Failure Is Not An Option

Kranz at his Console

ConsoleKranz” by NASA Licensed under Public Domain

“Failure is NOT an option” is a phrase I remember from my teen years. The movie Apollo 13 came out in 1995, two years before I would graduate from high school. Hearing Gene Kranz, played brilliantly by Ed Harris, utter those words stuck with me. (To be fair, the phrase was written for the move; Kranz admits he never said it.)  At the time, I was preparing for entrance into University, I was determined and I had been conditioned to believe that failure was a shameful thing. Fast forward a couple of decades, and I still struggle with the idea of failure. I love the new acronyms being posted online for the word FAIL; First Attempt At Learning is probably my favourite one. I, however, haven’t managed to master that mindset.

In the middle of February, Tiegrad classmate, Jake Main did something I found incredibly brave. He admitted that he was overwhelmed. He put into words, the feelings that I have been struggling with since the end of January.  I had decided to take up a MOOC this semester as a learning project for EDCI 569. The MOOC itself is one about MInecraft for Educators. What I have found time to read and learn about MIneccraft has been interesting and educational, but I realized by the end of week 2, that all of my time was going into MInecraft. That is not my focus right now. I was spending the time allotted for 569 and 515 (my courses for the term) reading Minecraft, watching videos on Minecraft and trying to keep up with the conversations and community on the MOOC. When I got sick in January, I realized something fundamentally important. I simply cannot do all of this.

I ran away instead of facing my overwhelming feelings that I was a failure. I started watching Star Trek: TNG during my illness, and I continued to escape into that for at least an hour every evening. I started to play my absolute favourite computer game, SIMS 3, again. I escaped the overwhelming reality by running away into “happy places” and then had pangs of guilt later for not dealing with my reality. I even considered dropping out of the MEd program so that I could go back to a reality where I didn’t feel confused, lost and overwhelmed. My classroom became, for those 2 weeks in February, the only place I felt in control. Then I had THE day. As a Type 1 Diabetic, everything exploded. My blood sugars had a 24 hour period fo rampant 20’s. They should be between 4-10. I had high ketones, a condition called ketoacidosis was close to occurring. I “woke” up when my endocrinologist called with real concern for my readings.  My body was telling me something: Get It Together!

I’ve taken a week to really think about what I am doing and where I am at. I am not willing to drop out. I have worked too hard, made too many sacrifices and am enjoying the learning and camaraderie of my tiegrad cohort. But I am, despite the online presence of friends and the supportive words of my IRL friends, doing this on my own. I have no family to support me in my efforts, and I have to take care of myself first. SO I am dropping the MOOC, and I am releasing the guilt I feel and the sense of failure. I hope to take it again, when I have time to really investigate Minecraft and what can be done with it in a educational setting. I made a commitment to myself on August 20, 2014 and I’ve decided to recommit myself here. My Personal Learning Journey had begun before EDCI 569 started, but I was too scared to share it here with the people who I know will treat me gently. I know now that I need to share it here. I need to let my cohort into this part of my life see the other side of who I am. It’s not a FItbit journey, nor a meditative one, and it isn’t one about healthy eating. It’s my life journey.  My skill I’m learning isn’t just for 569, it’s for my life. So my new tag and my new category will be #Liane’sLife. I suppose the title could be: How Failure Became a Search for Balance. I hope you can help on my journey.

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10 thoughts on “Failure Is Not An Option

  1. tmackenzie2013 says:

    Great post Liane!
    There’s so much here worthy of multiple reads. FAIL, commending your colleagues, the control of your classroom, your bravery in letting one thing go (the MOOC) to focus on the most important thing (yourself). Good on ya and way to persevere. You rock.

  2. pixiebertha says:

    You got it girl. We need to support each other when we are feeling overwhelmed.. and I know there are many of us feeling the same way. You are not alone. This is a huge undertaking. I personally completely understand the feeling of sinking and trying to keep our heads above water. For me, it’s just the inability to have my checklist. I like to check things off, and with 50 articles hovering, it feels like that list is always on my shoulders. We will rock this though. You are not allowed to throw in the towel. No way, no how!!!!! Maybe we can start getting together on a Sat. or two. Burnham and I were talking about doing this.

    • Thanks, Tracey. I have been firmly told by Melody and Heidi that I am not allowed to drop. It just got really intense when I was sick and I have never really caught up since then. I feel completely supported by the cohort, and I have people in my life cheering me on. It’s the everyday stuff that is getting to me. Saturday chats sound awesome! Sometimes the informal chats are the best!

  3. We got your back Liane! Remember you can always turn to us for support! I hear you though! Sometimes I feel very overwhelmed with the amount of work hovering that it seems overwhelming to know where to start! Remind yourself that sometimes it is okay to step away and take a much needed break for fun! I have succumb to a few movie nights that became movie marathons. But it was my way to refocus and get back in the game. You will be far more energized when you return!

    Always remember Liane that we got this together!

    • Thanks, Lorrie! Just writing this post and admitting this has felt somehow freeing to me. I was able to focus more and know that the MOOC was off of the list. And, yes, breaks are good. Thanks again!

  4. jfong92 says:

    Hi Liane! We are totally on this journey together. Like Jake, your willingness to share is so brave. You are not alone in your feelings and the power of this community will help us through. I’ve contemplated the same choices you have and have often said, “I just want my life back.” We can get through this together with the help of those around us.

  5. hjames18 says:

    I am so happy that you made this decision and shared it publicly. I was impressed with Jake when he made the move. I am also proud of your words “releasing the guilt”. This may be something you have to do over and over. I find guilt a difficult thing to leave behind. I visualize it as baggage. And I repeatedly put it on the ground and walk away from it. That helps me!
    I’ve enjoyed following your other journey. I am glad that you are going to refocus your energies there. I’m glad that you will be including all of us in #Liane”sLife. See you there!

  6. Angela Dop says:

    Liane,

    What a wonderful post! Please know that we are all with you! My own feelings are echoed in your post…I am so worried about the parts of my life I am ignoring in order to finish this program and, like you, I know I’ve come to far to quit now. Thanks for sharing this most personal post!!

  7. Jane Rees says:

    #Liane’sLife is a life worth living! I hear your contemplation in your post and feel your relief in reading of your decision. Arguably, this learning is more powerful and certainly more relevant to you right now than a minecraft MOOC.
    We can’t do it all, and I just may reconsider my next steps as I feel overwhelmed the majority of my days. We are so together in this, and I am glad of that.

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