This is the third finalist in our “celebrating failure” competition. At the end of the post, the instructor from the student’s section explains what they liked this entry. A vote on the winner among the four finalists will start July 10 on

Student’s Name: Morgan Welch

Failure is a very necessary stepping stone in the learning process. Without failing, we would never know what revisions to make in order to better advance our goals and objectives. We also would be blind to better alternatives! What if we always succeeded, even when not trying our best? What if receiving the minimum reward possible meant we didn’t fail? What would motivate us to strive for bigger and better things, and how would we be able to see the alternative paths leading to those bigger accomplishments if we always succeeded taking the lower, easier paths? In my opinion, we would never find those paths, and never accomplish bigger goals for ourselves, if we never at first failed.

I have personal experience to support my theory. I am an equestrian, and as my fellow equestrians know, riding horses is not a hobby, but a grand (expensive) lifestyle. Being raised by a single mother, money was not always an abundant resource, so to manage my lifestyle, I worked full-time at the barn I rode at for 12 years. When I graduated high school in 2009, I decided I wanted to become a Knight (not because of the mascot, although it did reaffirm my decision). Shortly after, I learned of the equestrian team at UCF. Then, much to my dismay, I learned what it cost to be on the equestrian team, and though I was accustomed to high expenses regarding the sport, it just wasn’t something my mom and I could afford.

Four years later, I decided that I had done enough waiting, and it was time for me to try out for the team, whether I could afford it or not! Out of 50 contestants, I was one of the 12 picked to join the team. August 2012 is when the shows (and expenses) started. I knew I could only do one semester without a sponsorship or scholarship. So began my journey to find a way to afford the team.

I started off by creating a sponsorship packet because even though the team offers two scholarships, I figured a sponsor would be a quicker way to find money. In my request for sponsorship packet, I included background information on the sport, information about the team, information about me, and information regarding costs. I had a list of over 50 companies which I called and hounded with questions. Surprisingly, I received a few interviews! I was quite anxious to find out the results, but I never got any calls back. So all I had left to rely on were the scholarships offered through the team. I worked for a week trying to write the best essays I could. I, of course, thought they were great, and was really excited to hear good news. However, disappointment hit again. Girls who were veterans to the team ended up receiving the scholarships. I worked very hard for the Fall semester to try to find money to able to stay on the team for the Spring semester, yet still ended up having to step down from the team.

Even though this is a failure for me on the outside, I don’t see it as one on the inside. The experience taught me how to run after something I want. Next time, I will be more prepared when an opportunity like that happens for me!

Instructor Comments: I think this response is the best from this section because her story is compelling (she works hard to pursue her passion for riding horses but with little funding) as well as believable. She seems determined to find a way to achieve her goals. I also think it was well written.

Paul Jarley, Ph.D., is the dean of the UCF College of Business Administration. He blogs every week at This post appeared on June 26, 2013. Follow him on Twitter @pauljarley