Technically, I am supposed to be writing a meditation blog post this week, but I had a, well, interesting experience this past week that gave me a lot to think about mindset wise and I thought I would share. There’s not going to be any researched tips or tricks in this blog post, just my thoughts and opinions based on my own personal experiences. But, hey, I have some good thoughts and opinions…sometimes!
The lesson I learned this past week had to do with failure, and I know I’ve written about failure in the past and how to deal with it and I even mentioned some stories from times in my life when I, personally failed, but this past week, I failed, and I failed badly.
As you may know, I am a Biochemistry major which means my strong suits are biology and chemistry, and most certainly NOT physics. But, unfortunately for some reason, my school requires me to take physics in order to graduate so here I am taking general physics as a Junior. We had our first exam of the semester last week and it was in two parts, part one on Wednesday and Part 2 on Friday. As you guys may know or may be experiencing yourselves, online classes mean online tests, and online tests mean you know the score of your tests immediately after you complete it. This can be either good or bad, but in my case on Wednesday it was bad. Long story, short, as I said, Physics is not my strong suit and I ended up scoring a 25% on part one of the exam.
Yeah…not so great, I know. And to my surprise, my friends in the class didn’t do that badly or even close to that badly either so I knew it wasn’t as much my professors’ fault as it was mine. And most importantly, I knew the curve wouldn’t help me enough.
I had never done that badly on a test in college before and I honestly didn’t really know how to react to it. I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry underneath my bed. Then eventually, I just said, “fuck it” and thought “well there’s no point in studying for part 2 of the exam, I’ll just fail physics and take it over the summer.” Then I realized that wasn’t a realistic option and I was back to crying under the bed. I felt like shit. I felt dumb. I felt anxious. I felt defeated. I had legitimately studied for this test and given it my all and “my all” was a 25%.
But then I realized I had this unique opportunity. I didn’t have to wait weeks until the next exam to prove to myself that I was smart and knew the material, I had two days. So, I pulled myself together, tuned down the self-deprecation just a little and started studying hard. I spent all Thursday afternoon studying (after going to the gym of course). I did practice problem after practice problem after practice problem. I won’t lie to you, it was hard. And every time I got a practice problem wrong, I just felt more defeated and my goal seemed more pointless and unreachable. But I kept pushing and trying and doing practice problems.
And then Friday came. My 9am, online, Physics Exam 1, Part 2. My heart was racing. My hands were sweating. I shakenly clicked “Begin Exam,” took a deep breath and read the first question. To my surprise, I knew exactly how to do it! Then I knew how to do the second one too! The third one was just like a practice problem I had done earlier! Before I knew it, I ended up with a 100% on part 2 of the exam!! (that brings my overall grade to a whopping 67% but we’re not gonna focus on that)
I know all that is easier said than done and I didn’t really provide you guys with any actionable strategies to deal with failures, but if I can do it, so can you! Always remember to not give up, but most importantly, remember that it is just one test. One failure does not define you. Hell, multiple failures don’t define you. We all fail, in all parts of life, all the time. What defines you is how you react to those failures. Are you going to curl up in a ball and cry underneath your bed or are you going to work your ass off and do better the next time you face that challenge again? The decision is yours...
A special thank you to all my friends and family who have not only supported me on my journey but have helped along the way. None of this would be possible without them. Remember to take time to appreciate those in your lives!
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