Yesterday I was driving back from Augusta to Atlanta and I decided to listen to more Girlboss podcasts with Sophia Amoruso! She has seriously been my IDOL since I was 16 because she was the CEO and founder of Nasty Gal. I even did multiple projects on her because her story was so inspirational.
If you know anything about her, you’ll know that Nasty Gal went under a few years ago. It honestly just grew so fast and I think it got away from her. That being said, SHE NEVER STOPPED. She immediately started Girlboss to help woman entrepreneurs get loans, created a podcast, and now has a networking platform for #bossbabes!
The reason that I realized I wanted to write this post is because the podcast I listened to yesterday was “Why taking a leap of faith is part of any career journey, with Elaine Welteroth, journalist and author of More Than Enough.” If you know me, Elaine is one of my favorite people to look up to. She was the FIRST black EIC at Teen Vogue at just 25.
The main thing that truly stuck out to me was one thing she mentioned really hit me though, she mentioned how as women, we don’t like to fail and when we do we don’t talk about it! This is something I feel happens a lot and both her and Sophia revel in their failures and are still amazing, successful people. This post today is about my personal setbacks and how they have helped me get where I am today.
If you’re thinking, “can failure make you stronger?” then this post is for you!
Why Failures Are Needed for the Greatest Success
I’m currently only 22, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t made a TON of mistakes along the way to get here. Some have honestly haunted me until I told my mind to stop (many many times). Now, looking back at my failures from college, I realize that THEY are the reasons I am where I am today.
Whenever I meet people who knew me back in the day or who know me from my blog, they’re always like “you’re killin it!!!” and in a sense they are right. However, it has NOT been easy to get here though and I have ruined many things for myself along the way. I still constantly feel like I’m not successful enough and am forever chasing what’s “next.”
As someone who virtually planned out her past two and a half years and somehow had everything work out exactly how I wanted, I’m SCARED for the future. I feel like my luck has run out and this is where my life gets hard and stops going the way I want. Which, in in the back of my mind, I know is insane. How did I get here though?
Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.
– Oprah Winfrey
My First Failure
My first failure was exactly that, a failure. A MASSIVE one. It was my second semester of college, I was completely drowning in work from all of the classes I was taking and pre-calculus was ruining my life. I went to tutoring and spent SO MUCH TIME on this class (124 hours total in a semester on the online homework site).
I worked extremely hard, ended up doing worse than I wanted in other classes because I spent so much time on this, and my GPA dropped from a 3.8 to a dead even 3.0 (which honestly isn’t even that bad and I kept my scholarship). My entire world fell apart because I. Had. Failed. Calculus.
I knew I wasn’t good at math and I still decided to choose the most poorly rated professor on campus because I wanted class at that time. In hindsight I am like WHAT WAS WRONG WITH YOU, but now I see that I needed to have that setback to get to where I want now.
You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.
– Maya Angelou
What Did I Do?
Well the thing I was most scared about was telling my mom if we’re being honest. She is terrifying and I knew she would be so disappointed. It turns out all she really cared about was that I kept my academic scholarship and I did. She probably knew I would beat myself up over this enough for the both of us.
After I failed my class, I questioned if I even belonged in college as a Marketing major or maybe I should just join the military until I figured everything out. It was now the summertime and took the ASVAB (the test to see what jobs you could have in the military and if you qualify). I was the first person done in my testing class.
I refused to look at my score because I felt like I hadn’t done well and that I finished way too fast to have gotten a good score. Well, my friends finally forced me to look and I scored insanely high. This was honestly what I needed to KEEP me in college. I had done well on a test again!
The triumph can’t be had without the struggle.
– Wilma Rudolph
Going Back to School
My Sophomore year started and I thought it would be best for me to take all my classes online. I took 15 credit hours online and lived at home (because I wasn’t sure how to navigate an apartment and being independent on my own yet). This is what brought me to LOFT! (Now if you have been with me for a year at this point, you know this is pivotal.)
I worked there part-time while I took classes and then off and on when I went back to school that next semester. Being at home also helped me meet my current boyfriend! Like a true millennial, we met on Twitter (he DM’d me and asked if I was coming back to Southern, which I was).
I decided I would make my minor into my major and not be “safe” anymore. I thus became a Fashion Merchandising/Apparel Design major with a Marketing minor! I met my best friend (Amber) and other amazing people (Kay and Ana to name a few) which inspired me to start up my blog again in 2018!
There are secret opportunities hidden inside every failure.
Starting My Blog
I had owned a blog before, my dad actually started my first blog for me, but I seriously ran with it once I settled on Sequins and Sales. At first it was to show off my Me Makes (clothes that I made myself) and other DIY’s! I then kept expanding and expanding and here I am today!
I have also had a lot of failures with my blog too. I had to teach myself EVERYTHING from the ground up. How to use HTML code, how to promote my blog, SEO, which filters/presets I wanted to use on my pics, how to make Pinterest post covers, etc. It was never easy! (to read all of my blogging tips, click here)
All of those struggles though helped me get the internships/jobs that I needed. I mentioned early that I worked part-time at LOFT, well I had an amazing boss who helped me/recommended me for a corporate internship and that’s where I was last summer! In the direct heart of Times Square for 3 months. (to read about that internship, click here)
I also utilized my blog (RIP to my old theme, you did me good) in my interview to show that I spend my free time doing something productive. I think that, coupled with my love of Ascena Retail as a whole, helped get me the position! I knew it would be important to do it because I needed to get ANOTHER full-time internship after I finished my classes.
You’ve got to experience failure to understand that you can survive it.
Where I’m At Now
As you can see, my path took many twists and turns. After leaving New York last August, I went back to school for my last semester of classes! This is when I ended up interviewing for my Disney internship (read about that application process here) and scoring that position.
I was interviewing for my current job then, but literally asked if I could be pushed back to the next start date in June (because I would have more buying experience) and honestly though “might as well risk it all!” It paid off and that’s where I’m at now! I knew it was a huge risk, but I put myself out there anyway.
I wrote all of that to show you that failures are what push us to work EVEN harder. After that semester, I never got below a 3.8 GPA any semester after that. I had to literally hit rock bottom in order to bounce back 3x as hard. Yes, I do have more stress now and I am ALWAYS working, but I love to be busy so it’s okay!
I am (hopefully) in the majority of failure to success stories of students, but I wanted to write this to show that you can come out of every hole you’re in if you work at it! If you need inspirational movies to watch, I suggest The Princess and the Frog, Legally Blonde, and Mulan. They are my go-to movies when I’m uninspired.
I wanted to leave you with one last “failure to success” quotes that really resonates with me:
Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.
– Nikki Giovanni
Mistakes SUCK and messing up/failing is really debilitating. That being said, you can’t ever let it get you down for too long because failure leads to success. My anxiety never allows me to forget any of the mistakes I made, but I’m working on telling my brain to relax more. I need it and my health needs it! If you’re like me, use those failures to bounce back even harder! Future you will thank you for it.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post! I know it’s a little different than what I normally do, but I agree with Elaine Welteroth (who you can read more about in my post here). As women, we need to talk more about our failures! They are what can bring us together and inspire new innovation.
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