Admit it, You Failed

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 leader. That is why we celebrate failure and persistence in the college. Today, we begin the tenth installment of our Failure Competition. Entering our competition is simple:

Write an account of a failure you have experienced in the past. Your failure story has to focus on a new experience, a time you stepped out of your comfort zone: the farther the better. Tell us why this was such a stretch for you, the failure that resulted and what you learned from the experience that would be of interest to others.

While the Failure Competition began with students in our capstone class, it is now open to any UCF student on campus: undergraduate, graduate or EMBA, business, education, engineering or whatever. The only requirement is that you currently be enrolled at UCF. Two semesters ago, we had a music student win the competition.

Need inspiration or guidance to tell your story? Search my blog. We have posted many stories about failure over the years.
Here are the ground rules, complete with important deadlines:

1. To enter you must post your essay in response to this blog. If you are a capstone student this semester include your section number and name of your instructor. If you are not in this class, tell me your class standing ( e.g., freshman, senior, graduate student) and your field of study. You must complete this exercise by 5 pm on Friday Nov. 4th.
2. Instructors from the Capstone Course will then choose a winner from their section and explain why they chose the essay they did. A panel of College staff will choose no more than five finalists for me to consider from the rest of campus. I need these by 5 pm on Nov. 11th.

3. Those winning entries are then sent to me. I will select three finalists by Nov 14 at 5 pm.

4. The finalists will be asked to submit short videos based on their essays. They must have those videos to me by 5 pm on Nov. 21.

5. I will then feature one video each day on my blog starting Nov. 28th with a vote by everyone reading my blog taking place to determine the winner on Friday Dec. 2nd.

6. The winner will get a letter of recommendation from me along with a $500 prize. Second place will get $300, third place $200. These monies are awarded through our financial aid office.

Good Luck

23 thoughts on “Admit it, You Failed

  1. Kasen Raines – Senior Class of Spring 2016

    Mind, soul and body: My life in ruins.

    “Failure is not an option”echoes from the recess of my mind from my earlier years – It was not an option for my mother as an immigrant to the United States and it was not an option for me as a first generation American. Failure was not an option for someone like me – that is, until I failed.

    One warm, fall day I unexpectedly fell to the ground and began seizing. I lost the control that I so dearly treasured and was subjected to hospital visits, medical tests, experimental drugs, and much uncertainty. My last year of high school involved walking around with wires on my head (EEG) for a week, a heart monitor that would beep in class, being pushed on a wheelchair for a month, and a case of amnesia. My body had failed me. Charles Dickens wrote, “We need never be ashamed of our tears,” however, my shame was not only due to the many tears that I liberally shed, but rather because of that weakness and hopeless that surrounded me, and the insurmountable questions about my future that plagued my debilitated mind.

    I was seventeen and suddenly I was overcome with a sense of urgency. I spent that time reflecting on my life and wondering if I had done everything? I was heavily involved in many aspects of my school. I volunteered both abroad and within my community, I was a good student; was I doing too much? I asked myself many times, “Did I do all I needed to do?” I was overwhelmed with a sense of urgency – I had no idea if tomorrow would to come. The necessity to maximize every breath and make the present moment more meaningful than ever became the fuel that propelled me to take the next breath.

    I was accepted to UCF before I lost my memory, so I started two weeks after my miraculous high school graduation. There was no time to waste. I decided to have three majors, two minors, and a couple certificates by the time I graduated UCF. I joined LEAD Scholars, went to Knights Give Back, started an RSO, caught a duck at Spirit Splash, became an event coordinator for a nonprofit, and became more determined than ever to leave a mark. Even though I struggled with critical thinking and memory loss due to the recent events, collapsed in class with full blown seizures that, at times, left me in a pool of urine, and was ostracized by students who did not know how to process my predicament, I had to make this one life I was given count!

    I eventually lost everything. Even my dream of majoring with an accounting degree as well as the hope of having my first relationship. I eventually felt the exhaustion of pushing forward and lost the motivation to continue to fight – mostly alone. My health had cost me to lose a semester of classes – I failed two classes and was put on academic probation. My hopes for a future were crushed.

    “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” – Charles Dickens

    This was another time for me to reflect on my life. In high school I had my foot in as many doors as possible. In college I pursued a professional degree and was heavily involved. Why? What was my motivation for doing so much? Did I love what I was doing? I realized that I was pursuing a degree that would give me prestige, I was doing so much so that others wouldn’t see how worthless I truly felt. I tried to prove myself by having the longest resume and the most titles, but at the end of the day, I was still dissatisfied. I wanted to do what I loved: help others. Would I finally allow myself to do what I felt called to do even though it may not get the same recognition? Even though I may not make a lot of money? Would I surrender a title for a life that I loved?

    In the act of surrendering my dreams and carefully crafted plans for my life I discovered my purpose. I came across Hope Africa Collective – an organization that specializes in socioeconomic development – and was inspired by their mission. I fell in love with serving others and suddenly my failures did not matter anymore. I applied to Hope Africa in December of 2015 as I once again started to select classes for the spring. The passion to make a difference in the life of other became a second birth. I got an internship with the Institute of Internal Auditors where I met a student who was studying Integrated Business at UCF and I realized that this specific course of study would best prepare me to work with HAC. This past September I applied to work with Hope Africa Collective for a third time. After my first five semesters of college, I did not fear failure or rejection anymore. A week after my last application I received an email stating that the founder of the HAC was in town, and wanted to do the interview himself. At the end of the interview he asked me to come to South Africa as a full time staff starting May of 2017.

    I started my journey sick, weak, broken, alone, and confused. I am ending my journey with a year of health and strength, as the seizures stopped after one year of alternative treatment. I started my journey with so many plans centered around what I wanted and instead what I could be – as a result I am ending with a major in Integrated Business and certificates in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and Leadership (LEAD). I started my journey with a deep desire to make my life significant, however, through many failures, sorrows, and pain I am more than ever determined, and even somewhat trained, to help others discover significance.

    For years failure had been my most effective teacher, pain my most present mentor, and fear my revered advisor. As I near graduation I am grateful for the many lessons and for my new teacher, advisor, and mentor – love, hope, and courage.

    “I never actually failed. I just went on the most epic journey of a lifetime; with sorrow and pain, with victories and triumphs, and with love and loss.” ~ Kasen Raines

  2. Brittany Flickinger
    Senior Marketing Major

    Failure. We’ve all done it and will probably do it a hundred more times in each of our lifetimes. For me my most significant and disappointing failure was getting kicked out of my dream university’s college of business administration. The Warrington College of Business Administration at the University of Florida. Even just typing that sentence still brings a sting of sadness to my heart. After just one full year of being a Florida gator marketing major pursuing my ideal career path in the business world at my favorite college I was faced with a life altering decision. My choices became switch to journalism or transfer to a different university all together. I knew that this could be one of the most monumental decisions of my life and would dramatically affect my future.

    Ultimately, I knew that my true passion was marketing and achieving a degree in that field was what mattered most to me. So, I ended up at the University of Central Florida fully believing that all I would receive from UCF was a black and white piece of paper stating my degree.

    Thankfully I was wrong, dead wrong. Transferring was the single most critical decision I could have made for my business career. The Orlando area has provided me countless opportunities to grow and flourish as marketing connoisseur. Additionally, I was able to find my place on campus within my Greek organization and that has been a tremendous journey that has guided me into the woman I am today.

    There is no true way of knowing how my life would have turned out if I had remained at UF as a journalism student but I can whole heartedly say that perseverance and my dedication to marketing led me to the greatest college experience I could have ever hoped to have. The relationships I formed at UCF, the networking opportunities and my internship at The National Mango Board have all given me reassurance that my failure led to my greatest success; a college career worth remembering attached with a bright future.

  3. Failure Competition
    By Bryant Santana

    “You don’t have experience” is something that I have been told throughout my undergraduate career. According to the Washington Post, “more than 80% of students graduate without a job.1” This daunting statistic is something future graduates do not like to hear. Wanting to be a part of the 20%, I became motivated to pursue my professional foundation while participating in academia.

    During my last couple of semesters at Valencia College, I used Career Services to obtain accounting internships. Gaining experience that student’s want and employers look for in candidates pushed me in the right directions. Excited to come to UCF to be a member of an institution decorated with intellectuals, inspired me to get involved in extracurricular activates and improve my GPA.

    Seeing the interest of the College of Business to get students to take advantage of their resources guided me toward this way of thinking. With a goal to “offer high-quality academic programs designed to give students a competitive advantage in the world of business now and in the future,” This let me to be engaged within the different student organizations, and to see the impact it does to its members. The different organizations that I started out with were Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), and American Latino Professionals for Finance and Accounting (ALPFA). Being involved with the many different student organizations let me network and learn how to build professional skills such as resume, hot to answer interview questions, and dressing the part. As I started to network with many different professionals the two questions that I mostly asked was “What would you have done differently if you had to start college again?” and “What advice could you give to a college student?” The questions helped me because the answers that I heard was “Network”, “Do internships”, “Use Career Service”, “ “GPA is not the end all be all” as well as other responses. The responses showed me that I have to keep the course. Gaining the opportunities from my peers to being voted on two student organizations as an officer.

    As I was getting involved that one of my class GEB 3003 (Career Research and Planning) helped many students to get involved within college and to build a foundation before graduation. I did the activities that it had such as going to “Welcome to the Majors”, networking events, making a LinkedIn and building my relationship with my advisor. This showed me that building a foundation with my advisor that they listen to me, help me out more on opportunities within my field and they cared that I reach my goals. When even seeing my advisor out of the office that they would remember me and keep tabs on me to making sure that I was doing well in my classes. GEB 3003 is a vital class that I learned a lot from and that it helped me more with showing me how to build my foundation. Without GEB 3003 I may not have known more of how to build my foundation more with what the class taught me. As I was actively involved within the college I started to think that I should make a first great impression with my professors since they have been in many different fields. The professors even in some of there class showed students how to be in professional settings. The professors once learning from them that they provided great resources and people to look up to. As learning from my professors I learned that everyone comes from different backgrounds to become the one.
    The relationships with my professors have become vital for me. As being active with UCF I have now gained leadership experience by being in three student organization (ACFE, ALPFA and Volunteer UCF), build a foundation of experience in internship, did work in a fortune 100 company in the summer on a summer contract, and have volunteered with many different organizations. The question “You don’t have experience” has showed me that it becomes a motivator to me. Though I have not graduated that I still get active within my goals and that my goal is to know work as advisor, recruiter or a career services in a college. I will continue to work more so that I can reach more goals.

    Through the accomplishments that I have, I help others to get more focus more on out of college. I showed students such as GEB that while in college build your foundation because once you graduate that you will miss all the opportunities that UCF has. I have seen people succeed and see that from my failure that I have inspired others. The Failure competition inspires others to see how those that have fallen but have risen.



  4. Kathryn Fugelseth
    Integrated Business – May 2017

    I am a senior enrolled in the Integrated Business program and will be graduating in May of 2017. I started my college career at Valencia West Campus with no specific career aspirations and no intention of attending a four year university after completing my A.A. I was 19 years old and half way through my first semester of college when I discovered I was going to be a mom. In society’s eyes I had failed. The look on my friends and families faces when I told them their unwed daughter was going to have baby told me that I had failed. According to The National Conference of State Legislature (NCSL), “only 40 percent of teen mothers finish high school. Fewer than 2 percent finish college by age 30” and “Young women who give birth while attending a community college are 65 percent less likely to complete their degree than women who do not have children during that time”. Needless to say the odds were not in my favor.
    I knew the moment I was going to be mom that I HAD to finish school. I didn’t have to finish school for myself or for my friends and family. I had to finish school for my child. It was at that moment I decided not to be another statistic. After Fall 2013 semester I enrolled in online classes and continued to stay full time. On June 6th, 2014 I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and realized my journey had just begun. I continued to enroll in classes and with the support of family and friend I finished my A.A from Valencia and transferred to UCF in the of Fall 2015.
    If I told you working, going to school full time and being a mom was easy I would be lying. Universities offer many resources for mothers but typically there is no onsite daycare and if there is, it can be quite cost prohibitive; which can be very difficult at times when you are juggling employment, classes and outside school work. There was many tears shed but I never used my child as an excuse to not finish my school work or complete my degree. When I got pregnant I was told I would never finish school or that it would take me years to accomplish what my high school classmates had done. Everyday that I went to work I was reminded of how much “easier” my life would have been if I hadn’t gotten pregnant. I refused to hear the negative comments because I knew my main priority was to finish school for my daughter and I.
    In May of 2016 I started an internship at a Fortune 500 company. The odds for working for this company as an intern is 1 out 40. To put that into perspective 1 out of 20 applicants are accepted into Harvard.This past September the same company offered me a full time position upon graduation and the opportunity to pursue a Master’s degree with 100% tuition reimbursement. I started my college journey with the intention of only pursuing an A.A. When unexpected life events happened I decided to push myself and prove society wrong. I am proud to say I will not be another statistic.

  5. Hannah McGavock
    Advertising/Public Relations

    Although I don’t have an incredible success story, I feel as though my failures have brought me to be who I am today. As a high school student I always completed my work, but I struggled with test taking; especially the timing. I managed to graduate with a 3.824 GPA that I worked effortlessly for. Throughout my four years I was involved in my high school leadership program, National Honor Society, cheer team, dance team, weightlifting, and track. You’d be surprised at how out of shape I am now. The point is, I did my personal best to succeed. It then became time to take the SAT’s and ACT’s and I thought it would be a breeze. I definitely proved myself wrong. Every time I didn’t do well, I felt like a part of me was depleting. My sister and role model who is three grades above me got a 30 on her first ACT, which gave her 100 percent bright futures – leaving her with nothing to worry about. On my first ACT, I got an 18. My second, a 22. My friends were succeeding and I kept failing every single time. Granted I could do pretty terrible and still be able to go to a community college, but who dreams of that? Suddenly it felt like the possibility of going to a four year University and being able to afford it seemed impossible.
    My self-confidence was at an all-time low, especially with all the stress of senior year seeping into my brain. Four ACT’s and Five SAT’s later, I finally did it. I found out on my birthday I received an 1170 on reading and math, the exact score I needed to land a bright futures scholarship. No, it wasn’t the glamorous score that I would be proud to show off, but it was the score that gave me a chance at UCF. Little did I know what this one test would mean to my future. I imagine without it I would be attending Valencia, working full-time, living at home, and not continuing to better myself as a person. At this university I was able to join the LEAD scholars program and give back to the community, become a peer mentor and help incoming freshman through the same struggles I experienced, meet lifelong friends in my sorority, and find a wonderful job in the heart of campus. My favorite part about being at the University of Central Florida is being on the morale team for knight-thon. A few weeks in and this is already a once in a lifetime experience. Raising money for children’s miracle network hospitals is the most rewarding thing I have had the chance to do, especially alongside the most kind-hearted and spirited people I know. Because of this one test that I continued to fail at until I succeeded, I am now able to help myself grow, help my community grow, and help a future generation of kids. I couldn’t be happier.

  6. Hailey Rose Bruhn
    General Business Class of 2016
    Capstone Section 0020
    Professor Phyllis Harris

    “Sometimes an internship isn’t supposed to show you exactly what you want to do, but rather what you don’t want to do.” This was something I was told during my first interview with the company I was soon to be an intern of. I am a senior in the College of Business pursuing a major in General Business to be graduating this coming December. Throughout my entire life I have always felt that I can succeed at whatever I put my mind too and because of this I was not a quitter, regardless of the situation.

    This past Spring I attended the UCF Internship Fair in hopes of finding a job that would assist me in my future career goals in the business field. After interviews with multiple companies, I was offered a paid Sales Internship with a self-directed IRA firm. I was delighted to receive the offer; however, I have never been one to thrive in the sales aspect of business and this type of job was immensely outside my comfort zone. Due to my relentless desire to try new things and never quit, I decided to give this position a try.

    My first week there was a dream, I had never worked in an office before and being in this setting, feeling like I was doing something important and professional, was amazing. I was given my first true set of tasks in the following weeks and this is where things began to take a turn. I was assigned multiple types of lead generation, such as cold calling companies we could potentially do business with, gathering information on prospective companies through calls, and calling companies we currently work with to try to get further information about investments they were holding.

    The more calls I made, the more negative responses and hang ups, the more of a failure I felt. My superiors worked with me individually multiple times but I could not get the angst and anxiety to go away each time I picked up that phone. For over a month I came to work anxiously knowing I would have to make calls that day and terrified each time I did. It came to a point where I wasn’t sure if I could even finish out the internship. I hated feeling like a failure and being unable to produce beneficial leads for my team. I felt like a failure for being unable to perform what seemed like such a simple task.

    After days of contemplating my employment and feeling like a complete and utter failure I realized that, although I was not a good fit for the position I was in, I loved the company I worked for and did not want to leave. I also realized that not every person is meant to excel in every job type, this is why we choose majors, to enhance our knowledge in something we are good at and enjoy. I sat down with my superior and expressed my concern for my position but my willingness to perform other tasks, and to my surprise they were more than willing to assist me. They noticed I was struggling within this position and knew that my talents would be better suited performing different tasks that were more beneficial for the business. I was then assigned the task of assisting in the planning of our two day annual event and charity dinner, I have done work like this in the past, and I excelled at it. I also assisted in the marketing for this event and other work related events which I enjoyed immensely. Due to this change in position within the company, I was now excited to come to work each day rather than anxious and uneasy. I was eager to see the next task rather than avoiding it.

    Sitting here now, looking back on the time I spent with the company, I am in awe of the amount that I have grown and changed. Through my failure, I found a profession that I am good at and that I love. Through my failure, I have realized that it is okay not to be good at everything, in fact, it is better to be extraordinary in one thing than ordinary at everything. Through my failure, I have seen that the ability to admit to your failure shows that you are strong not that you are weak. But most importantly, through my failure I have realized that quitting something that drains you mentally and physically is not failure it is strength. It is okay to quit something that drains you if it gives you the opportunity to do something else that sets your soul on fire. Don’t be afraid to try new things, failure doesn’t mean you haven’t succeeded, failure can only happen if you don’t try at all.

  7. Sometimes we are prepared to fail, an upcoming exam that you knew you didn’t study for or race that you didn’t condition enough, but sometimes failure comes very unexpected.

    All throughout my years in school I was a pretty hard working student, tried my best, got the grades I wanted. Then back in the beginning of junior year in high school I started to date my first boyfriend. Everything at first is amazing, everything was flowers and hearts, so perfect right? As I paid more attention to this boy instead of my classes and friends, a lot started to go downhill. Don’t get me wrong, I still tried to study for my classes and do my best while trying to always have attention with the ‘so called’ love of my life at the time, so I decided to lose sleep and still have all my focus on school and my boyfriend, uh hmm excuse me, EX-boyfriend now.

    The road to going down hill didn’t happen so quickly, it happened through a long time span from the beginning of my junior year of high school to the beginning of my freshman year of college. Having this boyfriend really blinded me to what was important, going from A,B student to almost failing my classes. I was always one to challenge myself, but I couldn’t really focus all my energy to my challenges because they were all going to this boy.

    When I finally realized that the few things I would do for myself, like challenge myself to pass AP macroeconomics and government, I actually had failed, I knew that this boy was no good for my life. Not only was I failing my classes, but also my friendships, and family. During that time I was also becoming distant with my two best friends, deep down I also knew this was wrong. But I kept on going with this boy.

    Finally, when the relationship with him had ended, I had all these low grades, no friends, no family, and just barely graduated high school. This was not me, this was my failed me. I was completely broken, not only did this boy influence my ruined life, I was not accepted into the schools I applied for. Which led me going to Valencia; before, I was firm believer of going to a university for four years, not a community college, then university, but everything happens for a reason.

    At first I thought I had failed him, and that was why we broke up. But no, I had failed me. I became someone I wasn’t and that led me to things that were not good to my life; therefore, I changed. I decided that with the extra money FASFA was giving me I would save it for a study abroad the summer after my freshman year. During the first year at Valencia, although being so painful, I met new people, made new friends, got some old friends back into my life, got family back into my life as well, I learned so many things. Finally learned to refocus on the important things in life. Then after my study abroad in France I learned even more, that there is a huge world out there to experience, and one person cannot ruin your life, people can teach you things that you can only learn from.

    My life has since changed so much, and I thank god for making me fail me.

  8. Thomas Maingot, Sophomore
    Major: Pending

    I will always hold dear my time spent in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I will also never forget how awful it was. However, it taught me that a healthy amount of failure is important in life, especially to kids my age. Many of us have this grandiose sense of who we want to be in college. Some want to be legendary accountants, auditing the forces of evil. Others wish to become important etceteras. Still others, like me, want to live up to something greater than themselves. So, when I was sitting quiet in my apartment and my roommate, Connor, and my brother, Kevin, asked me lazily if I wanted to go to the mountains I knew I had to say yes. When they showed me a picture of a tall structure affixed to the side of Mt. Pisgah, a fire tower, I knew I was destined to climb it. So it was settled.

    Easier said than done.

    We began our 9 hour journey some Friday night during spring break last year and proceeded to drive through what seemed like to me the most boring portion of the country. I never felt so far away from it all, it bored me to my core. I was starving because we failed to pack any food for the journey. Just road and hunger and Denny’s as far as the eye could see. Although, I wasn’t going to eat at any of them. My time was too important. I became very cranky. It was around this time that we filled up for gas and then our car broke down.

    Eventually, after having survived the U.S highway system, we ended up in North Carolina where it rained. It rained for our entire first day, enough to flush our spirits. We pushed our way up to our campsite through thick fog and rain on a thin road with no guardrails. My anxiety set in. At the top we set up our tent which of course had holes and didn’t fit on our designated site. Frustrated and hungry, we drove down into asheville to see the city but instead were greeted by pouring rain and getting lost. Kevin and Connor were becoming cranky at this point as well. We called it an early night and fell asleep in our battered tent, but failure followed us still into the night.

    I awoke suddenly to the sound of howling wind and rain and to the scene of Kevin hurriedly expelling water from the tent and Connor trying to simultaneously catch a mouse that had burrowed inside seeking shelter. I watched them desperately damming up the water and chasing a rodent around screaming, and I couldn’t help but find the whole thingy absolutely hilarious. I began laughing, and as I started, so did they. We laughed because we saw failure had taken hold of us. Soon the mountainside was filled with our laughter, releasing the tension and pressure of civilization to the wind. We knew we were bad at camping, that we had failed. We saw in that moment that we had let failures mighty apathy bring us down, but now we were reveling in it.

    We rose after sleep to a morning without fog and we saw the mountains clearly for the first time. The sweeping landscape took our breath away. I looked up and saw the fire tower standing proudly at the top of Mt. Pisgah and I beamed back, knowing that I had grown from my failure in the mountains.The rest that followed was an adventure. For the next two days we hiked, climbed, swam, and experienced ourselves free from the heavy weight of destiny and success. We walked the dirt and sweat and blood covered paths that so many before us had walked and fallen; I like to think we emerged victorious from our shaky start at site 17, in the shadow of the mountain and in the shadow of heavy doubt.

    On one of the colder nights, we spent our time around the damp wood fire that we made and created poetry. I used them as lyrics for a song that I wrote about my time in the mountains and it continues to be a crowd favorite whenever I perform live.

    I found a lot on Mt. Pisgah. I found music. I found friendship and family. Most importantly, however, I found relief and success in failure.

  9. Evan Fehring
    Computer Engineering

    Throughout my life, I have been without a doubt a very tech oriented person. Since I have cerebral palsy, I wasn’t always able to be as active as I am today. As a result, I spent a significant amount of my time on computers. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that I decided to join the Computer Club my sophomore year at Montini Catholic High School in Lombard, Illinois. The first day I showed up, I was surprised to learn that the club was no more than a collection of different groups isolated in their own activities. It was a free-for-all with some students working on individual projects, some playing games, and some just milling around. Instead of everyone sharing ideas for a common goal, the club was splintered. This really bothered me for the entire first year I participated. One day during my junior year, I arrived at a weekly club meeting and saw one member playing League of Legends, a game I loved. I joined up and soon enough we started playing together. Over the coming weeks, I organized a growing group to play during club meetings. Members would frequently inquire about the game and ask to join us. Before long, we had more players than computers, and club members had to wait in line in order to play. I managed games every Tuesday and ensured that everyone had equal chance to play. Word quickly spread throughout the school that I was organizing matches. Everyone from the top athletes to the foreign exchange students came wanting to participate. Not only did I get everyone to work together sharing ideas across a common platform, I also gave people the opportunity to make friends under unique circumstances. I saw underclassmen giving advice to upperclassmen and friendly competition occur between people who otherwise would’ve never had a conversation.
    With a burst of curiosity that almost doubled the size of the club, I came to the conclusion that the only thing to could make the experience better for my group was to organize a tournament. It seemed like a great idea at the time. After speaking with some of the juniors who had been helping me lead the group since the beginning, we decided upon a two versus two format. By the next week, we had a bracket drawn up and more teams than we knew what to do with. There was even a chance that the event would be sponsored with prizes provided. I planned on the whole thing being a calm and laid-back experience.
    Instead, there was chaos. Without the bracket being readily available, there were disagreements about who was facing who. Additionally, the results of the matches were self-reported without overseers spectating to ensure fair play. Not only that, but I also failed to make clear and consistent rules, though I’d have to say my biggest mistake was competing in the tournament myself. This not only created a conflict of interest but also drew me away from my duties of making sure everything ran smoothly. By rushing into the idea without proper planning, the whole thing fell apart. I was so excited by the fantastic idea in my head that I didn’t stop to bring it into reality. My central fault was throwing everything to the wind and expecting it to magically fall into place. My first experience leading, planning, and executing a large plan was an utter failure. The final competitors didn’t show up for weeks, and the feverish dream died coming to a grinding halt.
    Though my fantastic idea was bashed against the walls of reality, it set the foundation for something larger. In the wake of my grisly disaster grew a new dream. League of Legends became practically its own club. For the rest of the year, membership included the new faces from the hectic days of tournament chaos. With the experimental tournament out of the way, I began planning a brand new exhibition for the next year with a well-defined structure and proper professionalism. It was soon after this time that I learned I would not return to Montini for my senior year. I was moving to Tampa and would not be able to give my dream another shot. Even though I was disappointed to not get a second chance, I realized that even without me, the friends who had been by my side from the first day would be able to pull off the original idea that fascinated me by using the leadership I demonstrated and the experience gained from our beautiful failure.
    Even with news of my departure from Montini, the tournament was not my last leadership experience at Montini. Our school decided to attend College of DuPage’s annual Engineering Olympics for the first time. It was a competition which included numerous events to challenge participants’ critical thinking and application of knowledge. Needless to say, we were complete underdogs. We went in with zero expectations as it was Montini’s first time competing. Using the leadership skills gained from my fantastic disaster, I led my team through event after event doing the best we possibly could. By the end, we felt as though we had done an incredible job but didn’t expect to win anything. We then waited for third, second, and first places to be announced. After two teams went up for third and second places, and it was announced that the first place team crushed the competition by 40 points, we expected some random nerds to win. We were the random nerds. My team and I still couldn’t believe it when we received our awards and had our photos taken. By using the leadership skills gained from my failed tournament, I implemented new strategies to help guide my team to a miraculous first place win. Without my experience leading a catastrophe, I would not have acquired the skills to focus my team on a common goal from start to conclusion.

  10. Brandon Chestnut
    MAN4720-16Fall 0018
    Professor Christopher Stein

    Dean Jarley Failure Competition

    Traditionally students have talked about where they have failed at one single point in their life, this is not the case for me. I want to talk about how I fail every single day for the past 22 years and how I over come this struggle. Failure and I are very familiar with one and another since the very day that I said my first words. From an early age, I have had a serve speech impediment that has affected many aspects of my life. I have had well over 15 years of speech therapy classes, various dental procedures, and a vast amount of practice in hopes of one day being able to communicate like everyone else.
    Over the years, I have been able to over come many of the sounds that I was unable to pronounce as a child, yet this impediment still makes its presence know. I have limited it down to just vocalic “R” sounds on a conversational level, which is a huge progression from when I was 3 years old. This sound is not only one of the most difficult sounds within the English language; it is very unlikely I will ever perfect it.


    When you are a young child, you simply do not under stand why you can’t communicate like all of the other kids and why they sound so different from you. This in returned caused me to face a huge amount of adversity from an early age. Not only that I was dealing with the internal battle of trying to figure out why I was faced with such difficult circumstances, I was also facing the negative external pressure of my environment that were constantly at my back. Through out my early childhood, it was very discouraging to attempt to communicate with others when you knew no matter how hard you tried that you could not fully articulate the thoughts that were going on in your mind.
    Although I did find solace in the fact that my father’s family is from the Bahamas, so it eased the pain growing up around my cousins and family members who had heavy island accents. When I spent time in the Bahamas as a child it aloud me to live in the moment and forget for that one second of how different I sounded from others in the U.S.
    Thankfully from an early age, we have spearheaded this disability head on. I am very fortunate that I had a large support system to help educate me on my disability and the steps I needed to take to limit its presence on my life.

    Teenage years:

    Fast forward into my teen-age years, I am still constantly battling with the fight of pronunciations of every word that comes out of my mouth. This is where I really began to struggle with all of the pressures facing down on me. When I was a child, I was living in a stage of blissful ignorance of how much this will affect me on a day-to-day level. The years of silence and shyness started to greatly affected my confidence with the ability to interact others due to the years of torment by “Bullies”. Now that I was older I knew that I had to start making a change or I would be consumed from the depression that surrounds this. This is where I found the love of the arts. Since I was unable to accurately articulate what I was thinking in my head verbally, I knew I had to seek other channels of communication, which led me to the arts.
    First I was drawn to Photography since it allowed me to finally be able to bring my visions that I have wanted to tell for years to life. I learned to use photography as the medium to which I am able to tell my story and convey the messages that I am unable to convey through traditional verbal communication.
    Secondly, I was drawn to the Martial Art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is similar to wrestling. I started at the age of 14 and have now been training for over 7 years holding multiple medals from various competitions. The art of fighting and discipline aloud me to learn about my self on a whole another level. The constant pushing my body to the physical and mental limits taught me that if I can endure that type of hardship than some thing simple as a speech impediment would never get in my way again of me reaching my goals. After years of training, it has shifted me from a shy fragile young child to a confident individual who thrives by being an extrovert and making my presence know. I live by this quote below from Rickson Gracie, who’s family were the pioneers of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

    “Where there’s discomfort, there’s fear,” he said. “In these very tough positions, you’re in a little piece of hell. And through this daily suffering, you learn to survive in these situations. You have to find comfort in uncomfortable situations. You have to be able to live in your worst nightmare. Jiu-jitsu puts you completely in the moment where you must have complete focus on finding a solution to the problem. This trains the mind to build that focus, to increase your awareness, your capacity to solve problems. Sometimes, you don’t have to win. You cannot win. But that has nothing to do with losing.”


    Now this is where the years of learning from my failures have resulted into making me into the man that I am today. Once I found my passion for photography, I knew that I could utilize this newfound tool to play a major impact in my life. I was really fortunate to be nationally published multiple times in MudLife magazine for my images at the age of 16, which led me starting my own successful photograph business prior to moving to Orlando. I decided to relocate to Orlando to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Marketing.

    I enjoy marketing since it allows me to bring my imagination to life and the ability to collaborate with peers to develop new ideas while constantly thinking outside of the box. Throughout college I have worked with multiple notable companies within the Orlando region such as Hilton Grand Vacations, Three21 Creative, BIGEYE, REDBULL, CrossFit Country, The Knights Pub, and The Knights Library. Come my graduation from UCF College of Business this December, I seek to find a career in marketing within the specialized outdoors retail industry. Since it will incorporate my love of photography/arts, the outdoors, and learning in a constantly changing environment. My passion is fueled by helping further brand’s development, while creating a unique brand story backed by a comprehensive marketing strategy. I figured after all of these years of trying to figure out of how to tell my own personal story, it is only fitting for me to go into a field where I am helping companies identify the story they are trying to tell and how to help them obtain it.
    I cannot contribute this success to just my self. I can’t even to begin to express how crucial my family and friends have played a roll within being my support system that have always pushed me to keep bettering my self and reaching for the stars. Not only do I have the backing of my family, I have gained a whole another family at UCF from being involved in Sigma Pi Fraternity and Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity. These are Friends that I will hold dear to me for the rest of my life and I can safely say my speech impediment was the catalyst to pushing my self out side of my comfort zone, which led to me flourishing in all aspects of social and academic involvement

    And this is why I will always say I am happy I have failed so many times in my life since the combinations is what led me to the path that I am on. I can not wait to see what the future has in store for me, but I know with every failure comes a great lesion and I know I am ready for this journey.

  11. Brandi Loughry
    Junior- General Business Management – Summer 2017

    Three years ago, I never thought I would be a junior at UCF, let alone heard of the school. During my senior year of high school I planned to go to a high school somewhere up north away from family. I lacked worries because of my confidence for acceptance to any school other than the Ivy League. I took AP classes throughout high school, played soccer and was active in several clubs; even holding a leadership position. During my college search I stumbled across the University of Washington and fell in love. So my plan was to spend the summer with my dad in Florida before flying out to Washington to start in the fall. Unfortunately, my mother was not too keen with all my eggs in one basket so, she strongly insisted that I apply to other schools; which I truthfully did not care for. Then the waiting game began.

    Acceptance letter after acceptance letter came in posing scholarships short of just a grand or two from being a full ride. I held out waiting for my acceptance from the University of Washington. Sadly, that never came. I received a simple letter saying I was rejected. I felt like my life was over. No one in my family seemed to realize that. They consistently told me it was okay and I had other options, but they could not see it. The other schools were not options in my mind because there was only going to University of Washington or not going at all. Not going at all was exactly what I did. High school graduation came and I knew I could not stay in Alabama anymore. Actually, I hated living in Alabama and I did not understand why I could never fit in. Greatly, at the time, my dad was content with me continuing my stay with him during the summer, but only that. For the fall it as my responsibility to figure out what I was going to do. This plan was fair to me so, I could work with this. As the day of graduation came, I packed my bags and from Alabama to Florida I ventured to stay with my dad for a few months.

    The first month in Florida was okay, but it was a burden, at least that is how I felt. I did not have a job so my dad gave me spending money. Also, I did not have a car so I would have to borrow his. In addition, I did not have friends so I just sat at home all day besides daily errands I ran. By the second month, I was getting depressed, I did not know what to do with my life and I felt as a free loader. Towards the end of the summer I got a job being a host at a restaurant. I started to make friends with my coworkers and I thought things could only go uphill from there. I was wrong. The summer ended, I still was not enrolled into college and I did not make enough money to live on my own. Not being enrolled yet and having financial instability prolonged my stay at my dad’s house, which in turn made my step family unhappy. There was tension and I felt uncomfortable. Over the year that I stayed with my dad I was constantly put down. My environment was becoming unhealthy for me mentally and emotionally. Everything I did made them upset to the point where I felt as if I was walking on eggshells and a stranger to what I should be able to call home. I worked at a restaurant so I would come home late causing the dogs to bark when the door opened. I had to borrow the car to go to work which made it so my step sister could not hang out with her friends whenever. My sister would say she was getting picked on by her friends because they saw me at a bar. She would talk about me in front of other family members or her friends in front of me about how I was such a deadbeat and I was not doing anything with my life. I knew I had to get out of there soon, I couldn’t handle crying myself to sleep every night.

    I saved up enough to put a down payment on a car and I asked my dad to co-sign for me. I was fresh out of high school with a single credit card with a limit of $200. My mother couldn’t cosign for me because she had just did it to help older sister get a car. I was so upset and devastated thinking I was never going to get out of my dad’s house. I knew I had to try even though I had only started to build my credit score a few month prior. Going to the dealership was nerve racking, my dad didn’t want to go. Fortunately I met a wonderful lady who was super helpful. She helped me do the process to apply for a loan through a credit union and helped me on the phone to get car insurance. She even took me home which was 45mins away and back to the dealership because my dad needed the car. At the end of the day I was $10,000 in debt but I had a car. I started to spend my time outside of the house and exploring the area. I would spend my days at Panera or Starbucks on the internet or driving to the beach. I did everything possible to stay away from the house so I wouldn’t have to see them. I started to eat out a lot, sleep at friends, or work more. After a few more months I saved up money to move out. At that point the situation at the house was unbearable, I would call my sister or brother crying all the time. I found a room to rent on craigslist with some other college students for cheap. So I packed up all my stuff and moved out, didn’t even tell my dad. I was there one day and gone the next.
    By this time I had my car, a new place to stay and was about to attend college at UCF. I thought life was getting better and I had everything under control. I got my dad to let me use his information so I could apply as in-state student since I was only in Florida for about 9 months at the time. The thing about my dad is that he makes close to a six figure income. So I was only given options to accept loans my first year of college. I had to somehow pay for my first year of college, my car, and pay rent on my own. I expressed this to my dad and he seemed to understand but was only willing to give me $200. That wasn’t even enough to cover books let alone tuition for summer. My mother worked more shifts and sent me care packages so I wouldn’t need to buy house home goods. My sister worked doubles at her job to help put me through my first year of college. My uncle set me money to help pay as well. I felt like a total loser that I needed so much help to get through my first year of living on my own.

    But I now know it was just a rough patch in my life I was thankful to overcome. I receive financial aid and scholarships that help pay for school and rent. I got a job as a bartender which helps cover the rest and I started to build a savings account. I’m set to graduate in less than four years taking more than four classes almost every semester to help minimize school debt. If it wasn’t for that year I experience I think I would have taken college for granted. Thanks to some of my family believing in me I hope to become an entrepreneur opening up several business. Not only is this my dream but this will provide me the means to support them like how they supported me.

  12. Harsh Parekh
    Sophomore Standing
    Failure: A Stepping Stone to Success
    Failure has definitely been a tremendous stepping stone in my life. I have faced this wretched failure all throughout life but one learning experience I have always seen that remains uniform throughout these failures is the prospect of growth. The opportunity to strive for the pinnacle of success has always found its way back into my mindset and that words like “want success more than you want to breathe” have shaped me into the person I am today.
    The first failure I ever experienced was back when I was around 7 years old. I had this learning disability where I couldn’t write nor read properly. I was struggling so much that even in the first grade, my spelling and punctuation was insanely wrong. I was having the toughest time with Math because it was almost like the numbers were playing around with me. The school was on the dire verge of kicking me out. I ended up receiving a ‘D’ in the first grade! It was the worst feeling and I even had a hard time recollecting that while writing this essay. The reason is that I am Indian. So it there is tremendous social pressure on us to perform and be the best in class. I had failed. The second time was quite different. I was now much older and had worked hard to grow academically. But, I still experienced failure.
    It was a stressful year for all the sixty students in my tenth grade class because we were preparing for the tenth grade board examinations. Now, a bit of an overview, these exams are considered to be the toughest set of assessments because of the difficult academic syllabus and the unwanted social pressure to perform well that comes along with it. My teachers, parents and even the annoying next door neighbor all had high hopes for me. I was supposed to be the star studded child to achieve a rank in the top one hundred in the state, a feat that seemed impossible to many. I was burning the midnight oil all throughout the year but lost motivation in the end. It was because I was getting overwhelmed by all the expectations that everyone had of me. I lessened my toil and laid back in the last month before the exams. It was the worst decision I had ever made in my life. I ended up getting only 78% and lost the hard earned respect of all my friends and family. I had failed.
    However, I came here a year ago, to the College of Business at the University of Central Florida. I told myself I was not going to sob about why I didn’t get things right in the past. I was ready to change that failure into a badge of hard work. While attending, I took the GEB 3003 class that all College of Business Administration students had to attempt. I was literally frightened when I heard that 800 students were attempting that class in the Summer of 2016. It was again overwhelming. In the first section of the course we had to attempt a survey. It asked about what my future career prospects and ambitions while at the college. Then came the Welcome to the Majors event. I was dumbfounded by the overwhelming number of people. Then Dean Jarley’s cinematic introduction began. He walked on the stage and started narrowing down the statistics about our GEB class. He went down by those who attempted the survey, to those in Accounting and Finance, to those who had work experience and so on he carried on until he came down to one last name. He announced my name and I was at first awestruck. I actually thought it was a mistake. But, reality settled in and I saw everyone looking at me. Thereafter, I even had lunch with the Dean and talk for an hour! I had finally done something right!
    Therefore, I have greatly understood the importance of failure in my life. I t has been an integral motivator for me throughout these years and has made me into a better person. I have learnt to value things with a much greater extent and have also learnt to work at 100% capacity for everything and anything. I admit I failed but, I know that this failure is a stepping stone to success!

  13. Courtney Chuppe
    Junior Marketing Major

    My failure story does not have a happy ending where I made one mistake, learned from it and got back on the horse. Instead, I have continued to fail. But isn’t that the point of failure? Isn’t that how you learn? Success is the result of overcoming challenges or reaching a goal but it is also the result of failure. So I continue to fail and have not had my big successful victory yet but that is okay because I am still learning and growing everyday.

    I have no experience being a leader and wouldn’t know the first thing about leading a team. I am very good at working hard and doing what I am told as well as going above and beyond what is required of me, but that’s the problem: I am good at being told what to do. My principles of marketing professor, Dr. Massiah, said something inspiring the first day of class this semester. She said something along the lines of “getting good grades in college will only take you so far. The students who get job offers are the ones who have leadership experience because they are the ones who know how to tell others what to do. Those who aced every exam are the ones who are told what to study and do that well, but are not the ones who can say they were the president of the organization they were a part of.” That piece of advice stuck with me since day one because I realized I am that student who aced (almost) all of my exams the last two years of college and had zero leadership experience. That week I searched marketing clubs on campus, found Society For Marketing Professional Services and emailed them about joining the club. After getting a response inviting me to the first meeting of the semester I immediately made up my mind that I was going to make this my new focus. I have never applied to be a part of a club let alone a leader of one because I have always been afraid of the lack of experience that would cause me to fail. But, after hearing from Dr. Massiah I knew that if I wanted to be successful I had to take advantage of the opportunities UCF and the College of Business had to offer and get over that fear. So at the first meeting I dressed professionally, sat in the front, interacted a little bit with the board members and paid close attention to their announcements. Anyone was eligible to join the club and they had three executive board positions open to everyone to apply for, including new members like myself. The Director of Special Events was available and I was surprised at how eager I was to consider applying for the position. The president said that if any of us were interested to see one of the board members after the meeting to get more information. So I did. I knew nothing about the position and what would be required of me but I knew I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and at least speak to them about it. In my mind, I did not care if I went through with the application, I just wanted to take the first step in asking questions because even that is something I had never done before. After learning about the position I decided I would apply and I got an interview. I thought the scary part was overcoming my fear and applying for the position but I was wrong, the hard part was the interview. This was of course my first interview for anything and I wanted to back out. I made excuses like “so many other people are applying for the same position I probably won’t get it so why bother” or “I am so busy with everything else in my life this will only stress me out more” but I forced those excuses out of my head and went through with the interview. I was feeling so confident afterwards; they were friendly, seemed engaged and interested in what I had to say and I thought I had a real chance of getting the position. One week later I got an email saying I was not right for the position but that they hoped I would still be a member of the club.

    I was so proud of myself for attending the meeting, introducing myself and getting information about the positions, applying and going to an interview, then that pride was taken away within one week. It was the strangest feeling because this was my biggest failure in life so far. Yes I have done poorly on tests, or messed up in a dance competition causing us to lose the gold or disappointed my parents on a small level but I had never put myself out there and really wanted to succeed in something only to completely fail. I thought to myself “it’s okay, I will do better next time” but there has not been a next time. There have been plenty of opportunities this semester to apply for internships or meet with my career coach to work on my interview skills but I have allowed the excuses in my head to take over and only I am to blame for that. Until recently I was inactive in trying to find leadership experience opportunities. My sorority is going through elections and I applied for two appointed positions to be selected by my advisors and sorority sisters. I am proud of myself for getting back out there but it took an entire semester to get over that fear of failing. One failure stuck with me for over three months, not letting me try again, which is another failure in itself. I used to believe that failing was a sign of character and that it was bad to fail but in those three months I figured out that it just means you are continuing to learn. Eventually, I tried again and applied for two positions within my sorority. They are still pending.

    I always thought my career and path in life would unfold the way it was suppose to and everything will be okay because it always has but when I got the email saying I was not right for the position I realized not everything is going to work out in my favor just because it has in the past. If I have learned anything from not getting the title of Director of Special Events it is that things do not always work out the way you want them to but it is up to you to decide if you are going to let that hold you back or if you are going to take hold of your own fate and try again. My story does not have a happy ending where I have become incredibly successful as a result of my one failure but rather it is an ongoing story of failing and trying again.

  14. Courtney Confare
    Junior – Marketing

    Failure; it’s something that we can’t avoid, but it is something we can accept and learn from. The biggest failure in life is when we fail not others, but when we fail ourselves.

    Coming from a family who has a background in music, my father wanted this trend to continue with my sister and me. My mother played the cello, my father played the trombone, and my grandfather was the band director at my father’s college. My father wanted both my sister and me to play the trombone as well. We started playing the instruments in middle school and continued doing so in the band program throughout high school. My sister stayed with it all four years of high school. I, however, dropped out after my sophomore year. I didn’t quit because I didn’t enjoy it, or because I wasn’t a capable player. I gave it up because of what I was afraid others thought of me. I was first chair and was friends with everyone in the band as well as outside of the band. But I hated not being able to sit with my other friends from classes in the stands because I would have to go out on the field and perform as part of the half-time show and also perform in the bleachers.

    I was so used to being with my friends and I shied away from anything that took me away from them. I learned that I should have been comfortable in my own skin and comfortable choosing what I wanted to do, not what I was concerned that others would think. I should have not needed the external acceptability, but my own, and I should have been proud of my talent. Playing the trombone was something I truly enjoyed and demonstrated capable skills.

    Having stepped away from it for the duration of my junior year and realizing the foolish mistake I had made, I chose to sign up for the band again for my senior year. I not only upset my father, but I also let the team down as a whole, and more importantly, I let myself down. The other low brass section looked up to me, and the effect of me leaving influenced many others to leave which negatively impacted the band as a whole. My actions impacted others, despite having quit for the wrong reasons. My absence also forced others to work harder since they now had one less instrument and I wasn’t there to guide the freshman. The end result was that I realized I already WAS in my comfort zone. It was recognizing that and accepting it where I had failed.

    During my junior year I still found myself in the band room every morning talking with all my friends and it was a stark daily reminder about how much I missed it and about how big of a role it was in my life. It was a reminder that I missed out on a year of playing with the band and enjoying those times of practice and performance..

    There was another valuable life lesson that I learned from this experience. I learned to understand this whole concept and consciously apply it to my life at those critical moments. If someone doesn’t like me for who I am, then they aren’t worthy of being in my life at all. And the same goes for those who don’t respect the meaningful choices I make to enjoy life and to improve my knowledge and gain experiences. I can now feel comfortable with this knowledge to make choices that are right for me without bearing the burden of worrying what others think, and not let that drive my decision. I risk my own happiness and future when I concern myself with others’ judgments of me rather than simply grabbing the bull by the horns and trusting myself.

    “Expectations are just planned resentments”: I expected that if I quit, then it would be more socially acceptable or that I would look better to other people. I expected it would look “cooler” if I weren’t in band. That was wrong. I should not have carried those expectations because I ended up regretting my decision because of those incorrect preconceived ideas rather than relying on the facts and trusting my instincts.

  15. Honestly, I was not going to enter this competition due to my fear of failure. Ironically, that is the very reason that I am writing. Win or not, I refuse to allow failure or my deepened fear of failure to guide my decision making any longer. My name is Shakera Quince and I admit- I have failed on several accounts. Unsure of which instance to speak about, I decided to let go of my pride and let the truth set me free.
    I am the second child of seven, hailing from the small but beautiful city of West Palm Beach, I was born into a low income family that fights “the struggle” every single day. I and my six sibling were raised with a lack of many basic needs. As I write, I am reminded of the nights that we did not have enough food to keep our stomachs filled, or the days we did not have new clothes to go to school in- instead we wore hand me downs from our good friends and cousins. This alone caused my self esteem to plummet throughout the years. My mother is an entrepreneur, who has owned a beauty salon for nearly 25 years. She is the heartbeat of our family. With seven children and a husband who makes enough income to take a single trip to Walmart for groceries at the end of every two weeks, she has had no choice but to be strong in some of our most trying times. About 2 years ago, we lost our family home after the housing market crashed. I will never forget how hard I fought to be a help for my family and younger siblings. Regardless of how much money was bought home, it was never enough. It brings tears to my eyes as I remember my little brother calling me from home saying the famous words, “I’m hungry.” Every dime of my mothers income was going toward saving our home so we did not have to endure the pain of sleeping outside or in a shelter.
    In the midst of the storm, I was introduced to a network marketing business that I became so passionate about because I knew we needed additional income to live and more importantly to feed the little ones. Each week I attended events to learn and grow the business. I believed that I could be the change that I prayed for each night. I sourced a team and begin planning. I picked up marketing and business related skills because I literally had no choice. My passion to grow my first business venture gave my parents and siblings hope. We thought, “maybe we could strike it rich and never have to struggle again” but it was not so simple. It seemed like the more money and time spent working on the project- the deeper hole our family home was falling into. I knew nothing about starting a business, I was beyond uncomfortable hosting meetings and attempting to get others to be as passionate as I was. No one knew why I worked so hard. No one knew of the battle that I was fighting on the inside. No one will ever understand the pain of your best not being enough. After several months, I realized that I had failed my siblings, my mother, and myself. I thought joining a business was suppose to help but it didn’t. After receiving the call that my mother had been outside for hours pleading to the the police officers not to throw all of out things out, my hands were tied- I dropped to my knees and begin to pray. It was the only fight I had left in me.
    Fast forward to today, I and three of my siblings are enrolled in universities. On December 17th @ 8:00 am, I will be the first of seven children to graduate from an accredited university with a degree in Business Management. I manged to use the lessons of my failed business venture to start what is known today on UCF’s campus as The Linen Project. Myself and my team collects sheets, blankets, towels, and wash cloths and donate them to our unfortunate neighbors. To anyone who reads this remember: FAILURE IS NOT FINAL. Failure is this key to growth and adventure. I was not able to help my family as much as I would have liked, but I was able to acquire the knowledge, skills, abilities, and heart to start an organization that helps 1000’s of other families like my own. Failure divinely places one in the position to learn. I have learned to embrace my shortcomings because I know that no matter what, I have five younger siblings watching to see my response to adversity, rejection, and failed attempts.

    “Failure is food for the soul.” – Shakera Quince

  16. Divina Rayos
    Senior Economics – Fall 2017

    Sumner Redstone wrote “Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes its built on catastrophe.” Catastrophe’s plagued my life mid fall of last year.

    I transferred to the University of Central Florida last fall from Pensacola State College. I came to UCF in pursuit of a degree in Finance and I had no thought of failure. My life was going great, I made friends rather quickly, I got an internship from my very first career fair, everything seemed to be falling in place and the world felt like mine for the taking.

    All my successes slowly started to fade in a few short months. After all my new achievements something very personal happened to me. I became clinically depressed and was diagnosed with paranoia, I started to go to a therapist who eventually prescribed me with two forms of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs. I hit a low in my life and found myself withdrawing from both school and work. Then I got a call from my mom telling me my stepdad was in the hospital because he had a heart attack and they were about to preform an emergency surgery. I couldn’t believe it; he was only 40 years old. The depression and anxiety literally started to engulfed me. I hardly left my room, I couldn’t go to class and everything I worked so hard for was slipping away right before my eyes.

    My internship was for a staffing company in Winter Park but the cold calling started to get the best of me. I would get very angry customers throughout the day that slowly started to affect me. I thought I was a tough person but having multiple people a day angry at you makes you feel like such a failure. Their words stuck with you and I couldn’t take it anymore with everything I was going through. I ended up quitting my internship and I tried to drop my harder classes but the school wouldn’t allow me. I did my best and tried hard to get the grades I needed but I couldn’t do it and my near 3.5 GPA turned to a 2.4 GPA in the span of two semesters. I fought hard to try and stay my major but the college of business didn’t allow it. My dreams were crushed, I failed and nobody cared. When I talked to Margaret Dann from the Professional Development Office she told me “It doesn’t matter what your degree is in.” I already felt like such a failure failing Finance twice, now I had a choice to make take Integrated Business or Economics.

    After months of fighting to continue my degree in Finance I gave up and took a degree in Economics. Things in my personal life are starting to come together and I’ve started to piece my life together. My stepdad is healthy again and I’m starting to find my own peace in life. I’ve taken up a new hobby in journalism to help with my anxieties and decided short after to pick up the minor. I just applied to the Dow Jones News Fund and will be hearing back in mid-December to see if I’ve made it. I’ve learned to deal with my anxiety and found new joys in my life.

  17. Hanxiao Chen- MSAccounting
    Failure is inevitable on the way to success.
    I never worry about or scare of failing doing something. Because every time I think of the long-term effect the failure brought when I fail. I find out that, this time, this failure, is just a small part of my whole life. It’s only a small stone that tripped me off when I am on my way to my dreams and goals.
    I grow up with failing again and again. But let me share the recent big failure I had. The most recent big failure I had here was an academic failure, which affected me a lot.
    As you can see, I am international student. Living here in a foreign country is definitely a great challenge for me. I came from the mysterious eastern Asia, which has a totally different culture background. Going abroad was a big and important decision I made in my life. I am always out of my comfort zone when I am here.
    I went to University of Tampa to pursuit my graduate degree two years ago. I was majored in accounting during my undergrad period. But I switched to finance major when attend the graduate courses.
    When I first came here, I wasn’t aware of the rules and grading system in America. And how teachers want students to perform in classes. I was not talkative when I was in Tampa because I think my English is not good enough. I barely made friends with other people. Also, I failed academically because I only have 2.7 GPA. One part of the reason I failed was I never spoke in class. Another reason I failed was I thought American universities were the same as Chinese universities. I thought as long as I got 60/100. I can pass. I didn’t know that earning a C can make you fail academically here.
    In China, it is disrespectful to speak and discuss your own thoughts in class. We never speak in class unless the teacher called someone and asked the student to speak. So, when I was in class here. I felt really annoyed that everyone kept talking all the time and it was really an awkward feeling for me. Also, college life in China is all about relaxing, social life and leisure. We don’t put our heart on study too much and we don’t need to worry about our exam. Because we can graduate easily with each course get 60/100. If all your courses scores at 60, you can pass all the courses and 4 years later you can graduate. Sounds very easy, right? After college, I felt really lazy and don’t feel like I can still be a hard working person. And we don’t grade with ABCD. So, I wasn’t aware of the difference. And continue to live a relax graduate student life here. I scored 80 or 75. I felt I did great.
    Eventually, I failed and the result of this academic failure is that I had to leave this country and I can’t continue to study to get my degree. It was really a huge failure and I was affect by it deeply. All my family members gave me negative responses and gave me advice that I should not continue to pursuit a master’s degree. I lose all my confidence. But I still think I have the chance to try to apply a master’s program again.
    Then, I got accepted by UCF MSA program and another university in Oregon which provide me $20000 scholarship one year for MBA program. So I wasn’t that bad. I can still succeed. I’m so glad UCF give me another chance. It is a new beginning and a new born for me.
    It took me a long time to adjust to American teaching methods and now I am doing fine. Still I don’t feel like to speak in class. But I do try to speak as much as I can. I made friends here and my grades are ok so far.
    Making mistakes. Learn from mistakes and failure. Fail again and again. And learn from your failure. Be inspired by it. Growing up with it. But most importantly, never give up.

  18. Victoria Eaves
    General Business Class of 2016
    Capstone Section 0018
    Instructor: Chris Stein

    It has taken me a decade to get my Bachelor’s degree but I finally made it. Suffice it to say, there were some failures along the way. When I lived in Kentucky, I came into my former university as a Business Management major. Two weeks in, per suggestion of their assistant dean, I switched to Finance. I was told it would be more lucrative, just prior to the recession. After my first year of core coursework, I took an International Finance class and got to currency exchange and formulas, and no matter how long I studied, I did poorly on the exams. I failed.

    I switched to Accounting, as I had done well in my beginner classes. I had received a letter from the university the semester prior to expressing the need to increase my GPA or I would be dropped from the business school. I felt a fire lit under me and started a student organization there; and I went to networking/ recruiting events for large accounting firms. I studied as much as I could. I got to the 2nd Intermediate Accounting class and no matter how hard I worked; I couldn’t get a passing grade on the exams. I failed again and this time I withdrew from all of my courses.

    I cried that night I withdrew, calling my parents telling them I felt like a failure. I spent time researching my next move. I decided to try to work at a Marriott and see how I liked hotels. I worked there and within a couple of months, decided on going back to school in Hospitality Management. I looked up schools with top programs and it was between UCF and UNLV. The desert landscape didn’t appeal to me in Las Vegas, so I worked for a year and a half to save up enough money to move down to Florida on my own and go to the Rosen School. I had relatives at the space coast, but nobody else was there. I found a room for rent online, met the future roommate via Skype and prayed for the best.

    I got to Florida and established residency and I got a job a luxury hotel within a week of moving. I then started school as soon as I could. Since my GPA was in a dire state from the first university, so I went to Valencia first and then transferred to UCF. The summer before the first semester at Valencia, it happened, I met someone and they turned my life upside down. I had gotten into what turned quickly into a very unhealthy relationship and had to fight to maintain grades. I switched back to Business Management so I could graduate sooner and lost interest in the hospitality industry the longer I worked in it.

    One semester while at UCF, my grades slipped, immensely. That semester my boyfriend at the time, moved in with me. It took a quite a toll on me, especially psychologically. I had no hope, no worth, and no joy. I feared I would not only fail out of college but also commit suicide. I had an exam one day on campus and had no time to study. I had the last straw. I called his mom and said I would fail out of school. She told me to move on and never look back and that I had come too far to let him turn my life into rubble. I went to campus, crammed for an hour and passed the exam, by the grace of God. I almost failed and literally almost lost everything.

    I ran fast and far away from the relationship, I switched jobs and moved to the coast to be with my mom. I moved from being part-time to a full-time student and since then have gotten on the Dean’s List most semesters. I am VERY proud of myself. I have faced A LOT of adversity, but in my heart, I knew how badly I wanted that degree. I cry as I write this as you only know briefly my struggles. I am a warrior woman and know that through what I have faced, I can conquer anything!

  19. As I look back at my four year of running cross country one thing my couch would say still echoes in my mind, “The only thing stopping you from running at your full potential is your mind, when your body says no your mind says go”. That was a common running mantra that was used to keep my teammates and I from giving up on ourselves during races when we felt like giving up. Maybe I did not ever meet my full running potential and that was because one of my biggest failures was not ever fully believing in myself and not fighting for what I wanted. My parents always believed that I could beat every one of my teammates in a race, I just did not think I could because they had always been faster than me. In the past I have been given opportunities that I did not take advantage of such as internships, development for a promotion, I did not push hard enough for certain things and I am trying to learn from it and change that about myself.
    I am a transfer student in my first semester at the University of Central Florida. If I look at my college career like running a mile on a track which is four laps, I have already finished my first two laps at a community college and they were easy. Right now, I am at the first half of my third lap and it is difficult and I am trying to catch my breath. When I started this fall semester at UCF I had very high expectations for myself because I was and still am striving for perfection. I am pursuing a degree in Accounting which is a very competitive degree program here at UCF that has high expectations for students. I chose to go to UCF because I wanted to challenge myself mostly because in high school I was afraid of going somewhere new and I also wanted to take advantage of every opportunity that the largest school in the nation has to offer its students.
    Before starting this semester, I was warned about transfer shock and how one of the classes I was taking was going to be difficult and that many students fail to succeed in it. So, when I failed my first accounting test it was an eye opener for me. I had not put in the necessary amount of time and effort needed to pass that exam and it showed. I thought minimal study habits that had worked in the past would be enough and it was not. Many of my peers said maybe it was not the right track for me and I should just withdraw and change majors. I did not want to give up that easily so I reevaluated myself and revamped my studying technique. I did tremendously better on the next exam and even if I was not yet at my goal my hard work shown on that exam. I am implementing those same techniques as well taking advantage of the free tutoring labs on campus. I thought I would beat transfer shock but it did affect me.
    I recently found out that I did not get one of the internships I applied for but it is not the end of the world. I used to not apply for internships because I did not believe that I would have any chance at getting it. That disbelief in myself was holding me back so when I got to UCF I decided to apply to as many as I could that I met the requirements for so that I could get the experience that I needed. I started using resources that I had and got different people to review my resume and cover letters so that I could have a strong representation of myself. I went to the internship and career fairs to learn what type of experiences are being offered to students and how I could apply for them. I know that I can go to the different clubs or see my career coach to help me make my resume better for the next internship I apply for and practice mock interviews. I am still working hard to land an internship but I am working hard to do it.
    It took some time for me to realize how I had been failing myself and how much I was holding myself back. I learned that I did not want to hold myself back from being successful anymore, I wanted to be the best version of myself. If I want to be able to reach that version of myself I have to keep working hard and believe in myself and the fact that I will reach that goal. I did not wake up overnight and suddenly feel successful I am working towards that. This third year, this third lap is tough but I can succeed and I am already trying to better myself so that I can graduate with a degree in Accounting and start my career. Failing will only hold you back if you let yourself give up and I have not given up.

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