How to Mitigate Your Fear of Finals: Celebrity Failure Stories

“I’m going to fail my finals.” You can see this thought permeating the minds of everyone on campus as we all struggle to get past these last couple weeks of craziness before being able to embrace the sweet freedom that is holiday break.

Chances are, we will all do just fine on our finals. But on the off chance that you don’t, take that failure and wear it with pride! These failures are not in any way a determination of your success in life. Don’t believe it? Here are some people whom you may have heard of who didn’t let “miniscule” disappointments get in the way of their goals.

Oprah Winfrey

Moms love her. Kids love her. Let’s be real, we all love her. Or at least, we want to be her. It’s no doubt that the name Oprah has been cemented into everyone’s household. But she, like everyone, has had her fair share of failures. After becoming not only the youngest, but also the first female African-American anchor at the WLAC-TV station in Nashville and reporting there for a few years, Winfrey got offered a co-news anchor position in Baltimore, Maryland; however, her emotional investment in reporting news stories was deemed unsuitable and she was fired just seven and a half months into the gig. But did Oprah let that stop her? (No) The correct answer is no! YOU GET A CAR! She went on to launch The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986, and is considered by some to be the most influential woman in the world. She’s a billionaire, talk show host, producer, actress, philanthropist- need I say more? Basically, she’s anything and everything one could hope to be. And she’s failed, so don’t feel bad.

        “So go ahead, fall down. The world looks different from the ground.”    (~catchy~ and inspirational)

Bill Gates

After a failed business attempt (ever heard of Traf-O-Data?...exactly) and dropping out of Harvard, things weren’t sounding too boast-worthy for this twenty-something year old Seattleite (Seattlean?). Yet, Gates stayed true to his love of computer programming and co-founded the world’s largest software business that is known and beloved by many today as Microsoft, becoming known as the world’s youngest self-made billionaire at the age of 31.

    "It's fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure." 

J.K. Rowling

Before she found success with the wildly popular Harry Potter series, Rowling described that certain period of her life as hitting rock bottom. As a newly divorced parent of an infant daughter, Rowling suffered with severe depression as she struggled to support herself and her daughter on welfare. She was even fired from her job as a secretary with Amnesty International after her employers discovered her writing stories on the clock. Through these hardships, Harry Potter was born. Even after multiple rejections from publishing companies, Rowling persisted and finally sold the first book for an equivalent sum of about $4,000. Now, her net worth is estimated by Forbes to be around $1 billion.

     “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.”

Jon Stewart

Oh yes. The most trusted name in fake news as well as one of the most trusted names in actual news did not do so hot at his alma mater. This College of William and Mary alum described his undergraduate career as “waking up late, memorizing someone else’s notes, doing bong hits, and going to soccer practice.” Not one to be defined by this, Stewart went on to find his stride in comedy. After a variety of odd jobs in New York City, he created The Jon Stewart Show- MTV’s first talk show. Presently, he is the host of that little known program The Daily Show on Comedy Central.

“College is something you complete. Life is something you experience. So don’t worry about your grade, or the results or success. Success is defined in myriad ways, and you will find it, and people will no longer be grading you, but it will come from your own internal sense of decency…”

Ahh so many failures, but so much success to be had from it. It kind of makes finals seem a little less daunting, eh? No? Well, regardless of the copious amounts of stress that will inevitably attack you in the following weeks, know that you are in good company. And if you don’t get everything perfect? 

Happy finals studying!