Lecture #20: 
Dealing with setbacks, failure and mistakes

by Darcy A. Santor | June 2022 

How to deal with a setback or an outright failure is not something that we talk about very much, or even research explicitly. Research suggests that as many as 1 in 4 students will fail a test or exam in their first semester at university.  Whether it is a ‘hard’ fail (i.e., not passing the test) or a ‘soft’ fail (i.e., not getting anything close to what you need), failing can be devastating and really set you back. 

In this lecture, you will learn about failure and setbacks and how to deal with them when they happen.  Studies have shown that what you do after a setback is even more important than the setback itself. You will learn about the different kinds of strategies that people use to cope with failure and what strategies work best.   

Setbacks are even more common than failures. They are virtually unavoidable, especially if you are pushing yourself to your limits, trying to exceed your current abilities, or even just trying out something new. For some students, even making a single mistake can feeling like a setback or failure. 

But setbacks and mistakes are often the experience that is needed to put you on the right path or to rethink how you were approaching a problem. Learning how to fail, how to deal with setbacks, and even just how to make mistakes is essential to the learning process and your mental health. 

Resources:  Please download the worksheet before the seminar and complete the surveys after the seminar.

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