Failure #1. I have a PhD in science, tons of skills both technical and creative, and tons of experience, but I was rejected from a 3-month internship. Yes, that stung. They contacted me for an interview, and because of the time difference, I was dragged out of bed before dawn to prepare for it. I wish they had just not contacted me at all, then I could have gone along blithely assuming they’d just never bothered to inspect my application at all.

Failure #2. I thought I could come home to rural NC for a while and make animations with local kids, like this. If I may say so myself, this is a super-cool project where the kids do art, computer stuff, learn some science, and read all at once. And I do it for free. What kind of a teacher wouldn’t want that? Turns out all of them (nearly) where I live.

People says: “just go out and create your own opportunities!” Give me a break. I taught myself how to animate, and I came up with this project, and it is totally aligned with all the ‘STEAM’ and ‘STEM’ rhetoric going around. And then I go chase after teachers. And hardly anyone responds. So don’t come telling me about “creating opportunities”. I have found that you have to work extremely hard just to make 1 inch of progress—extremely hard as in you end up with a headache and are so tired you fall asleep without brushing your teeth and don’t have time to go the grocery store—just for moving forward one inch! At some point you realize it’s not worth it.

I am surprised at the lack of response. I had originally intended to make “Mr. Turtle” videos with kids in another place. Well, that place blew me off, so I couldn’t end up going. But before it blew me off, I emailed 50 libraries to potentially work with, and 13 responded. That’s not a great percentage, but at least it showed persistence would pay off.

Plus, as far as North Carolina is concerned, I have already done this project here twice. Once with a teacher whose husband worked in my university department; and once at the local library. So I thought surely if I emailed teachers in the town where I grew up and graduated high school from, at least some would bite. I think I’ve probably emailed 30 people and only 3 emailed back. One said ‘no thanks’. Okay. The second is a “maybe”, the third said she had to check with administrators and probably has since forgotten. The one “maybe” made me deliriously happy (for a day, until I realized it wasn’t heralding a change in fortunes). Some of the teachers I emailed are ones that taught my younger brothers. I mentioned that in my emails. You’d think they would answer me. You would be mistaken.

Now, today, with the Supreme Court hearing, it appears that the entire nation has decided to join me in failure, so I guess I can’t feel too exclusive and special.

2 thoughts on “Failures”

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