Try Everything

I’ve been in admissions for nearly 20 years and in my current role for over half that time. At a recent scholarship dinner, a parent asked me what I like to do for fun. My response was simple. I have a five-year-old daughter and my time away from work pretty much revolves around however she’d like to spend time together as a family.

Needless to say, there are a lot of animated movies and shows in my world. I couldn’t name five movies featuring live actors, but I’m up on my characters and theme songs from dozens of animated shows and films, not to mention hours of Pandora kids music.

So, let’s talk about Zootopia. Honestly, the movie was not my favorite, but that theme song. If The Office of Admissions had a theme song, this would be it!

I won’t give up, no I won’t give in

Till I reach the end

And then I’ll start again

Though I’m on the lead

I wanna try everything

I wanna try even though I could fail

It’s almost as if Shakira works in higher education! Most of the work we do in admissions is the same from year to year. It’s one big circle—get to the end, start again. On our team we are constantly assessing what works, what doesn’t, what we should try again—or not. Some people could view this as a drag, but really, it’s not. Every year, we get a clean slate. We get to try new things. Different things. Better things. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. The point is, we try everything. Even though we could fail.

My staff and I talk a lot about the power of failing and the benefit of failing forward—taking what could be a negative experience and learning from it to improve for the next time. We are fortunate to have upper administration who allow us to experiment and take risks. They know everything might not work, but they trust us to learn and change course if we need to.

Sometimes we know what works and sometimes we’re the little bunny with big dreams. The important thing is we try everything—at least once—and know that if it fails, it’s okay. There’s always next year to start again.