By: Katherine Morrison, President
College is a time for learning and growing. As college students, we’re challenged with new experiences and obstacles on a daily basis. We enjoy celebrating our successes but many of us, myself included, tend to shy away from our failures and ignore them. However, it’s incredibly important to look at our failures and experiences and learn from them instead.
My grandma once told me that the most important thing in life is to “fail forward.” It’s a common fact that we’re going to fail at some time in our life, but using that failure to learn from our mistakes and push forward to our ultimate goal is indeed possible. So, with that being said, here are the top three things I’ve learned from “failing forward:”
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback after rejection
Getting rejected can be hard. Whether it be a sports team, part-time job or your dream internship, rejection is tough to handle and we’ve all been there at times. Many people tend to get the news of rejection and just move on to the next application or opportunity. However, don’t be afraid to reach out to the supervisor or the person you were corresponding with and ask about the areas that you can improve upon. This past spring, I applied for my dream PR internship and ended up getting rejected in the end. After receiving the rejection, I e-mailed the woman I had been corresponding with, in regards to my application and asked if she had any advice on areas I could improve upon. She emailed me back impressed that I would ask for advice and gave me feedback on how I could better position myself for the future when applying again.
2. Always keep up with your craft
As college students, we all have different interests and areas that we feel our passions and talents lay. It’s important to recognize those talents and try to keep up with them as often as possible. If you enjoy writing, why not start a blog? Are you interested in designing flyers or advertisements? There are a ton of classes and lessons available on Adobe InDesign or Photoshop for you to learn from. Many of us tend to dabble in different areas in order to be well rounded (which certainly isn’t a bad thing) but ultimately crafting and developing a certain skill or passion that you have might just lead you to your dream career.
3. Read everything you can
As a student studying communications, it’s important to keep up with the latest news and events that are unfolding in the world. However, it’s equally important to expand our reach and read anything we can to further develop our knowledge. I personally enjoy reading biographies and stories about the lives of others; there is always a lesson I can take away and implement into my own life after reading about another person’s experiences. Betsy Plank, dubbed as the first lady of public relations, once said, “After looking at impressive resumes and portfolios, my favorite question always was ‘and besides from a textbook, what’s the latest book you’ve read?’ It was greeted by instant panic.” So, grab a book from your local library and start reading. If you need any suggestions, check out my list of the Top 3 Must-Reads for Aspiring PR Professionals.
In the end, it’s important to remember that we all experience failure at some point in our lives. However, failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of success. So, in the words of my grandma, go ahead and “fail forward.”