Adjusting My Attitude Towards Failure

Written by Summer Graham, WLLC 2015-2016

This past week provided me with a valuable learning experience. As a Computer Science major, one of the most important things I can do ( or so I’ve read) is to get an internship. So I’ve been applying to different jobs literally since the beginning of the school year for anything that I qualify for. It was during Super bowl Sunday that I got my first email-from Pinterest asking me to interview. I was very excited and I immediately emailed them back with times that I was available to meet with them.

Then the interview day came, I sat in my room ready, I went over practice leadership and coding problems, and then Zac came on the screen and completely threw me off guard. Tech companies are weird, that was one detail that I forgot, so I didn’t know how to answer his questions. They involved asking me different ways to use a vending machine, and how to design an alarm clock for blind people. I answered as best I could, but I felt like I had messed up. Then Victor popped up on the screen for my coding interview. It would have gone better if I was able to interview with them this week because everything he asked me, I literally just learned yesterday in class. Bummer. To turn a long story short, I woke up to a sympathetic email two days later saying I didn’t get the job. It sucks but I could only view this as a positive experience and handle it with grace.

All Software Engineering job interviews are structured like that so I will be much more prepared when my next potential employer emails me, and I have to think, maybe it just wasn’t meant for me. Maybe next quarter or next year even I will be at the level where I can impress people with the skills that I’ve learned and get a great internship. In my book Emotional Freedom that I’m reading the author suggests that instead of getting mad, try and stay calm. I was proud to say that I did just that because a year ago it would have been a completely different story and to be honest that email I received from Pinterest probably would have ruined my day.

I told my mom the outcome, even though I really didn’t want her to know that I didn’t get the job, but being vulnerable to her allowed her to comfort me so I didn’t feel bad and her encouragement is going to help me for the next time I have to interview with somebody. I think this was a great lesson because many great people fail but turn it into a positive thing so that they can succeed later, and that’s what I hope to do through this experience.

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