getting ready to start the game, knowing in my head that I would have to perform at a top notch level in order for my team to win. I had mentally prepared and physically prepared, now all I had to do was perform. The game went well all the way into the final quarter. The opposing team had just turned over the ball and I was in route to the other side of the pool, waiting for my teammate to pass me the ball. It was 1-1 and the next few seconds would determine if we could finally classify ourselves as winners. The clock was at 5 seconds to buzzer and my teammate saw me from across the pool, open and ready for the pass. He passed me the ball and with two seconds to spare I froze. I looked left and I looked right attempting to try to shoot but I just could not do it. The pressure was to intense and I did not want to be the one to make the last shot, ultimately I chocked…and I failed.

    Although this experience did not make me or break me I was able to learn from this failure. I learned sometimes in life pressure is going to be high. It is going to stress you out and you will not know which way to go, who to confide in and where your next step will take you. But even when you don’t know these things there is always opportunity to learn from the route you take. Whether it means you lose some and you win some, nothing is more valuable than the experience.

  19. Katherin Ferreira
    Lab Instructor: Leslie Connell
    Section: MAN4720 – section 11

    Hi my name is Katherin Ferreira and I am originally from Valencia, Venezuela. I have been in United States for five years now and I am very grateful for being here. However, being in USA was not in my whole plan.

    I am the oldest of three siblings that was born and rise in Venezuela. My mom is a wonderful woman that empowers me and my brothers get a degree; even though, she dropped out high school because she did not like to study. My father is an immigrant from Portugal that went to Venezuela when he was fifteen years old. He had to start working when he was ten years old and he never had the opportunity to go to school. Since I was a little girl, both my dad and mom encourage me to go to school and get a degree. They always say that education is very important in life no matter what you gain or loose, what you know in life nobody can take it away from you.

    As a young girl, I had a life that many girls would want. I was beautiful, smart, with a lot of friends, and most important with the love of all my family. All my high school years I was a great student I would say the best in my class. I was always on the first place with the best GPA. I graduated with honors and receive a certificate and a medal for that reason. I went straight from high school to the best university in my city, which it was hard to get in but with all my grades and the state exam with a great score gave me the admission to it. I was so happy and I was going to study what I had always dream about, Accounting.

    When I was in my first year, I was doing awesome like always but something happen in my family that changed the path of my life. My father has a well-established company back home and one day when he was at the bank he got shot because somebody wanted to steal some money. My father almost died when he arrived to the hospital and he lost vital signs when he was having the surgery. After that, I have to stop going to school because I was in danger for being kidnapped. As a result, I failed all my classes and I was kick out from the university. I was devastated all my dreams came into an end what could I possible do after all that??

    After my father recovered from the surgery, he decided to send me out of the country. In his opinion, that was the wiser decision he ever made, but what about me? What about what I was thinking in that moment? I was all over the place I did not want to leave my city, friends, and family. My whole life was there I was happy and now my dad was ruing my life for a whim. He sent me to an American family for a whole year and he enrolled me in the Orlando English Institute to learn English as my third language.

    I remember the day I first came to United States. I was waiting for somebody that I did not even know. The lady was supposed to wait for me with a sign with my name on it. I did not speak a word in English. When I met the lady I was saying back in my mind what is this lady saying? Please stop talking!! I started crying. As soon as we walked into the house, the phone ringed. It was my mom calling me. I cried even more, I just wanted to go back home. I was such a looser being here by my own.

    I started in the very first book but weeks pass by and I started to like the city. I started to meet some friends from different countries. I was able to talk to the lady at home. I have to say that she was an important piece the process of leaning English because she was so helpful, nice, smart, and sweet. She showed me so many things and most important she thought me the American culture. The first book, I passed it with an average score, but after my second book I started to get all 90’s and 100’s. I was back in track with me being an outstanding student. During all my level the director gave me certificates for my exceptional performance, and on my third book, I won 200$ price for a national competition for my opinion on why should people learn English. My parents were so proud of me and I was proud of myself. After all, my father’s decision was not that bad. My days at the Orlando English Institute were coming to an end and I was so happy to go back home. However, I was sad to leave all the beautiful people I met in this adventure.

    I went back home and I was ready to go to school again, but this time I could not get into the University, my acceptation was denied. Once again, I was devastated. How was that possible? After all that I have been through now I cannot get into the school I want. Meanwhile, the situation in my country got really dangerous and it was not safe for me to be there. My father one more time made the decision that I was going to study in the United States and there was nothing I can do to change his mind. Four months passed after I went back home and now he wanted to send me away one more time. Really??

    I came to Orlando one more time, and started to study in Valencia Community College now called Valencia College. This time I was living by my own with my dog in an apartment. My mom came with me for a month to set me up and when she left, I felt aimless. I lost so much weight and I did not want to go to school anymore. One day I talked to my mom and she told me that I have to continue with my life and I have to get my degree. I realize that I had the opportunity that many people would want. That being in United States pursuing a career is not something that many people can have, so I have to take advantage of this.

    I did everything I could to graduate from Valencia and I got my AA degree it in a year in a half. This time I was not the smartest girl but I had and average GPA that got me to where I am now the University of Central Florida. I started UCF majoring in Accounting, but a year later I was not doing that great on the classes and I was put into lack of progress. I talked to an advisor about my situation and she told me that the best thing to do was to change my major. One more time another stone in my path. I could not believe what she was saying. That means that I have to give up my dream about being an accountant.

    Accountant is what I want to be and I’m going to graduate with that major no matter what, I thought. I started taking other classes so I can rise my GPA once done I went back to my accounting classes but once again I failed my classes. I decided that I was going to go back to my country without finishing my degree. However, my dad did not let me he said to start another career even if I do not want to. I decided to go with general management a stupid career that I always criticized.

    When I started taking my classes for management I realize that I have always been in the wrong path and being an account was not what I really wanted to do. I fall in love with this major and I saw many opportunities for my future life. However, back in my mind I was thinking about all the study I already did with accounting so I went back into accounting with a minor but still I couldn’t make it. I failed not only one class but four of them. This was the time when I said no more I will not keep trying because this is something that I do not enjoy doing. I dropped the minor and focus more in my general management career by this time I have lost two semesters and now I am going to graduate later than some friends. Well but at least I’m going to graduate soon. I started looking for an internship an I got the job in my first interview I was so excited after all that I have been through I was getting an internship with a career that was not expected to do.

    Now I am in my last semester. I am finishing capstone and I cannot describe how happy and grateful I am. Having in mind one career and ending up with another one is not something that you do everyday. Life is complicated sometimes it makes you take decisions that changes all your life sometimes for good sometimes for bad. In my case I went to a lot ups and downs to get to where I am now, but I am happy with my career and my job at the department of Human Resources at UCF. I believe that everything happens for a reason and no matter how many times we fall we have to stand up and keep trying even if we have to take a different path because from a failure can come a great success.

  20. Robin Holcomb
    Lab Instructor- Leslie Connell
    Section- D014

    Playing sports in my house was a common thing. Both of my sisters where active in soccer and dance as long as I can remember. I, on the other hand quit every single sport I tried. Until the day I started college here at the University of Central Florida. During my career at UCF I started working part-time for Volusia County schools doing their Extended Day program. I later wanted to also do an internship.
    I got an internship with a local nonprofit. Due to the company being a nonprofit I knew I would not be getting paid. But, on the other hand I needed the money, so I decided that I could do the internship, work part-time and go to school full time. I thought that I would not have a problem doing any of this and still keep my grades up.
    For the first couple of weeks I was making it! I was enjoying the internship, loving my classes and managing to stay awake at work. Until about the middle of the semester when all my exams fell between a two-week time period. During this two week time period I contemplated quitting my internship. I felt like I had hit rock bottom with everything going on, and most of all the sleep deprivation was starting to affect my health.
    As someone who has quit every sport or instrument I have started, I decided to talk about my frustrations to another intern. During our talk she pointed out that when things do get hard, you cannot just keep walking away, you need to face these exams, work and carry out my internship for the remainder of the semester.
    I have failed my whole life in quitting many things. Every time I feel the urge to walk away and not face the problem to grow from, I think about this conversation. When I do hit rock bottom again I will instead think, “what can I do to fix the problem” instead of running away and never learning anything from the experience. I truly believe that my internship did not only teach me about Human Resources but also about never giving up.

  21. Luke Chasse
    MAR4720 D017 – Quinn
    Failure Competition

    I’ve failed almost every day for 20 years. Heck, my ETA for walking across the stage as a graduate of UCF is August 2nd, and I JUST missed my mid-term exam for my capstone class. I will continue to fail for the rest of my life. Embracing the idea that every individual situation and interaction in life contains the opportunity to be a learning experience has changed my perspective.

    Within these daily experiences, the smallest phrase or gesture may have what seem like a seismic effect. I learned this the hard way when I was the newbie intern at Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC).

    I was three months into my internship at OCSC when I started working on the ticketing software. My hard work had paid off (not literally, I was unpaid). They decided to give me more responsibilities as demand went up and the staff numbers went down. I welcomed the opportunity to work with computers, logistics, and finances after 90 days of cold calling (I may have froze). About a week after learning how to operate the system, I was the sole printer of tickets for Orlando City Soccer. If you didn’t have season tickets, and you purchased a ticket over the phone or the through the computer, there was a 100% chance I chose what seat you were sitting in. With this new role, I was also responsible for printing the names on the tickets, which would eventually find their way to will call.

    I felt like the man.

    The next week was extremely busy as we expected a large crowd for the upcoming game. Kelly, a ticket rep at the time, asked me to print 2 tickets for the owners Kay and Phil Rawlins. Without hesitation I found 2 club level seats for the pair, printed them out, stapled them, and handed them back to Kelly. Approximately twenty minutes later, Kay, whom I was only slightly familiar with at the time, walked up to my desk with an astonished look on her face. I spelled her last name “Rollins”. The only name I couldn’t mess up.. I did. She eventually responded to me with a sarcastic, “Maybe you should write my last name 100 times on the white board until you get it.” I could sense the frustration from her and Phil.

    At the time, the only thing I could think about was my reputation, and how much it was tarnished. How could I screw up something so crucial? If I had just paid the slightest bit of attention to detail to the MOST IMPORTANT tickets I’ll EVER print, this wouldn’t have happened. I could never get a job after something like this. I had to take a lunch break to clear my head.

    Though I didn’t eat a bite, I had the most satisfying lunch of my life that day. A colleague sat me down, and said “I’m 35 years old, and I’m still learning every day. You’ll be fine.” I reflected on this for a while and realized I could do one of two things: sulk and kick myself for what I had done, or make the best of the situation I had put myself in and learn from it.

    The next day I was the first one in the office. I went directly to the white board, and in red marker I wrote “Kay Rawlins” exactly 100 times.

    As I finished up, Kay walked in. She embraced me with a hug and took a picture of me and my ridiculous work for Orlando City’s facebook page. What could’ve been an internal riot in my head, turned into a joke that created a better relationship between the two of us for the rest of my tenure with Orlando City.

    This instance not only transformed my approach to tasks within my job, but in all decisions in life. The ability to stay positive when reflecting on any size failure is essential.

  22. Sara B. Duff
    Prof. Christopher Leo
    Section 11

    For many of us, when we think of failure experiences our brains take us to the time when we failed to perform or failed to attain something. One of my worst experiences when it comes to failure happened when I took Quantitative Business Tools II. I vividly recalled that prior to the first exam I had studied for several days and deprived myself of sleep in the interest of gaining and mastering the material. I went to the exam and was shocked when I learned that all that hard work I got a C.

    Let me clarify that I am not a typical student in his or her 20’s. I came to the United States with about 120 credits and I was about 1 year to finish law School. Once in Idaho I was told I was not going to be able to validate my classes. In an attempt to get educated I got into nursing school and worked but I always knew that was not my dream.

    Well, going back to Quantitative class. In my despair and frustration I wondered why I did get a C when I had worked so hard for it. I was more than mortified because during the first exam I ended up running out of time and had left about one fourth of the exam questions to finish. The professor couldn’t help me but made a remark that not only made feel small but helped me realized that there was something wrong with me.

    I wanted to get an answer to many of my questions and more so why I always had to work not only hard but extremely hard to attain or do anything that may seem easy for everybody else. After looking for answers; UCF gave the tools to get to the bottom of this long life mystery.

    I went through major testing and I found out I had severe ADD and in my case my condition was affecting my processing. Just as Steve Job said “You have to look at the past to connect the dots”. After the discovery of what it was wrong with me I was able to see clearly the why of my challenges. I was able to understand why my father who raised me always said to me I was not made to succeed in life. I remember despite years and years of hearing “ you are not made for school” I did not want to believe and just because of my ADD, I think, I never really got my father’s message of letting go any academic dreams.

    Now I that I also look at the past and having the knowledge I have I do understand that maybe my father saw my issues but never wanted to deal with them. It is now that I get to understand myself and I try not to get discourage that at my age I still pursue a dream. Thanks to that failure I was able to understand the past, push myself everyday to live the present and continue to empower myself for a brighter future.

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