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Aug 10 2017
by Bre'Anna Grant

How One Cornell Alumna Showed Failure Doesn't Have to Define You

By Bre'Anna Grant - Aug 10 2017
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Failing is a part of life: the road to success is not a straight path. There are twists, turns and sudden drops, and that's just the way it is. Albert Einstein didn't speak until age four or read until age seven. Vincent van Gogh originally only sold ONE painting out of the 900 he made. As a sophomore, Michael Jordan was rejected from his high school's varsity basketball team. These were examples teachers and advisors used when they explained to me how successful people failed but to look where they are now.

Jessica Willett, an alumna of Cornell University, took a trip down memory lane to show people that despite failing a chemistry class, she still became a doctor.


"I'm actually on a road trip right now from the West Coast (I live in California) back to upstate New York where I went to undergrad because I finally am working my dream job and I've had to overcome a lot of failures to get there," Willett told Fresh U via Twitter direct messages. 

"This trip is a bit of a testament to all of that and to really remind myself how far I've come to get to where I am," Willett said. "I walked past that sign and it reminded me of how I felt when I felt like I would never make it and I would never have a chance to make my dreams come true – I wanted other people to see that it can happen."

Her inspirational tweet has received a lot of attention with over 6,100 retweets and 25,600 favorites, and Twitter users are loving it:


"Medicine wasn't my first major to start with. I had a career prior to that and a life and a job so when I chose medicine, I chose it with all my heart," Willett said. "Once I took that jump, I never looked back. I knew that giving up wasn't an option for me."

For those of you who struggle with failure, Willett leaves this message: "Each failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. It may not feel like it at the time, but it doesn't mean it's the end if you fail. There's always more than one way to reach a destination and sometimes if one way is blocked, it just means you have to find another way around."

Lead Image Credit: @jkwillettmd via Twitter

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Bre'Anna Grant - St. John's University

Bre'Anna is currently a sophomore at St. John's University. She is studying Journalism with an Italian minor with the intentions of becoming a reporter for CNN. In her free time, she loves to volunteer, read, write poetry and watch Bob's Burgers while drinking her favorite drink: lemonade. (Follow her on IG at @_bbaagg or on Twitter at @bbaagg_)

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