The Chemist: How I Deal With Failure

Hi Everyone! It's finally fall in Ohio and I am loving every minute of it. I've been crazy busy, as usual, but there are some exciting things in the works so make sure you're following me on Twitter (@Devin_Eleven), Instagram (@Devyjanai), AND are subscribed to . This week's posts are about how we deal with failure. As a grad student, failure is inevitable so here are the ways that I overcome that. I like all things corny so I'll call them my three R's to overcoming failure.


This is always my first step. If an experiment didn't work, I didn't meet a goal, if anything didn't go the way that I planned, then I always take a step back and ask "Why?". This is also the hardest step because it requires you to be very objective about what you did AND what you could've done differently. Doing this with research is easier, since there's a method you followed, but with goals you didn't meet, that takes a little more work.

Good questions to ask yourself in this case are:

- Did I set a realistic timeline for my goal?

- What else is/was on my plate that could've prevented me from getting this done?

- How much work DID I do to work towards this goal?

- What's a NEW (and reasonable) timeline to complete it?


Step 2 is always regrouping. When I fail at something, I'm bummed about it. Your feelings are valid so give yourself the space to feel them before moving forward. If you're crunched for time, try to carve out 5 -10 minutes in your day to regroup. Also find ways to recharge that are effective for you. I typically turn off my laptop and put my phone on "Do Not Disturb" to do something that brings me joy. That could look like cooking, playing music and dancing around, watching an episode of something on my tv, going to a park, etc. Find something that gives you energy that is NOT work related. This step is really important because you want to make sure that you're in the right headspace to move forward.


You could've probably guessed this step, but the last step is to try again. Develop a new game plan and implement it. We all know the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over again and expect different results, so DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY! Now this step doesn't have to be immediate, you are allowed to give it some time to think through a new strategy before doing something again, but you don't want to be stuck on the fact that you failed (that's bad). Failure is something that we all experience in different ways and for me, there's a comfort in the fact that it's not unique to my journey. It is always how you take that failure and what you do next that sets you apart from everyone else.

Hopefully my three R's help! I'll see you all soon.

- The Chemist


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