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Teach us to  persevere or teach us to fail

Teach us to persevere or teach us to fail

By Talia Floyd

It was right around this time last semester, a little earlier, that I decided I wasn’t going to drop that Spanish 102 course. My midterm grades were abysmal, mostly due to spending too much time staring at my screen as if by the power of vision the complexity of verb tense would be transferred to my head, instead of studying, or playing doge 2048.
Long story short I failed the course. Some of you might say “If you just tried harder…” and you are right.
If I had put in all my effort, I could have scrounged up a passing grade. But that isn’t what happened and I knew on some level that, while not impossible, passing was highly unlikely. I should have dropped it for the sake of my GPA, for the sake of my other courses, for the sake of my mental health which, at the time, felt like being the conductor in a slow motion train wreck.

We are taught that giving up is the most great grievance, that it is always in our best interests to persist even when the odds are not in our favor. The little engine that could is the hero of the story but not for asking for help, reaching out to his support network and admitting that it might be safer not to chug chug chug up that hill. He is the hero not because he tried to work on his own despite exhaustion and pain and stress. He is the hero because ultimately he succeeds. It would be a very different story if that little engine got halfway up the hill and found that “thinking you can” and “actually being able to” are different. It wouldn’t be nearly as neat of an ending if the engine found himself at the bottom of the hill with damaged and likely expensive cargo, wondering what he was going to tell his boss.
Some people learned to take failure gracefully but some have to jump through elaborate hoops of shame and guilt in order to admit we need to quit. It isn’t until we are cornered that we finally give up. Sometimes the ideal scenario is no longer within reach and in those cases we learn to make hard choices. Learning from failure is just as valuable as learning from success and learning is (ostensibly) what college is about.

So drop the class if you need to. Reflect on why you felt you needed to. Ask for help. Counseling, academic services, your adviser, all of these resources exist to help you stay on track; use them. Figure out what you need to do better.  Move forward.

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