A Variety of Ways to Fail at SRU

Published by Heather Donat, Date: May 2, 2019
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Like most young adults, I can remember a time when I had no idea where I was headed. Reflecting on my senior year of high school, I remember the dreaded, ‘What are you going to be when you grow up?’ question, and as I prepare for my very last week of school, likely ever, I am happy knowing the stress was well worth it. I had a similar start to my college career as many did in that, although I had an idea of what I wanted for myself, I didn’t really know what I was doing.

So with that, I present a list of some, but not all, of the times I have failed while at SRU.

One way to fail in school is by not going to your classes. Freshman year, the first semester went very well for me. I was so excited to be a student here, and I felt totally prepared to pursue all that pre-physical therapy had to offer. I made immediate connections with my peers, and I adored my classes in public health. However, my second semester was a much different story: when I started taking more advanced science classes, the classes meant to weed out students who really didn’t take the major seriously, I had a very big wake-up call. I realized that I wasn’t meant to pursue science, but I also wasn’t ready to accept failure. I stopped keeping up with my readings, which led me to stop caring about school altogether. And when I stopped caring about school, everything spiraled. If you don’t love your major, find one that you do as soon as possible, pick yourself up and try again.

Another way to fail in school is to not ask for help. For me, the transition from high school to SRU was mostly easy. With all my success in high school, I wasn’t used to asking for help, but man, did I need it. If I would’ve overcome my stubbornness and relied on those around me, it would’ve made the difference between success and failure. If you want to try and spend four years without relying on others, that is up to you, but everyone that has gone through these programs understands the importance of reliance. Some of my proudest moments, and favorite memories, come from study groups before large exams, and realizing that because we threw ideas and memory tips to one another, I earned an A. With this, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Another way you can fail is by not getting involved on campus. The organizations I’ve joined since freshman year not only helped me academically and professionally, but I owe a great deal of my personal growth to what I’ve done outside of my classes. Everyone hits a point when they feel school is too overwhelming, and that is when how you spend your free time truly makes a difference.

Next, and I cannot stress this enough, make sure you are creating personal relationships with professors and faculty. By now, I can count eight professors who have written letters of recommendation for me, as well as spent countless hours walking through hard decisions I was facing. The communication department is filled with some of the most genuine, hard-working and caring educators, and it is because of their commitment to our learning that we have so many successful graduates. If you do not make yourself known to your teachers, and understand them past the classroom, you are seriously missing out on part of college.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make while at Slippery Rock University is forgetting about the relationships you’ve made. Your primary goal is to earn your degree, of course, but you can’t let friendships go to the wayside. College is about more than academics, and this can be easily forgotten in the midst of homework, tests and final presentations. It is crucial to make time for your friends; to celebrate when something good happens, and be present when something bad happens. These are the people who will experience the unique experiences that you have while at college and, as we so often hear, these are the friends you will keep for life.

And last, but not least, the biggest lesson while I’ve been a student at SRU: learning how to accept failure. Before starting school, I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew it was going to be fun. I was prepared for some challenges, but I never imagined that the path I would take was going to be mine. I have so many memories coming out of SRU, both good and bad, but the number one takeaway is how to keep going. After four years, I can confidently say I have a strong footing and I know where I am going next.

To my roommates, you are three of the most incredible women I have ever met. I’m so proud of how each of you have grown, have learned and have become unstoppable forces. You have each been my stability in times I needed it most, and I thank you for all the times you brought me back to reality.

Giving credit where it’s due, here a special thank you to my friends. We’ve been through a lot, but it’s been cool seeing all of us grow. It makes me emotional thinking of all we’ve done between our first friend’s dinner and our last, and now it’s time for some of us to set off into the real world. I sincerely appreciate what each of you has taught me, and the love you’ve given me when I needed it most.

Shout out to The Rocket for giving me two of the most fun years I could ask for. Many, many late nights at the office filled with pizza, laughter and, most recently, Jeopardy. Working with you has turned my passion into something much more, and there is nothing I wouldn’t give to go back and do it the exact same way, again. Thank you for teaching me so much about myself, and thank you for making my life easier.

One final thank you to my parents. To the two most selfless, caring people, who I am fortunate to call Mom and Dad. Without your support, I wouldn’t be sitting where I am, today, writing this. Thank you for all that you’ve done, and all that you will do; thank you for the late night conversations, the reminder that no crisis will bring me down, and for being my reason to keep going. I am so excited for the next chapter of my life, and for you to see where it takes me. Much love from your pia.

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