Disappointment, and failure, are a part of life. They are things that cannot be avoided without also avoiding great moments. This week, I encountered my first scholastic failure since becoming a student here at the GSE. I was tasked to write a paper on an instrument; I had the option of working within the group but thought that I’d have a more fulfilling time if I was able to create the entire thing myself. I set out on this journey, collecting sources, finding development notes, eventually writing the paper. It was only ten pages in length, but coming from a background in math I hadn’t had much experience writing anything of a significant length. I put in a total of maybe an hour per page, and finished two weeks before the assignment was due. I was content and confident when I submitted it.

I received a B-. I had misunderstood the expectations and written something tangentially but not exactly what was asked for. My confidence took a hit, for sure. There was a lump in my chest, but I’d been in similar situations before. I failed when I was a kid and that’s how I got into my high school. I failed a lot as a teenager too, once when I first started my AP Chemistry course I got a 13% on an exam. But I eventually passed my AP exam with a 5. I failed right into college and failed there too. I never got as low as a 13% again, but there were still rough days. I’m still not meeting all my expectations now, and I don’t think that will be changing anytime soon. Hopefully one day I’m old and retired, and I’m still picking new things to fail at.

When I was younger, I didn’t have the context to know what I do now; failure is a part of growth. On this next paper, I’ll have a better understanding of what’s expected and I’d bet I won’t get a B.