A failure resume is, as its name suggests, a list of rejections and setbacks. This concept originated in academia, but can be applied to improve one’s career, resilience, and approach to challenges in any walk of life.
Why do you share your failure resume?
The main reason I have this is because I’ve seen the online presences of a lot of accomplished people my age, and when I’m not secure in myself, it’s easy to think that others are perfect and never experience setbacks. Working on not comparing yourself to others is an internal skill that’s developed with practice over time, but I think it’s helpful to also see things like this along the way.
The other reason is to record these for future reference and learn from my challenges.
Does this make you feel bad about yourself?
For the most part, I’m not particularly hung up on any of these failures, so it’s not difficult for me to share them.
Some of these don’t sound like failures?
What constitutes a “failure” here is based solely on my own judgement. People have said that a lot of these failures seem more like flexes, but I think it just reflects how much I put myself out there. If I try to achieve more impressive things, then my rejections are more “impressive” too, in a way.
Note: I’m also hoping to clean up this list in general and push for quality rather than quantity. What good is a laundry list of rejections if I’m not reflecting on and learning from them? (I mean, I guess there’s still some good…)
Rejected from HackMIT organizing team
Rejected from Interact Fellowship
Rejected from editorial internship at Overachiever Magazine
Rejected from Radcliffe Engaged Summer Grant
Rejected from attending TreeHacks
Rejected from Neo Startup Camp
Rejected from several companies whose coding challenges I chose not to do (did I reject them or did they reject me?)
Rejected from MIT fuse
Rejected from a few UROPs (undergraduate research positions)
Interviewed → rejected from being an organizer for MIT Global Startup Workshop
Rejected from Impact Labs Fellowship
Interviewed → rejected from being a counselor for MIT’s Freshman Leadership Program and Active Community Engagement pre-orientation programs for first-years
Interviewed → rejected from being a Dorm Room Fund Boston Investment Partner
Announced a project at a national conference, then had to cancel it a few months later
Rejected from various dance groups, acapella groups, scholarships, nonprofit grants
Rejected from being an MIT Admissions Blogger
Rejected from being an AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador
Interviewed → rejected from Square Code Camp
Rejected from Harvard College
Got broken up with
Rejected from Research Science Institute
Rejected from Broad Summer Scholars Program
Rejected from various scholarships
HUBweek panel proposal rejected (then got invited to speak at HUBweek 2019, introduced by the founder)
Dropped out as a speaker from TEDxYouth@BeaconStreet
Tried to found TEDxLowellHigh but it fell apart after a few months