IAP 2024 Workshop Series
Selected dates: January 9-26
During your time at MIT, have you ever faced a challenge and wished you could share what you learned with peers?
Join us for the Flipping Failure IAP Workshop Series! Flipping Failure is a collection of stories told by MIT students about the challenges they have faced while at MIT. The goal of this community initiative is to support students’ sense of belonging at MIT. It provides visibility to stories of challenge and resilience so that we can begin shifting the conversation around struggle from a source of shame to a source of learning and growth. The workshop series will be a guided process of reflection and discovery to craft and record your unique story in a small cohort of MIT undergraduate and graduate students. You do not need any prior knowledge or storytelling experience to participate.
Duration and time commitment
Approximately 10 hours of in-person meetings in total with lunch provided:
- Tuesday, January 9, 2024 from 11am – 2pm (in person); Lunch break included
- Thursday, January 11, 2024 from 11am – 2pm (in person); Lunch break included
- Tuesday, January 16, 2024 from 11am – 2pm (in person); Lunch break included
- 1.5-hour individual meeting scheduled at a time that works for you during the week of Jan 22 – 26
Benefits of participation
By participating in this series of workshops, you will have the opportunity to:
- Reflect on the meaning of your past challenges and your coping strategies
- Take a creative approach to storytelling in a highly collaborative and supportive environment
- Connect with a small cohort of peers at MIT, hear their stories, and support their storytelling process
- Help other students recognize and accept challenges as a normal part of academic transitions rather than as signs they don’t belong at MIT (through exposure to your story)
- Engage with resources to support your well-being
You can hear past Flipping Failure storytellers share their reflections on the value of the storytelling workshop series in the video at the bottom of this page.
Who should participate
Any undergraduate and graduate student interested in sharing their experience of challenge during their time at MIT, particularly through a creative lens. Participants will work with a storytelling coach and videographer to craft their stories and turn them into creative video narratives. These narratives will be shared with the MIT community through the Flipping Failure website. We hope that hearing peers talk about their struggles and the adaptive strategies they used to cope will help other students find and navigate their own path through challenges with resilience and self-compassion.
You do not need any prior knowledge or storytelling experience to participate. The goal of this workshop series is to help you craft a narrative based on your own experience. No prior experience with crafting narratives, recording video or audio, or being on camera is expected or required. A professional storytelling coach and videographer, who has worked with nationally known storytelling enterprises (e.g., The Moth, The Story Collider), will guide you through the process of crafting and recording your story and will edit your video to make you look and sound your best.
Please note that to establish a close-knit cohort and provide adequate coaching;
- space is limited and
- attendance is required for all workshops.
We welcome stories of ALL challenges that have occurred while at MIT. MIT undergraduate and graduate students have also expressed interest in stories that address challenges in navigating professor/advisor relationships, searching for internships and academic jobs, deciding among different career paths (for example, industry vs. academia), or balancing work and life, as these challenges are not as well represented on the Flipping Failure site.
If you have experienced academic challenges at MIT but are not sure whether any of them would count as a “story,” we encourage you to apply anyhow. The workshop includes coaching to help you shape your narrative, and sometimes small, seemingly inconsequential moments turn into powerful stories of resilience.
What to expect during the workshop series
- The workshop series will combine exercises in observation, mindfulness, and journaling with instruction in crafting a narrative. Guidance and feedback on the crafting and shaping of your story will be provided.
- The majority of the time in workshops will be spent working on your stories and recordings. There will also be optional experimentation and brief exercises that you may complete on your own each week.
No special tools are required. Any additional materials you need will be provided to you by us.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I don’t have a specific story to tell?
That is okay! Some participants come with a specific story in mind, whereas others have a vague sense of a challenge or period of growth that they want to share, but have no idea how to form it into a story. If you have faced any sort of challenge or setback at MIT, the workshop process can help you form that experience into a story.
What if I don’t have storytelling experience?
No experience is necessary! Flipping Failure storytelling workshops are led by an experienced storytelling coach, who will guide you through the process of shaping and sharing a compelling narrative. As long as you are open to learning, you are qualified and encouraged to participate.
What do you mean by “failure”?
We define “failure” as the gap between an expected outcome and the actual outcome. This definition applies to a stereotypical academic failure, such as studying hard for a test only to score poorly, but it can also be a side effect of adjusting to a new environment, reconciling one’s identity with the real or perceived expectations of others, or coming to terms with the fact that an overwhelming lifestyle is not sustainable. When we “flip” failure, we transform it from being an identity or burden we carry (i.e. “I am a failure.”) to an opportunity, however unpleasant, to recalibrate our actions or expectations. Despite being stigmatized, failure is a core part of MIT’s culture, from its critical role in the iterative processes of science and invention to the MIT Values Statement, which notes that “We accept the risk of failing as a rung on the ladder of growth.” Moreover, the movement to normalize and share experiences of failure is a nationwide movement in higher education, for both students and professors.
Who is the audience for these stories?
While the stories are visible online and may be viewed by anyone, the target audience is current MIT students, both graduate and undergraduate.
What if I have privacy concerns?
You decide what to share (and what not to share) in your story from the start. All stories are published under first names only, which prevents them from appearing in a web search of the participants’ names, but storytellers’ faces are shown in the videos and less common names may still be searchable. If you would like to share your story but require a greater level of anonymity to feel comfortable doing so, please contact email@example.com to discuss options.
What control do I have over how the final video is shared?
Before a video is published, the Flipping Failure team shares the final version with the storyteller to review. At this point, storytellers may approve the video as is or request edits. There may also be other opportunities to share feedback during the video editing process. All final videos are then posted to the Flipping Failure YouTube channel and the Flipping Failure website, and the videos may be referenced on or embedded in other sites, particularly wellness-focused websites run by other MIT offices.
Before recording begins, we require that all participants sign a media release form. While this grants MIT permission to use and repost your story, we work with participants to ensure that you are comfortable with what is shared in your story. While most Flipping Failure storytellers have been very happy with the final stories without any requested changes, we have worked with some storytellers to edit the title of their challenge and to change the imagery or videos used in their stories. If you have any concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.