As Lauren Wade examines her relationship with a failed exam, we learn that failure is a complicated matter that inspires even more complicated feelings.
It’s never enjoyable to not complete goal you’ve worked hard for, so when Lauren Wade fell just short of passing her week-long assessment – a culmination of a two-year scheme with her company involving several different positions – she was obviously pretty crushed.
“Everything I’ve done in the past two years has been driven towards this assessment,” she said. As a result, that failure has led to feelings of confusion and anxiety about the future. She also expresses the feelings of embarrassment from not achieving something that she and her peers hoped for. This has caused horrible self-doubt while, on other days, she feels like she can conquer the world and has everything still ahead of her: a duality of feelings familiar to everyone who has ever failed anything.
But Lauren also described feeling relief at being able to move forward. As a result of her exam, Lauren realised that she did not actually wish to pursue her intended career path, a fact which she found enlightening. “If I hadn’t tried,” she explained, “I would always have thought: oh, maybe I could have done that.”
While she was able to find the silver lining to this situation upon reflection, Lauren also touches on the idea that this “look-on-the-bright-side” perspective doesn’t come easy. “It’s really easy in hindsight to think, ‘oh, this bad thing that happened to me was actually the best thing and it gave me all these new insights into my life’, but that doesn’t really help when you’re in the midst of it,” she says. Instead, she gives validity to those natural pangs of sadness. “You’re mourning the idea you had of your future.”
With the exam behind her, now she can move forward and apply the feedback she received. It was a validating experience for her to have her own resilience highlighted by the examiners. Through Lauren’s experience, we’re reminded that being unable to continue down the path you expected is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it might just open up a realm of possibilities you hadn’t yet considered.
Check out Daniel Howell’s video about his coming out journey. Alternatively, read about Rowan Ellis’ discussion of Queer cinema.