The Grace of Failing

Last week I had my heart ripped out by a professor. After 15+ hours of research and writing, 3000, words, 15-20 articles, 2 textbooks, and lots of coffee…I thought I turned in a fairly decent paper.

My professor gave me a ZERO.

Not an 80% for an average paper or a 50%…a ZERO.

To make matters worse, my professor told me to resubmit my work. That would mean on top of the already massive workload of finals week, I would have to turn in another version of my paper.

My work was not even worth one point! I was devastated, angry, and frustrated.  I think that I am a decent writer and a decent researcher so I could not comprehend getting this grade. After a series of email exchanges with my professor the good doctor agreed to have  a phone conference with me to explain my grade.

Guess what? The professor was right. I missed a critical detail in the assignment that led me astray. My professor could have failed me but instead, the good doctor gave me a second chance. I was actually going to argue for a D and the whole time, my professor was setting me up for success. I reworked the paper, resubmitted it, and got an A.

The bottom line is this: failure is not fatal. In fact, sometimes our biggest failures are actually setups for something better. Thank God for the grace of failure.

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