Failing Forward: A student’s Perspective
Jacob Finke wrote this article for the Olin Blog on November 27, 2017.
Failing… sucks. Whether it’s failing a class, failing to meet new people on your first-year floor, or failing to connect with a professor, feeling inadequate is one of the worst feelings in the world.
Fear of failure makes it that much harder to leave your comfort zone. It’s uncomfortable to start from square one and join a new club or friend group, where everyone else seems to be one step ahead of you. It’s hard when people throw around complex terms or concepts in casual conversation, and they’re all going over your head. One bad experience can set you back for months, afraid to take another chance.
But it’s only by putting yourself out there, asking stupid questions, and failing that we can stumble upon some great opportunities. For me, the great opportunity was Bear Studios.
When I first came to WashU, I tried to branch out and suffered (more than) a couple of setbacks.
I faked my way through the spring rush process for one of WashU’s business fraternities, only to be cut in the final round. My pride was hurt. I was ready to throw in the towel on business and move forward with my Arts & Sciences education, shutting the door on a huge realm of possibilities.
But then somebody introduced me to Peter Delaney (BA’18, Global Health), the co-founder and a director of Bear Studios. And Peter welcomed my stupid questions; he met me halfway. Peter and the team didn’t throw around esoteric terms—they explained them.
This is my advice—my plea, really—for student groups: Meet your new members where they’re at. Don’t call out the first-year student huddled in the corner of your general body meeting. Walk up to them after the meeting and engage in a meaningful way. Welcome the stupid questions, allow new members to grow, and foster that sense of curiosity.
I have been with Bear Studios since March. I’m still asking stupid questions, and I’m still learning on the job. But I think that’s the point: I am learning.
My advice for the Class of 2021 would be to fail. Branch out. You’re an engineering student? Take a history class. IAS (International and Area Studies) major like me? Look into some of the Olin student groups. Take some Sam Fox classes. Get outside your comfort zone and fail a little.
It’s not so bad after all.
At Bear Studios our mission is to empower problem solvers. We leverage top quality talent from Washington University in St. Louis to provide our client businesses with impactful and game-changing solutions. Since our foundation in 2014, we have worked with over 100 businesses across the country. These companies have gone to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in seed funding, partner with global industry leaders in their respective fields, and change the world. If you are a small business owner, hoping to take a break from the ‘safe’ and start your own business or looking to improve your services, send us a note and ask for your free consultation today.