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Essay – Failure: Never Let a Hard Time Humble Us

Jade Flint, Culture Editor

“[The man] who at the worst, if he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory not defeat.” TEDDY ROOSEVELT, 1910

The beginning of May naturally signals a visual manifestation of the dark times of winter transforming our landscape into a lush wonderland of growth and beauty. We are also met with the joyous celebration of graduation season. Social media feeds are undulated with stacks of accomplishments seniors have accumulated. People are announcing their pregnancies and engagements at a seemingly higher rate than months prior. We all rejoice in their success and raise them up in the praise they are deserving of.

But what about those who don’t graduate in the four years we are supposedly prescribed? What about those without full time offers secured after graduation? What about those who are still trying to conceive and feeling the immense pressure of having not done so? What about those still waiting for that perfect significant other? How are we struggling to grapple with what we perceive as failure?

It is so easy (and boosts our own fragile egos) to share our joys with the world. It feels good to have your hard work and dedication acknowledged by others. However, our failures are much more important and teach us more about ourselves than any success ever will.

This past school year in its entirety has been a STRUGGLE that I could have never imagined. My mental health was in shambles, but on the outside, I could not have been better. Everything I wanted to accomplish at Howard: I did. Plus some. I wrote things down and manifested them through prayers and moving with intention. I felt invincible. As I geared up for second semester, I just knew I would be met with the same fortune.

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I researched summer opportunities and readied my resume, cover letters, and applications with vigor. I applied to a curatorial internship at the Crystal Bridges Museum and was accepted to my excitement. However, I still haven’t heard from my other opportunities so I was forced to make the difficult decision to decline.

Fast forward to my rejection at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Then at National Museum of African Art. Next Archives of American Art and Leadership Alliance. My last hope was Portland Art Museum, and as of this morning, I can kiss that dream goodbye too. The initial shock was devastating, and my first instinct was to call my Mummy to cry about my continuing string of misfortune.

I moped for maybe ten minutes while I scrolled down my Instagram timeline to distract myself from the tears that were sure to come. My finger accidentally slipped to my own story, and I was reminded of a Nipsey Hussle Interview I reposted this morning for some daily inspiration for others. Not knowing, it would be just what I needed to hear.

“Never let a hard time humble us. Cause the game is gonna test you. Its up’s and down’s. You gotta be who you are at all times. It’s a principle to live by.”

Whatever your current struggle is, whether it be failing to land your dream internship or failing to graduate on time, failing is only a temporary state. Those with the greatest amount of success are those ever willing to fail. Ever willing to pivot. Ever willing to be wrong.  Ever willing to learn. Those who swallow their pride, ego and expectations and allow themselves to be rejected because those moments are where the greatest explorations and discoveries lie.

Resilience is all that matters. Pushing past the hurt and continuing to find that inspiration. That Spark. To drop your expectations and keep changing your approach until something sticks.

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