Failures matters in life?
A couple months ago, an Arizona State University Honor’s College student committed suicide by jumping off of one of the buildings. He went to high school with my older brother. He took his own life after a series of downhill spirals. He failed a class, which then led to another failed class and another failed class.
Failure is something we face everyday, but many people, especially students, cannot overcome it.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death of people from ages 15-24, and there are more than 1,000 suicides on college campuses per year. Many of these suicides are exactly like the ASU student: unable to escape the grip of failure, and unable to move past it.
There are a few problems with our society that contribute to these shocking numbers.
1. The pessimism is too damn high
One major reason why failure is not an option for many college students is the negative view of the world from the majority of people. A survey by Rutgers University, in contrast with another study posted in November of 2009 (five months after the recession ended), showed that 20% more people believe the recession had permanent negative effects on the economy, and only 7% of people say they are significantly better off now than they were in 2009. To put this into perspective, the unemployment rate has dropped 3.3% since the 2009 survey. People continue to view the economy as weak and problematic, which takes a huge toll on students who are trying to pursue their goals. Students have a hard time landing jobs as it is, and with the negative view of the economy, failure, in the eyes of a college student, to pass a class could be the difference between living comfortably and being homeless.
Pessimism is not just growing towards the economy. My AP Government teacher had her students fill out surveys about the perceptions on certain groups of people. The results displayed massive distrust and pessimism towards multiple groups including police officers, politicians, lobbyists, and salesmen. So, we believe that our lives continue to deteriorate and that the people able to help fix it will not do their jobs. When the vast majority of Americans believe that things are becoming worse, and will continue to get worse, it puts an incredible amount of pressure on students to succeed in college so they might have a chance in the real world.
2. The tuition is too damn high
Any college student, or parent of a college student knows that the price of college is ridiculously high. The cost of higher education has increased faster than almost anything else in the recent years, and it does not appear to be stopping or slowing up. Here are the facts according to the College Board.
The average tuition for in-state public universities is $9,139.
The average tuition for out-of-state public universities is $22,958.
The average tuition for private universities is $31,231.
This is for one year of college. Multiply that by 4 and adjust for price changes, a bachelor’s degree from a public in-state university costs close to $50,000 in tuition alone. If room and board, travel, personal expenses, additional fees, and transportation are added, that number doubles. And this is supposed to be the cheap option.
The vast majority of Americans and high school students do not have $100,000 ready to spend on a college education. But the cost of not attending college has become even higher, so they turn to banks and the government, and use loans. But then, the average student is left with $30,000 in debt.
With students and parents having to give both arms and a leg to obtain a degree, students who attend college feel even more pressure to succeed. Many students who fail in college feel like they have let down their parents and wasted their money. This, combined with the inability to find a well paying job, causes anxiety for thousands of students every year.
This all has contributed to the idea that many students have nowadays that failure is not an option. While this is a good motivator, it does not prepare students for when the inevitable happens: failure. Everyone fails at some point, and students need the ability to handle failure now more than ever. Society has put so much pressure on the backs of students that we collapse at the first sign of weakness, and are never helped back up.
Failure is not an option, its a guarantee. The options are what you do when you fail. Thousands of students per year don’t stand back up. They don’t put that heavy weight back on their shoulders and they don’t keep marching towards progress. The question is, will you?
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy