Yup, you read that right. Sometimes failures are fun. But they are also scary and hard to deal with. Something I am going to start doing here is interviewing people and talking about their failures with them. Because in the end, failures make us the people we are today and can be a source of knowledge for someone else. And that’s the hope: that here at “It’s a Joss Thing” it’s not just about me, even if it seems like it. It’s about sharing stories that help you in your journey.
So without further ado, here’s my own interview about my failures.
What would I consider some of my biggest failures?
The two that come to mind are college admissions and being the president of my sorority.
When I was in high school, I knew I was part of the the top 10% of seniors in my class. And I had really high hopes for college. I also wanted to get out of my hometown. So I applied to really good schools that were far from home, like UC Berkeley, Stanford and even Princeton. My parents convinced me to apply to some closer schools in Southern California, just to have a good selection of schools. When it came time to find out if I had gotten into all of these schools, I was in for a shock. I applied to about eight schools and only got accepted into two schools: UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton. Both of which, were schools that I considered my “back ups”. I was so crushed. I started analyzing everything that I had sent to the schools and wondered why I would have gotten denied. And I cried. A lot. My dream of getting the hell away from my hometown was crushed.
My second failure is when I quit my sorority even though I was the president. I was actually really excited about it, believe it or not. I was so excited when I was elected. I had big dreams and was ready to roll my sleeves up and get work done to help my college home flourish. But when it came to it, I was in over my head. Unfortunately, I was one of the few girls that did most of the work in the chapter. And it sucked. Every week I would break down and cry in my car after meetings because everyone had something to say about what was going wrong in the chapter. I would tell people that this isn’t just a one person job and in the end not many listened. It did get better for a while. But in the beginning of the last quarter, I had to step down as president. Not because of them, but because I was no longer happy. I had sacrificed so much of the things I stood by and I was honestly tired.
What is something you do when you are being hit with failure again and again without anything positive happening?
I’m very lucky to have a really great group of friends and a supportive family and especially in these times I depended on them. My own parents have not only been supportive but they’ve been the ones who keep my head on my shoulders. They reminded me, in both situations, that I did the best that I could. And that the way to get through these tough moments was to work through it.
As for my friends, I asked for a lot of love and support. All of them knew how big of a deal each situation was for me and they reminded me that I was still pretty awesome. Seriously I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such awesome friends. They are always there to remind me that I am great.
How did you move on from these failures?
Honestly, I have no idea. The college admissions, or lack thereof, really took a lot out of me. I didn’t really want to make a decision, but I knew I had to. And as other people got accepted to their schools of choice, it just felt really shitty to know that I didn’t. Eventually, I had to learn to be excited for the next part of my life instead of being upset about it.
When I stepped down, I had to take care of myself mentally, physically and emotionally. I reminded myself all the time that there was nothing wrong for taking care of myself and that everything was going to be okay. I can’t even say that I’ve completely moved on from stepping down from presidency. I still feel really guilty about it. Like there was more that I could’ve done or said. But like I said, my friends and family remind me that I did all that I could and that I’m still a good person.
How did these failures affect you in the moment?
I was just really beside myself. And I thought it was the end of my world. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t. A friend of mine asked me if I had ever fallen into depression or thought of self harm because of them. And a lot of the reason I didn’t was because I had people around me that really supported, loved and encouraged me in the healing process. I also have seen some shit and I did not want to follow that path. My will power to focus on the positive was really helpful. But at the time it was really hard. I had my fair share of bad days where I wasn’t able to do anything. Those were the hardest days to work through.
How did you not lose or question your faith in times of failure?
I identify as Catholic, if you didn’t know. But when I was dealing with my college admissions, I was teaching at my local church. And I had a really supportive team that reminded me that everything that happened was meant to happen. It’s something that I tell myself a lot now too. That everything happens for a reason. They also reminded me that the college denial letters didn’t change anything about me. That I was still smart and worth it.
When I stepped down, I had all of my new church friends (from the church close to my college) supporting me. They especially saw me grow throughout the years and even saw the toll being in the sorority took on me. So they also reminded me that this was meant to happen. I also prayed a lot about these two failures a lot. I eventually found this quote and I remind myself of this all the time.
How have these failures changed or effected who you are now?
Well, needless to say, had I not been denied from all those universities and not chosen UC Riverside, I would not have meet my new church friends and become a part of my sorority. All of those friends and connections I made are honestly the reason I am who I am today. I cannot imagine my life without them. They, and the university, have thought me so much and it’s part of the reason why I’m doing what I’m doing.
If I had not stepped down, I might not be doing this blog. Or focusing on my health. I also started prioritizing myself. All the things I would tell people about taking care of themselves or how they should do what makes them happy can’t fall on deaf ears anymore. Because I was a hypocrite for a while.
If you were to give yourself advice as to how to handle these failures, what would it be?
I would want to tell myself that these failures are just a platform to jump off of. In both cases, something great has come out of it. And it got so easy to see things as the end of the world, but it was not the case. I would also tell myself that the way I was feeling is valid. Sometimes we forget to let ourselves feel whatever it is that we are feeling and I would want to tell myself that it’s okay to cry.
Do you have anything else that you would want to ask? Any burning questions? Let me know and maybe I’ll answer them in a different post. If you want to be part of this project, let me know. Or if you have someone you would like to see interviewed, tell me! I’ll do my best to make it happen.