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Failure is one of the most difficult topics to discuss amongst students, especially those who are typically high achieving. But that was precisely what resident assistant and Honors College student Sweta Patel decided to set out to do earlier this month.

Identifying successful student leaders across Rutgers-New Brunswick, Patel invited Michael Anderson, Toni Gingerelli, Taylor Miller, and Justin Schulberg to sit on a panel to discuss their failures and, more importantly, the lessons they learned and how they overcame those challenges.

Over 50 students were in attendance to engage and learn as the panelists spoke passionately about how difficult it was to make mistakes, experience failure, and learn from those experiences.

“I think its really important to have these student leaders here talking about the times they didn’t do well,” said Honors College Residence Life Coordinator Heidi Nicklaus. “Maybe they interviewed for internship and didn’t get it. Or maybe they failed an exam, recovered and then learned from it. I think understanding other students’ resiliency and pushing past it would be very helpful for our students to reflect on.”

Newly constructed in 2015, the Honors College is a state-of-the-art residential and academic on-campus program. In the Honors College residence hall, Residence Life partners closely with academic departments from schools across all Rutgers–New Brunswick: School of Arts and Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, School of Engineering, Rutgers Business School, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, and Mason Gross School of the Arts. Each year, 500 students are invited to begin their four-year experience as part of the Honors College.

The Honors College also held a resident assistant and peer mentor led Stress Workshop (co-sponsored by Health Outreach Promotion & Education) on Oct. 12, SCREAM (Students Challenging Realities and Educating Against Myths) Theater performance on Oct. 17, and Rollin’ with Rejection (co-sponsored by Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance) on Oct. 18. A list of future events can be found here.

More information about the Honors College’s Learning from Failure panelists can be found below:

Justin Schulberg: Student Body President of Rutgers University Student Assembly, Vice President of Residence Hall Association, Vice President of Leadership & Development & Vice President of Administration for the Inter-Fraternity Council, senator on the University senate executive committee, Dance Marathon volunteer & dancer, Aresty research assistant, site leader for RU Alternative Breakers, and a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity.  

Michael Anderson: First Year Interest Group Seminar instructor, senior orientation leader, columnist for The Daily Targum, Rutgers Media Team intern, Scarlet Ambassador, and President of spoken word group, Verbal Mayhem.

Taylor Miller: Vice President of Rutgers No More Campaign, Dance Marathon emcee and RU4Kids liaison, Off-Campus Association liaison, Rutgers Media Team videographer, Violence Prevention Victim Assistance intern, and orientation team leader.

Toni Gingerelli: President of Rutgers Women’s Political Caucus, former President of Douglass Friends of United Nations Population Fund, Red Pine ambassador, resident assistant, Eagleton undergraduate associate, Institute for Women’s Leadership scholar and member of Cap & Skull Honor Society.