• Beth & Tim Manners

Stress Test: Colleges Teach How To Fail

Updated: Sep 19, 2019

Associated Press: “Bentley University has plenty of success stories among its faculty and alumni. But one recent evening, the school invited students to hear about the failures. Speaking to a crowded auditorium, one professor recounted the time he sank a $21 million company. Another recalled failing her college statistics course. One graduate described his past struggles with drug addiction. Each story reinforced the same message: Even successful people sometimes fail … Bentley, a private business school near Boston, joins a growing number of U.S. colleges trying to ease students’ anxieties around failure and teach them to cope with it. On many campuses, it’s meant to combat climbing rates of stress, depression and other problems that have been blamed on reduced resilience or grit among younger generations.”


“The University of California, Los Angeles, offers ‘grit coaching.’ The University of Minnesota recently hosted a ‘resilience resource fair.’ Dozens of schools now provide ‘Adulting 101’ workshops covering topics from finance to romance. As part of that work, more schools are also striving to normalize failure and create an environment where students can take risks and learn from setbacks.”


“Stanford University encourages its students to celebrate their failures through song, poetry and other creative outlets at an annual event called ‘Stanford, I Screwed Up!’ Smith College in Massachusetts and the University of Central Arkansas have both issued students ‘certificates of failure’ as part of broader programs on the topic. Colorado State University invites students to take a pledge to embrace failure and persist through it … A 2018 survey by the American College Health Association found that 22% of college students were diagnosed with anxiety or treated for it over the past year, up from 10% a decade before. The rate for depression rose from 10% to 17% in the same span, the survey found.”

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