Failure, Resilience, and Good Advising

In what ways do our advisees experience failure?

Failure comes in many flavors. Some are obvious to advisors, but some may not be. Stanford students may encounter failure if they earn a failing grade on an exam or in a class; if they are placed on academic probation, provisional registration, or suspension. They can fail in their relationships. They can fail to achieve goals they have set for themselves, such as securing a space in an Introductory Seminar, a September Studies program, or landing an internship. They may fail to live up to their own expectations or the expectations (real or imagined) that others (including parents and friends) may have of them.

Students may also perceive other kinds of experiences as failures. A new or ongoing medical issue or injury may be perceived as failure if it means the student cannot perform in the way she (and/or others) expects. Feeling like she doesn’t belong or fit in here at Stanford can feel like a personal failure, especially after working so hard to get here. Quitting, or walking away from something they feel ambivalent about may feel like failure, as can not knowing what to do and feeling overwhelmed, as if time and opportunities are being wasted.

Please read the rest of this Teaching Talk blog post here.