If there’s one thing high school doesn’t prepare you for, it’s failure. Somewhat inevitable, but it remains a hardship many of us have to face. Although it may be assumed that failed assignments or exams make up this humbling experience, it can come from so much more. Whether you are rejected from a club or volunteer role, or you can’t seem to land a university job, these losses can feel extremely isolating. Thus, I have compiled some resources and strategies I go to when I find myself in this ‘failure limbo.’
1. Remind yourself of your successes
I have found this strategy to be one of the best grounding techniques. It sounds simple, but it is difficult to remind yourself of your accomplishments when you’ve suffered a loss. For me, I think about how far I have come since high school. Even if I fail, the fact that I literally or figuratively ‘put myself out there’ is a win all on its own. When you take a risk, such as a creative twist on an assignment, you learn no matter the outcome.
2. Confide in someone (or something?)
Using my loved ones as a resource is a hard task, so trust me when I say sometimes I need to take my own advice. But in the times when I have trusted and confided in someone, I have felt immensely better. The validation of my emotions is unmatched, and having someone listen can go a long way (thank you to my sister, Katelyn, who inspired this article). If not someone, then perhaps something, writing down your emotions in a journal could help you process your emotions.
3. Think about something neW
After a failure of any kind, I have found it continuously hard for my thoughts to move on. Of course, as I mentioned in my last point, it is important to feel your emotions through. But once enough time has passed, moving your energy into a new project can help you prepare for the long road of failures and successes ahead. If you failed your recent midterm, focus on your next assignment, or put more energy into a hobby or other activity. Finding a balance between distraction and newfound motivation can be tough, and thus a skill I have yet to master.
After first reading these points I hope you are reminded that everyone fails. There are many corny quotes I could add in, but I am sure you’ve heard them all before. Although the premise that everyone fails may not seem to evoke feelings of unity with the world, it is something to consider when you are recovering from a hardship. We all start somewhere, and I love to reflect on how far I’ve grown, especially since starting university. As Journey once said, “Don’t Stop Believin’.”