Panel Reminds Students to ‘Fail Forward’

On Wednesday, Nov. 6, the University held its inaugural Fail Forward Panel for faculty, staff and students. The panel featured Christine Black, J.D., Bobby Davis, Ph.D., Michael Fennie, Ph.D. and Billie Tadros, Ph.D. They were vulnerable in sharing their stories of adversity, failure and resilience to the 300-person audience.

Often times people only share the good in their lives. This panel acknowledged the bad to help others understand that they are not alone in their struggles. In addition, the panel’s shared stories were great examples of how failure can lead to success.

“If we are willing to be authentic with one another, sharing our struggles and not just our joys, we are able to develop more meaningful connections which can sustain us through challenging times in our lives,” Dean Lauren Rivera, a moderator on the panel, said.

Sometimes failures can feel like the end of the world, especially for students. The Center for Health Education and Wellness (CHEW) set up “Fail it Forward” boards around campus for people to share their failures with the school community. This public display helped students come to the realization that they are not alone, and that everybody fails at some point in their life. The responses on the boards ranged from sleeping through classes and failing exams to car accidents and tripping in public.

“The ‘Fail it Forward’ boards are recognizing that everyone struggles, but that it’s okay and we have an amazing community here at Scranton that will help you move forward,” said Cory Freivald ’20, one of CHEW’s Peer Health Educator Leaders.

Overall, the Fail Forward initiative encouraged the community to focus on their passions.

“Unfortunately, social media offers a very curated look at life and makes it easy for students who are struggling to feel like they are alone when this is absolutely not the case,” Dean Rivera said. “My prayer is that the Fail Forward Panel helped students to recognize they are not alone in their struggles and failures. They can bounce back from these challenges by looking at them as opportunities to learn and to grow.”

The Fail Forward initiative was made possible with support from Strategic Initiative Funding.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

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