Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 561: Fail better

Dear Samuel Beckett,

I only recently came across your saying, "fail better," when I read an article Reader's Digest did with the actor Jon Hamm. I read it and it seemed kitschy enough. However, as my life progresses, I'm finding how pertinent your saying is to my current situation.
Ever tried. Ever failed.
No matter.
Try Again. Fail again.
Fail better.
Yesterday, I realized I should probably update schools with my new activities and classes (my mentorship, a Biochem class I'm thinking about taking). As I looked at my list of schools, I decided to focus on updating schools I really want to go to and then work from there. I checked out my Davis application to discover that it still wasn't complete (a month later!). Rather than freak out, I called the Admissions office and the woman informed me that the Davis server was down for a bit and it was "difficult to find those individual letters" but she inputted them and now my application is complete. Yay...sort of. Allow me a moment to express how annoying all of this is...

Applying to med schools is long, lugubrious and year-long. The hype I felt at the beginning of all of this has converted itself into a form of mental-hypochondria (I am now waiting for a small envelope of rejection from each school). Add in the element of "rolling admissions" and you have a stress-bomb on your hands. When I have done everything I can to turn things in on time (if not early) and whatnot, I expect the institution I'm applying to to, pardon my French, have their shit together. Granted, I should have kept a closer eye, but the damn application itself says something along the lines of "we manually input your letters of recommendation. Please don't be surprised if this takes some time." Blah blah blah. I submitted my complete application in late October. It is December 2nd. If I don't get an interview because you screwed up...well, in what universe is that fair?

I know, I know. Life isn't fair. And things happen. Ergo, my new motto for life is to fail better. Because failure is never what defines us. Rather, how we act in the face of failure (and adversity and failure's other cousins) is what counts. So this is what I'm doing. I'm getting my act together. I'm going to stop being such a Debbie-Downer and try being a Jubilant-Jessy.

And here is where it starts. With the holiday season underway, I thought it was important for me to step back and be thankful for my whole life. I have a family that loves and supports me. I have friends who bolster and inspire me. I have a roof over my head, filled with central heating. I have a closet full of clothes (which I probably only need half of). And I get to try and achieve more than I think I'm capable of (at the moment. There are still gobs of doubts due to the constant influx of rejections). All in all, life isn't bad. It would take a lot more to be even remotely bad.

On that note, thank you Mr. Beckett. Thank you for helping me say-aloud that it isn't the trying again that's daunting, it's the failing again that is. And if I'm going to fail, you're right Mr. Beckett, I might as well fail better. Heck, not better, but with a bang.