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Failing Forward

Failing Forward
My daughter Brooke just graduated from college with a degree in Biological Science. She will apply to medical school soon. To say that I am proud of her does not convey the joy that she brings to my world when I watch her grow, learn, and excel. During the process of applying to medical school, she will be asked to provide letters of recommendation from professors and other peers. Her professor in physics was one of the people Brooke asked for a letter of recommendation. The class challenged her in a way she had never experienced before, academically as well as personally. This was the first time she had to retake a class. 
She wondered if she could be a physician and if her dreams were too big. Haven't we all found ourselves in this place where we tried for something big, something out of our comfort zone, and failed? These are the moments that teach us how strong we are; these are when we are asked to step up and prove that we can and will do whatever we truly want. These are the moments that define us. Brooke decided right there and then that she would not give up and that she would retake the course, she would pass, and she would not give up on her dream to become a physician. At that moment, she claimed her future and made it her own. The following is a portion of Brooke's letter to her physics professor. I truly love this letter! My favorite line is you taught me how to fail forward. We can all take this advice and remember that failing does not mean you failed or that you can't do it. It simply means that you are moving forward.

To moving forward.

Stay tuned,

Paula Marie


Dear Professor_____

I was a student in your Physics 1 and 2 classes. These two classes were possibly the most challenging courses that I took at NC State; however, these courses taught me resilience and the ability to overcome failure.

 Your class taught me how to access failure and move forward with the new lessons I learned; in a sense, you taught me how to fail forward.

  I’m planning to apply to medical school this upcoming summer and was wondering if you would feel comfortable writing a strong letter of recommendation. When I look back at my time at NC State, I want letters of recommendation from professors whose lessons stuck with me after the course was over. Although I did not get an A+ in your course, the B that I did earn means a great deal to me. I was learning how to be brave and keep trying for what I wanted, even after receiving a disappointing result. These lessons, I believe, will be far more helpful in my future as a physician than content I could learn in a classroom, and for that, I thank you. 

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