I’m thinking about what I’m going to write for this post and I realised that a lot of my posts on this blog is more personal and more about myself while Val’s is a lot about what’s happening in her life and more intellectual things. I’m just a lot more inclined to share about how I feel when it comes to blogging simply because I’ve done it so much before. Every time I’ve ever blogged in the past it’s always been about my feelings.
I was going to write something about the 10 things I learnt in my first year at uni but it’s just a bit dull and tedious so I’m just gonna focus on one thing – how to fail. Ok for real like I’m not a stranger to this concept; I’ve never been ‘the best’ at anything. Even when it came to English lit in IB despite getting the highest grade in a class (of 10 people) more than once I’ve gotten to far up my own ass and failed a few essays just because I got overconfident. Same thing also happened with my actual IB results when everyone was expecting me to get low 40s I ended up getting a subpar high 30s. And then there was me having to go through swallowing my pride and going to school and ask for teachers to help me appeal to Durham.
Uni kinda continued with that trend. It’s easy to think you’re doing fairly well and get overconfident then suddenly drop and underperform. Or even when you think that you’ve gotten a pretty good first class honours for an essay, a decent 71%, and your pride kind of takes a hit when someone else reacts with ‘Oh! You did really well’ and then when you ask them what they’ve got they tell you they got a 76%. Things like applying for Frep (Fresher’s Rep) when everyone thought you’d be good for the part, going into it full of expectations, and being the only one in your friend group to not get the role and feeling such a horrible twang in your chest when you find out. And then there’s going to be those type of people that infuriates you to the core telling you that they probably failed the exam, when in truth they did really well and bagged a first.
SO having experienced all that, I feel like the most important thing I’ve learnt in Uni or even this past calendar year is how to fail and cope with failure. Right from the start, it’s so important to understand that what’s good for your standard could be different for someone else’s. Wanting to do well just because someone else is doing better should never be the sole motivator. Work hard and do well because you want to improve and perform to the best of your ability. The motivator for doing well should always come from within you and not to spite someone else or prove your ability to someone else.
And don’t compare. There are going to be people in your class that only need 2 hours to spit out a first class essay and you might need 4 days to barely reach a 2:1. Do what you need to do for yourself. If you constantly compare yourself to other people’s standards then you’re never going to reach your own. Focus on yourself and bettering yourself than what everyone else is doing. In that way when you do reach your goal you’ll feel satisfied and content with how far you’ve come.
There’s no point in comparing yourself to other people because there is always ALWAYS going to be people who are better than you. I say this about physical appearance, academics, wit, social life etc. There are more important things than constantly aiming to be the best. There isn’t even a need to be the best in everything you’re just gonna be so dissatisfied and constantly disappointed. And if you have that mentality every failure that you encounter – which is inevitable – is going to hit you twice as hard because you realise ‘the best’ is so far away from what your standard is, which, let’s be real, isn’t even that bad. I mean like, coming to Uni it’s a huge shock because what you thought you were good at in high school and what you thought made you special isn’t all that impressive. Everyone is good at what you’re good at. It’s that whole being a big fish in a small pond thing.
I guess the main thing I learnt about failure thus far and the thing that stuck to me most is that while it will happen, and while it will mess you up a little (or as much as you let it), you gotta look at the bigger picture and realise that life goes on and you need to pull yourself back up. I vividly remember the day that we received the emails referring to our Frep applications (everyone in my friend group applied) I was in bed taking a nap before someone’s college wedding (it was massive and a lot of people would be there). I saw the title and the snippet of the email going like “I regret to inform you” and like, the first thing I felt wasn’t even disappointment? It was ‘how am I going to go out and face everyone and tell them, when they ask (which they will), whether or not I got frep?’. I genuinely felt sick in the stomach and considered not going out to the college wedding that night. Just the thought of people going like ‘oh vic I’m so sorry’ or ‘I feel so bad for you’, or having to actually be happy for people who got it and are yelling like ‘omg i didn’t even expect to get it’ it’s tough man. I almost decided to lock myself up and not tell anyone ugh.
But the fact is though, people were going to ask and find out anyways. And I told myself it’s not the end of the world. Everyone at the wedding will probably have gotten it and gotten accepted, and people will ask. But I’m not going to let this one failure or my pride dictate whether or not I get to go to this party/wedding. I got rejected, it’s fine, I’m going to suck it up and people are going to be happy and I’m going to have to be happy for them. The hardest thing I learnt through this was putting aside my pride. That whole process of people asking ‘hey did you get it? *happy tone*’ and me going ‘nah I didn’t’ and they being like ‘oh sorry *pity tone*’ and not being sure how to react. It’s hard to put aside your pride and be like ‘i didn’t get it yeah, I am sad and bummed I really wanted to get it’ rather than ‘I didn’t get it it’s fine I didn’t want it anyways’. Life goes on and there’s no point in acting like you don’t care when it does bother you. Because that’s humility (and it was so difficult to come to terms with it).
OK I feel like I sound so headass lmao but I mean these are things that I had to learn and they’re life skills yeah. It’s accepting the outcome/result and then learning how to move on and deal with it. Failing at things isn’t the thing that’s the most important; it’s how you deal with it that speaks the most. YAY