A Constructive Failure

Hesam Andalib
3 min readApr 25, 2020


“in success you usually learn very little but in failure you learn a lot” Lino Guzzella

My wall of Mistakes

Why I write this post?

This is my story of constructive failure!

Let’s start from the end. These are the key takeaways of my story:

  • Start the competition even if you’re not fully prepared
  • Ask others for honest feedback (and many will not respond)
  • Rejections make you more powerful if you look in the right way
  • Every mistake is a gem, build a wall of mistakes
  • Self-doubt is great if you doubt at your skills not at your capabilities

Here is my story:

  1. Let’s set the stage

Nine months ago, I moved to the US to start my education in UX at the UT. After a couple of months, I realized that there is a competition for getting summer internships that had already started from the beginning of the semester. But I didn’t have any portfolio pieces yet! So I was just working hard to make something and craft a portfolio and join the race ASAP. I was told that just having a portfolio is enough and no need to be perfect at this point!

2. Mass Apply

I started applying to every open position. No wonder, I only had rejections. I was told “Don’t be discouraged, keep up applying! That’s how things work here!” and I did so but nothing changed!

3. Self-doubt

I was thinking of what is wrong with me. I started revising myself, what I had and what I didn’t. I asked everyone I knew to comment on my portfolio. I even cold messaged professionals on LinkedIn asking for help. I got a very little number of responses, but they were enough to learn why I wasn’t prepared for the competition.

4. The Pandemic: Time to revise my purpose

While I was learning more and making things better on my portfolio, the world changed. Many companies canceled internships, job postings disappeared. There were not too many options to go for. It was frustrating, but it was a time to think more as well. I thought many companies that I applied for were not the ones that I would be happy to work at! Why did I do that? Does having an internship is enough? The answer is no! I don’t want to be chosen. I want to choose.

5. Wall of mistakes

Now after months of working continuously and revising everything from the beginning, I got to a point where I feel learned a lot. My portfolio is now in a stage where I can talk to top industry professionals about the details of my projects and learn from them and I am so grateful for their time and care.I discover my mistakes and stick them to a wall I named as my wall of mistakes. Every mistake is a learning opportunity. I consider this stage an achievement for myself and keep going in this way.

Here is the list of people who helped me in this way and I will keep updating this list for myself to remember:

Eric Nordquist , A. Fleming Seay, Elizabeth Young, Apurva Gupta, Esteban Pérez-Hemminger, Amanda Lumley, Xuan Zhu, Daniel Kramer, Sashank Macharla, Criss Cheng, Chelsea (Ward) Knauf