Failure Finalist 3: Tommy Pastor

In high school, I knew UCF was my dream school. I applied, and thankfully I was accepted. I was then also invited to join the LEAD Scholars Academy and the Burnett Honors College.

I decided to not commit to joining the Burnett Honors College, but I did decide to accept a position as a member in the LEAD Scholars Academy.

From this opportunity, many others came up. I applied, and each one lead to success.

I applied to be a part of the SGA Student Government Leadership Council (SGLC) and was accepted and later moved into the Executive Leadership Council where I worked with executive officers on different initiatives and events. When I was in this program, there was a position as Relay for Life Captain that my 60 peers within the program unanimously voted for me to serve as.

I applied to be a Resident Assistant and Orientation Team Leader. I was told from the start, that I couldn’t do both, but I was determined and was offered both positions and accepted both.

All of these successes made me feel very determined and eager to do more. I decided to run for an executive position in SGA, which ended up being my first “no” or failure at UCF, and the first big failure in my life really. I then decided to possibly go through the Orientation Team process again as a Student Orientation Coordinator, but also was not given the position, resulting in another “failure”, or so I thought.

Confused, lost, and losing motivation, I didn’t know what to do to keep me engaged and busy. But then one day, I saw a flyer that has already changed my life so much.

I was on Facebook, which I try to stay away from and not spend too much time on, but an online flyer caught my eye.

It was for recruitment events for a business professional fraternity, which I have come to know and love as, Delta Sigma Pi.

I went to my first recruitment event, which was an info session about the fraternity. I told my fellow friend and RA coworker about it and he came too. In that moment, I decided I had made the right choice because the speakers were warm and welcoming and talked about many opportunities that the fraternity had for professional development and more.

I came out to every recruitment event afterward, and convinced another friend to come out as well, and truly enjoyed talking with the brothers and faculty initiates I had met through the process.

Little would I know then that I would be given a bid to pledge for the fraternity. Not only that, but I would become the pledge class president of the Epsilon Theta pledge class.

On top of that, I would grow so close with 20 other students in the College of Business that had been selected to pledge the fraternity. I would be given a big that was always there for me and supported me throughout the entire process, and be placed in a family/brotherhood that truly cared and inspired me to always strive to be the best version of myself.

During recruitment I had many friends at UCF, but not many in the college of business. Deciding to pledge this fraternity connected me with many incredible students in the college of business.

I was also given the opportunity to interview faculty and get to know professors that I will be having in my future courses.

I learned how to network and become more professional in a variety of ways. I revamped my LinkedIn and began renovating my resume and elevator pitch.

My eyes were opened. I had finally found a permanent niche here at UCF that felt like home, with people that feel like family. I had found some of my now best friends who support me and are literally the types of friends I had always dreamed of.

The lesson that can be learned from my story, can be summed up by its title “Failure Leads to a Better Future”. That’s right. Something that feels like a failure in the moment, can lead to a path that was much better for yourself than you could have ever imagined. Remember to learn from failures, and stay focused and determined that the best is yet to come. Some of the greatest leaders and successful people that come to our minds endured many failures to get where they were, and now I can see why. You gain more from failure than you will ever gain from any success.

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