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Fail Forward

Fail Forward Week (October 4-8, 2021)

Everyone fails at something.  Most of us fail quite frequently. The good news is that failure is the way the human brain learns best.  Through failure, we identify and focus on areas where we can improve. Failure encourages us to find new approaches to something, to change things up. It invokes creativity and new thought patterns. We learn and grow from our failures.

Fail Forward Week is a time to stop and reflect on the positive outcomes of failure and the necessity of failure in life. The challenge is not whether you can manage never to fail — you will fail at something — but in how you respond to your failures.  

When asked about failure, the prolific 20th C Irish author, Samuel Beckett said: “No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Join us in celebrating our failures and find ways to fail forward!


Fail Forward Week Activities

This week offers a lot of ways for you to plan to fail forward!  Check out all of the activities and opportunities below.

All Week

  • Check out the “Fail Forward” signs posted around campus for inspiration
  • Use the QR codes on the signs to add your own “fails” to our website banner!
  • Follow UCA Student Success on Instagram and Facebook for tips on how to “fail forward”
  • Print out your own Certificate to Fail Forward”


Noon – 2:30pm – Stop by our “Fail it Forward” table outside of the Student Center for treats and inspiration!

1:40pm – Online (Zoom) Academic Success Workshop:  “Test-Taking Tips”

  • Testing is where the rubber meets the road in academics, and is generally everyone’s least favorite part of education.  However, there are ways to improve your test-taking skills. Join us for this insightful workshop!


3:00pm – Online (Zoom) Academic Success Workshop:  “How to Go to Graduate School”

  • Thinking about graduate school?  Would like to go to graduate school, but have no idea how?  Come hear more about how to plan and prepare for this next step in your education.  Freshmen through seniors welcome!


10:00am – 2:30pm – Student Wellness Fair (HPER Center)

  • Come explore ways to keep yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally fit!  Door prizes and giveways galore!

12:30 – 3:00pm – Annual Majors Fair (UCA Student Center Ballroom)

  • Want to explore other majors (or minors)?  This annual event is your opportunity to see and talk to faculty and students from all of UCA’s departments in one location.  Check it out! Plenty of free giveaways will be available too!

1:40pm – Academic Success Workshop: “Decreasing Your Test Anxiety” (Burdick 205)

  • Do you experience brain fog or brain freeze during tests?  Do you have a hard time sleeping the night before a test?  This is common, but there are steps to take that can help. Join us for a discussion of ways to address test anxiety.

Recently, other successful people have spoken on the importance of failure, often (and ironically) at college graduation ceremonies (click on their name to see the full video):

Denzel Washington

“You will fail at some point in your life. Accept it. You will lose. You will embarrass yourself. You will suck at something. . . [but] If you don’t fail, you’re not even trying.”


Howard Shultz, CEO of Starbucks

The CEO talks about his working-class background, and how the famous coffee chain almost failed due to its own success.



Advice to Graduates about Failure (Oprah and others)

Oprah Winfrey, President Obama, Julie Andrews, and Michelle Obama all know that success takes fails.



Check out more resources on how failure can be a positive step forward!

Resources on Learning from Failure, on Edutopia  (articles for instructors and activities)

“Teaching to Fail”

“Why Failure is Good for Success”

“If You Have to Fail — and You Do — Fail Forward”

“7 Reasons Why Failure is a Good Thing”

Fail Forward Week at UCA is sponsored by: The Office of Student Success, Learning Communities, the Norbert O. Schedler Honors College, and the Department of Student Transitions.