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How I learned to start letting go of the past

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

It can be hard to move forward when everything that has happened drags you down. You see flashbacks of your past everywhere you go — whether that may be the Tim Hortons Double Double coffee you order every morning or the classmate with the purple sweater sitting across from you. 

Within these moments, you can’t stop worrying about the consequences. Darn, I should have done this, instead of that, you think to yourself. 

Despite whatever it may be, it’s important to remember that what happened in the past was out of your control. 

I experienced these doubts during my summer job. When I was hired as a summer camp coordinator, I had the option to choose between two locations and picked the one closest to my house. However, I later realized I should’ve chosen the other one instead. 

When I picked the location at first, I thought everything seemed fine: The staff was conversing with and supporting one another. However, I later realized that the situation was much more complex. Most of the staff had a tough time dealing with the site’s manager, citing that he was too demanding. He also appeared quite moody, shown by his on-and-off nature. Sometimes, he would chat with his colleagues, while on other occasions, he wouldn’t talk to anyone.

As someone new to the site, I wasn’t aware of these situations at first.

The manager and I got along at the beginning. Sure, we had our disagreements, but who doesn’t? However, a few weeks later, I realized I wasn’t supported enough throughout my job. My role required me to have access to a computer, but my manager couldn’t grant me access, no matter how much I asked him. 

Sometimes, the manager would make inappropriate comments towards me, making me feel uncomfortable. These comments mainly regarded my appearance and personality and made me feel uneasy; they distracted me from doing my job properly. 

Maybe you have felt the same way after a jarring event. You don’t see it coming, yet it does, leading you astray. You then wonder whether things could have turned out differently if you chose a different path.  

When the last day of camp came, that’s what I wondered. I thought to myself, what would have happened if I had chosen the other location? Why did I make my decision based on convenience?  

But I later realized that camp was temporary. I only held the job for a few months of my life, so it shouldn’t affect my future decisions.  

In fact, I learned that my future decisions depend on my perspective and mindset. It involves getting out of my comfort zone and using my previous experiences to expand my skills. 

Sure, the camp was terrible. But, it allowed me to gain problem-solving skills and learn to adapt to different environments. For example, when I didn’t have access to a computer, I learned how to prepare my administrative work with pen and paper and faxed the documents to my supervisor. These skills help me deal with issues in university, prompting me to look for solutions instead of challenges. 

So, when something terrible happens, not all is lost. From that experience, you become stronger and learn to understand yourself better. You learn what was and wasn’t right for you. You also eliminate yourself from a negative situation. 

In the end, these challenging events let you know you’re ready to move to the next step. When you work towards something, you’re no longer similar to the person you were in the past because these challenges help you grow as a person. You’re writing your new chapter in life. 

Ultimately, this new chapter turns into a book with a happy ending.

Candice Zhang

Toronto MU '26

Retail Management student at TMU who loves coffee and writing more than people.