July 7, 2018

Failure, Failing, Failed | Crisis Management

Failing happens to everyone, but for some reason, we only focus on the triumphs and achievements of others. It's as if it was so traumatic, that we never want to talk about it. Well, let's talk about processing those horrible moments that we all face.

So there you are, sitting in shock. It just happened and yeah it totally sucks. Now is the time when you shouldn't make any big decisions. Now is not the time to finalize ANYTHING. For god's sake, please, please don't start writing emails. I failed an exam once and immediately wrote my professor a 1500-word email about how the exams were unnecessary difficult and ridiculously vague. Oh, did I mention I called my professor's teaching style dull and simplistic? Yes, I was livid, and I SENT that email! There I was, fuming. I worked my ass off and studied for seven straight days. I did the assigned reading. I went to all the voluntary discussions and study groups. I did everything and for what? For a 72?! A 7-2?! Oh yes, your girl was livid. And my emotions poured into that email which obviously wasn't a smart move. There are many reasons why we don't pass an exam or course. Exams are moments in time, flashes of your education. Some days are better than others. Exams don't determine intelligence. Exams are milestones and set points. Don't give them too much power. So, you failed an exam or a class? It's now time to feel. Feel the grossness and the disgust of the moment. Roll around in it and sulk but do not act in this state, this isn't the time to be making decisions and letting people know how you feel. Embrace the lame. Take bath or shower and just let the sadness do what it does.

Alright, now that all your feelings are out there and they have been processed, it's now time to find out what the hell happened. Usually, I request an exam review or ask to speak to my professor about what happened. I do this AFTER 24 hours have passed, and my emotions aren't as raw. The goal is to find out what happened. You can't work on something or fix a weakness if you don't know what the problem is. I know, it's hard to realize you aren't perfect. We immediately get defensive, but you have to find out what you need to work on for this event to have value. If you ignore this step, it might repeat itself. For example, I failed the electrolytes exam during my ASN program. I was annoyed about my grade, so I passed on the exam review and just kept it moving. During my MSN program, I also did poorly on the electrolytes exam as well. Is it a coincidence? Oh no, the same problem repeated itself because it wasn't reviewed initially. This time though, I did my exam review (during my MSN program) and found the problem. Having an hour conversation with my professor opened my eyes to the areas I wasn't properly grasping. It's hard to seek assistance when you're pissed, but it has to be done. You must remain calm, now isn't the time for blame. It's time for learning. Learn from this event.

Okay, you had a crisis, reviewed the event with the appropriate parties, and now it's time to move on. You can't allow yourself to dwell on it. If you failed an exam, there is probably another exam right around the corner. You must move on and start worrying about the next challenge. If you failed a course, its now time to see what options you have and what your next move needs to me. What's done is done, you can't change the event's outcome, but you can continue to reach your goals, and that means you need to keep looking forward and planning. That doesn't mean dismissing the entire encounter altogether. It merely means you need to move forward emotionally. This is the hardest part for me, as I dwell and fixate on what I could have done. Obviously, this isn't helpful or productive. You have to make yourself move on from this. This isn't the end, it's just a bump in the road.

We can't expect to be experts on something we are studying to become. There will be fails or near misses. I had many, and I'm still standing (for the most part). As I said before, an exam or event doesn't define who you hare and doesn't determine what you are capable of. It's your hard work and dedication that determines that.