As an undergraduate student in Biochemistry at University of Waterloo, I found out that I had failed an organic chemistry midterm and inorganic chemistry midterm on the same day.

This was one of my earliest experiences failing a major test and certainly my first time failing two different tests at the same time.   

robbyn heschI had worked as hard as possible to learn inorganic chemistry, which just seemed to be harder for me to grasp than my classmates. I had attended several office hours with my professor and learning that I had failed the midterm made me feel as though my hard work hadn’t paid off, that perhaps I wasn’t meant to be a Biochemistry student, and that I must not be as smart as everyone else.   

Speaking to my parents and having them celebrate and normalize failure really helped me understand that this was part of the university experience and it wasn’t an indicator of my worth as a person. Additionally, the compassion shown to me by my inorganic chemistry professor encouraged me to continue working hard. Because of this experience, I have greater confidence in my ability to do hard things and looking back, I realize that the ability to fail and keep moving forward is the most important thing I learned in my undergraduate degree at University of Waterloo.

- Robbyn Hesch, Health Promotion and Evaluation Specialist  


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