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Learning, Life lesson, Personal Development

When Failure Hits Me: The Reason to Move Forward.

Prelude

It has been one week after the announcement of selected applicants for a scholarship given by a giant tech company for a 10-months Academy. I was included as the top priority recruits and went through stages of selection phase from application submission, Academic Potential based test, and the final one: interview. To get to the core, this is my story on how I fail to be the recruits and what I hope (and to whomever read this) learn from my experience.

Strange, isn’t it?

Experience usually begin with “success story” instead of “failure story”. It seems that telling a failure is like telling your own weaknesses. It’s like showing to the world how fragile, incompetent you are that it’s not supposed to be told unless you are ‘successful’ already.

I decided to write this because I need to remind myself that I have bruises and I was healing. Failure, to whichever angle you tried to look at to, is still a painful experience. For a self-acclaimed ambitious person like me, it was unacceptable the moment I heard the announcement. It was that moment that I feel like sh*t and I was mad that the world seems unfair. You know, it hurts like that.

I wanted this story to stay as a lesson as I go through this chapter of life. While Instagram and Facebook are mostly candy, I wanted to keep my blog as genuine as possible, as I am not be able to write this story in less than 2,200 characters. I wanted to remind myself that failure, is sometimes a prerequisite of something bigger ahead of us. I wanted to let my future-self understand that I am a human, after all. I fail, I move on, I fail better, I recover, I fail fast, I bounce back again, till I win.

The Beginning

This program is new in Surabaya. I was just moving from Jakarta so that I can live together with my husband. It was a golden chance for me, especially that my current office gave me a task to develop a mobile applications based on their needs and their current IT platform. I realized that the scope of work is totally new for me and I needed to learn this new skillset. So when I heard that this Academy offered a scholarship to develop an iOS apps in 10 months, I was beyond ecstatic.

I thought that this opportunity will be very beneficial since I will be taught, trained, and mentored by the expert. I already planned to join a class online but it will be very much different if I can learn directly in a class, with other students as well. Also, I am looking for the networking opportunity where I can learn, get in touch, and probably collaborate with other students from different background in business & management, design, and of course, tech geeks as the main lead.

When I knew about this program, I hesitated to submit my application due to the limited information they gave online. I also thought that since this is an IT-based camp, I will need to do some coding that I have no basic yet. The program is a bit unpopular even though the sponsors are a very popular and mainstream brand (now you can guess 😌).

However, I read from the website that the program will combine three different expertise: business – IT – design to be a world-class developer. It also states that I do not necessarily need to have coding expertise, because the Academy will combine those three learners in a team.

Hence, I decided to apply. At least the program align with what I really need right now and I have a background in Business & Management, and a sense of design (people who work with me can understand – even though I am not a DKV student). My husband also motivates me to try, as this is a good chance for me to develop a new skill that aligned with my dream. So we decided to work on it.

Hence, I decided to apply. At least the program align with what I really need right now and I have a background in Business & Management, and a sense of design (people who work with me can understand – even though I am not a DKV student). My husband also motivates me to try, as this is a good chance for me to develop a new skill that aligned with my dream. So we decided to work on it.

The Process

The first requirement is to submit a form. Once it submitted, the Committee will contact me for further instructions. I was a bit hesitated because I just knew this program a day before it closed so I thought I won’t get a chance. Two weeks later, the Committee contacted me and asked me to prepare a motivational video along with CV and Portfolio.

I looked up some motivational video made by previous participant who already submit theirs in Youtube. Mostly, the videos are ‘just to submit’ quality – kind of video. The applicants use their own mobile phone with low quality of light and sound. At that time, I thought that this can be done easily but I wanted to go extra miles.

I thought that the value of the scholarship should be treated well, that I should not underestimated the requirement. I wanted to give a message that I deserve the scholarship because I don’t treat the requirement from the organization easily, that I am ready to work hard in order to follow the rules and the CLB (Challenge Based Learning) that the Academy will applies to its student.

The problem is, to make a decent video I need a help from a videographer and I know no one here in Surabaya. If I go to Jakarta, the cost will be too high and I don’t think that would be efficient. So I decided to approach some of my colleagues and asked if they knew someone who could help me at that time.

Thankfully, I found someone from my juniors. He is not a professional videographer, but he’s passionate in creating videos, mostly about motorcycle. We met for the first time in a coffee shop and record the video on the same day. My husband accompanied me and helped me checking the script. It was only for one minute Youtube video but I took more than 8 takes because I forgot some lines. You know, it is hard to tell about yourself, your dream and motivation in just 1 minute while I usually am a talker.

Long story short, I submitted the video and other requirements, and I was selected to go on for the next stages: Academic Potential Test. It was a loooong loooong time ago that I didn’t do this kind of test. I was also afraid that the test will examine my understanding about IT and coding so I decided to read some books related to it. Since I need to learn from the very basic, I chose to start from learning Algorithm and basic programming, as this is the foundation of every coding language.

The day of the test came and blamey, I came 15 minutes late while I won’t get any extra time. What a very stupid movement, Cinta. It tooks 1 hour of motorcycle ride (it was 25 kms from home) and I was still hallucinating when I get there. Yet, I need to looked up to my computer and do the math.

Yes, it was consists of basic math, logic, IT, design, and business knowledge. Another drama came when I have done around 15 questions then the computer suddenly shut down. I need to move to another computer and start all over again, with the limited time. I was given extra 10 minutes time but in the end, I only use 1 minute because I can finish the test before it ends. I also can see my score right after the test.

In the afternoon after the test was done, I was contacted that I am among the top recruits. I was invited for an interview the next day as it is the final stage of selection I need to follow. I arrived to the interview place 10 minutes before it starts. During the wait, I talked with another participants who came from many backgrounds: psychology, management, production design, IT, and so on. We get to know each other and share stories so it feels like we’ve been friends already. They were all very nice. I really hoped that I will met this kind of people again, as a student in the Academy.

The interview went well. There’s not much difficulties (I guessed) because I can answer all the questions. I thought I already gave my best and I am being honest. I felt optimistic because if the Committee saw my CV and background, they would understand that I understand about business and I possessed the ability to be in a team, as a leader, and to be challenged in a very demanding and challenging environment. So I was happy after the interview was done.

The Disappointment

It was a nice Friday afternoon and I was getting ready to go home. Suddenly the announcement came up and I didn’t see my name on the list of 20 successful Public applicants who received the scholarship. At first, I didn’t believe my eyes because yesterday’s interview went smoothly and I feel like I will make it. But I didn’t see my name there. I double checked and I didn’t see my name there.

I couldn’t hide my disbelief. I cried a bit, as I didn’t believe this happens after all I did to prepare everything. I also knew some participants who has lowered Academic Test score than me but they made it. I checked the name of the selected participants and most of them are from IT background. It suddenly stroked me and I couldn’t hold my tears any longer.

Sad? You don’t say.

Even though I am in just to take a chance, for the nothing to lose mindset, losing is still hurts. Especially that you’ve prepared things and have a big intention to tackle the challenge should I be selected. It hurts even more when someone’s rubbing salt to my wounds by saying: “don’t be sad”.

DON’T BE, you said?

Who are you that you can forbid me to express my own feelings? Who are you, really? If you forbid me to be sad, can you please give me 10 months free learning course with international standard of CLB, mentors, and networks? Can you facilitated me with those IT gears I need? If not, you clearly DON’T have any rights to prohibit me for feeling what I feel as a human.

It’s even worse that the person was on the other side. Also, they assume that I entered the Academy for the sake of learning how to code and they recommend me to get it elsewhere.

Hello?

Have I ever told you my story on why I want to join the program? They don’t even know me. I am not there to be a coder, I want to join to be a developer: which coding is just A PART of it – NOT THE ENTIRE PART. I want to collaborate, I want to network, I want to learn together the whole developing process, from ideation, validation, to execution. The person assuming too much at the moment when I am still recovering from my failure.

People, please don’t do this.

If you happened to be on the other side, if you have any friends, family, or anyone who are having a bad time whatever it is, please never assume you know what they’ve been through. Saying “don’t be sad” means that the condition they are going through is somewhat easy – something that don’t matter for you – that you shouldn’t feel sad about it. Truth is: you will never know what it is to be in someone else’s shoes.

Feelings are unique, no matter how you tried hard to empathize about it. Being sad also DO NOT EQUAL to giving up. This is what the society has wronged for centuries, both to man and woman, that we should always look strong and hold our feelings. We should always appear happy and motivated even though we are on the down side. I disagree with this because I believe God creates feeling with a purpose. What we need to do is not to hold the feeling, but to understand it. To understand, and guide it the right way.

The Acceptance

Finally, time heals everything. The moment I was failed, I contacted my COO. I was a bit ashamed because one of the reason I wanted to join is to help my current company. I was sad that now I lose the chance to create the iOS version of the apps myself and I am thankful for my COO and CEO supports and prayers. God is good. My COO gave me a hug (online though 😁) and she said that I need to keep my heads up high. She doesn’t say anything like “don’t be sad” or anything. She let me express what I wanted and she said: keep your heads up high. All the effort was a lesson and this failure means that I meant for something greater.

That simple words mean the world to me. She believed in me, that she encouraged me to always look up, not looking down. It means that she believed that I am capable to do great things, that I shouldn’t underestimate myself even though I fail right now. That I shouldn’t lose confidence by failure. That I shouldn’t let other people’s opinion bring me down. That the most important things for me is to take a lesson out of it and move on for something greater.

When someone you looked up to believe in you, you couldn’t help boosting your inner self to believe in yourself even more. My biggest problem is self-confidence (you might read my 2018’s Lesson Learned) and this year I am trying to fix it. My husband also there when I needed, something I am very much blessed upon. He hugged me, and told me that it’s okay. He blamed himself that he should’ve helped me better that he didn’t think IT-background would be a great point to be explored. He is my biggest supporter and I can’t thanked God enough for having him as my partner.

Photo: Gabrielle Henderson (Unsplash).

The Silver Lining

This is a bit funny. Few days after I moved on, I was telling my husband how I was upset when I heard that someone who’s lucky enough for the chance is actually misunderstands coding as a programming language made in html. While coding itself is a process, and programming language is another thing and it’s not always in html: there are Java, C, C++, R, Phyton, PHP, etc. My husband told me that I should move on by forgetting those people and prepare for the next batch of Academy.

I said to him that I am not a coward. I am not a quitter. I don’t blame anyone to what happened with me at all. I was just letting him know because I now realize how I might made a stupid mistake during the interview. I was not confident enough to tell my understanding about basic programming that I failed to give thorough explanation. I will tell about this in the next story (it has been too long for now).

Anyways, I now realize that even though you are sure to give your best, if you fail, then there must be something wrong. Even though I saw that most participants are from IT background, I still need to look at to myself what I should’ve done better. What process that I should’ve prepared better. Not to blame myself, but to take the lesson out of it and to not do that again should I am blessed to be given another opportunity like this. So I didn’t do the same mistake twice.

Also, I believe that God must’ve had another ‘plan’ better than this. I am thankful that now, I have a small team consist of videographer and content creator. I also explored many possibilities to create something after this, and I am ready for my next personal project.

Bismillahirrohmanirrahim…

Feature image: Kristopher Roller for Unsplash.

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