Rebounding after a failure

Failure. A word that often resonates with disappointment, discouragement, and sometimes even despair.

Yet, at the core of every failure lies a remarkable opportunity: the chance to bounce back, to reinvent oneself, and to rise even higher than ever before.

What happened?

Failure, just like abandoning one’s studies, is rarely the result of a single cause but the accumulation of several.

Internal factors:

  • educational project not properly thought out, hesitation between several study choices
  • lack of commitment and motivation, lack of maturity, low inclination for effort, lack of self-confidence, fear of exams
  • problems in learning how to be a student
  • insufficient intellectual skills: school baggage, prerequisites, working methods (taking notes, listening, memorising, exam preparation)
  • inadequate personal skills: time management, concentration, emotional control
  • cultural or geographical gap
  • personal or financial problems

External factors:

  • study year, study Programme
  • studying conditions, supervision by the professors or assistants
  • relevance of study plans, overloaded study programmes, ambiguous requirements by the professors
  • exam selectiveness

What’s the feeling?

A failure:

  • is a painful experience
  • touches one’s self-esteem and invites judgment by others
  • is painful in a social context of performance, professional success and profitability
  • leaves one feeling surprised, helpless, shocked, sad or panic-stricken
  • leads to demotivation, loss of self-confidence, questioning one’s abilities
  • is a situation where it is difficult to take stock
  • may leave one unable to look for the necessary help or information
  • causes a questioning of one’s choice of education, obliges one to let go of a professional and personal project

Rediscovering meaning and glimpsing possibilities

To move forward, oneneed to rediscover meaning and glimpse the possibilites. To do this, it is essential to :

  1. manage your stress
  2. strengthen your self-esteem
  3. develop your resources
  4. readjust your goals
  5. define an action plan
  6. embrace change with confidence

If you would like some help in clarifying your situation and/or getting started, please do not hesitate to contact the social consultation.


Social consultation

Social advisors are available to offer you support, work with you to find personalized solutions and refer you to the right specialists if necessary.

Transversal Skills and Career Center

The Career Center offers many services to EPFL students willing to prepare themselves for their entry in the labour market. They can take advantage of them during their studies and up to 6 months after graduation.