Have you ever worked for something for so long just to have it stripped away from you in the end? Sometimes, it takes failure for students to get a wake up call or even inspiration for another idea.
Andrew David Thaler has a pretty amazing story about how he bounced back from failing in graduate school. Read his article, The Importance of Failure in Graduate Student Training. Thaler discusses that you should not be so naive to think that you will never make mistakes. In other words, expect that you will fail somewhere along your graduate journey. However, the point of failure is not to dwell in it and give up. When you hit a bump in the road, you will learn much more by continuing and finding the silver lining. A main thing that you want to understand is that the mistake will probably lead you to answers that you would not have reached if everything had gone perfectly.
In another article, The Top 10 Most Memorable Lessons and Things I Learned In Grad School, the author, whose username is ryan the grad student, discusses that one of the most valuable lessons he learned while in grad school was how to recover from failure. I like the points that he made about how the mistakes he made and the criticisms he received only helped him learn and become a better student, researcher, and writer. When he would run into issues of perceived failure, he found that they actually helped him prepare much better for the real world than anything that would go smoothly.
So what should you do to avoid being too hard on yourself with criticisms and other perceived failures? Read Katy Meyers’ article on Finding Joy in Failure to understand strategies in turning negativity into learning processes. Meyers actually provides a step-by-step guide of how you should approach situations in which you feel like a failure.
In the end, instead of only seeing the negative in your ‘failures,’ begin understanding where learning opportunities are in your circumstances. And as always, refer back to PhDStudent’s articles about succeeding in graduate school so that you don’t become discouraged when you hit a bump in the road.