Don’t Fear Failure; You Can Do This!

Can you believe how fast the term is flying by? Wasn’t it New Year’s Day like a second ago? In this crazy fast paced environment, I want to talk to you all about taking care of yourselves. Usually, I like to pick a topic and go with it, but as the past few weeks have progressed, I really want to touch upon a few different things, and believe you me, it all comes from the bottom of my heart. We are at a point in the term where everything seems to have reached a lull. Midterms just went by and honestly, staying in bed through the class seems like the most tempting option. If you are like me and you love sleep, those 8:30 lectures seem like a real pain in the behind. So, here is the deal, this editorial is as much for me to write as it is for you to read. I am hoping for this to be a cathartic journey and we can come out of this together! Let’s dive in, shall we?

First things first, we are spinning at a hundred and ten thousand kilometres per hour around the sun. Do you realize how fast that is? Let’s put this into perspective. We walk at an average of 5 kilometres per hour. A cheetah, the fastest mammal on land, runs at only a hundred and twenty kilometres per hour.  You do not have to match the pace of the earth everyday. My point is, the days will go by faster than you can catch up to them sometimes, but don’t let that stop you from aiming high. Do not fear failure. I know professors are already distributing midterms and discussing everything with the class and telling you the class average on tests. It is possible that the class average is higher than your grade. But that is alright. The literal definition of a mean is the sum of all values divided by the number of values. Someone needs to be lower than the mean for the mean to exist. Hello? Math! What about the half of us who lie under mean? Yes, there are about half of us in every class and while class average is an estimate of how well the class performed as a whole, do we really need to slap ourselves against this standard wall to gauge our own, individual performance? I don’t think so.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t chase high grades! If that is what your goal is, then by all means, go out and kill it. I believe in you! But if that is not your goal, if you want to go out and take up extra curriculars, and if you want to have a better social life, and if you want to do anything more than just studying, then please, go out and do it as well. There are so many students out there who manage everything perfectly, or seemingly perfectly, with good grades and great extra curriculars. But there are also other who “give some and get some.” This isn’t to say that any one of those groups is more valid than the others. I just want you all to know that you can do whatever you want, and the fear of failure shouldn’t be stopping you from living your life the way you want to.

When I began this term, I had a specific goal in mind. I wanted to be a healthier person. I wanted to wake up every morning and grab a meal prepped lunch from the fridge and head to class with that everyday. Lo and behold, that lasted about a day into the new year. In fact, I barely wake up in time for me to wear actual pants to class. To all those people who are always dressed up in perfect clothes, with your hair all neat and tidy, I see you. I want to be you.

Needless to say, new year’s resolutions have a very low success rate. This isn’t just me talking, studies have shown that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them. Maybe pick a better time to begin something challenging for yourself. At the beginning of the year, all the gyms are crowded, all your friends are giving up their resolutions, how will you accomplish yours in that demotivating environment? Okay, maybe this is just a jab at myself. I have seen the face of a gym like five times since the new year. “I have been busy!” I keep telling myself.

Now that I have ranted about all the high expectations we have from ourselves, let me remind you all to take care of yourselves. Remember, this is as much of a learning experience for myself, as it is for you. So, take a seat, sit back and consume this class A media.

Number one. Consume good media (see what I did there?). This is not me judging you for your taste in media. This is me encouraging you to watch TV shows, or videos that you like. Listen to any podcasts that interest you. Read any kinds of books that you like. I am a softie for romantic comedies. I love comedy true crime podcasts. If you think that this is something you would enjoy, write back to me and I could give you some recommendations. Maybe you could recommend something to me! We need to take care of each other.

Number two. Create things. I cannot stress how accomplished you would feel if you complete a drawing, or one of those paint by number things. It doesn’t have to be something artsy, you could even just get yourself a colouring book or go attend Paint Night (EngSoc is hosting one soon). You can even write a poem or a prose. Just create things that your mind tells you to. I promise, you will feel really great about yourself afterwards.

Number three. Join a team. A lot of us can feel really alone in this environment. Joining a club or a team of some kind allows us to be engulfed by people who aren’t necessarily people we see in class. This could be something you love to do (join The Iron Warrior if you love to write, or draw, or take pictures, or just talk). This could also be something you want to build your skills in, like a design team. You will see yourself grow, and discover your potential once you begin to contribute in a team of people.

Number four. Schedule fun! What I like to do is to go through the Engineering Society’s Facebook page and browse through events that I may be interested in. I like to book my tickets in advance so that I can actually be hyped for the event for a couple of weeks before actually attending the event and they have always lived up to my hype. This also gives my friends enough time to latch on to my excitement and buy their own tickets as well. Really, you should try it.

Number five. Do you. No one really knows what they are talking about. You just have to take control of your own being and just roll with it. Want to wear make up to class? Great! Want to wear pajamas for pants? Also, great (maybe not in the cold, though)! Be proud of yourself in whatever you do. You have made it through so much and you will face many more obstacles. Be excited by that!

I don’t mean for this to be a preachy editorial. Like I said, this is me trying to tell myself to take it easy and also hoping that you guys would too. We have quite a walk ahead of us. Do not let university grades get you down. I have been here for almost four years, and I still haven’t recovered from the discrepancy between my high school and university grades. Just remember, that when failure does strike, and it will if you are on the right path, there is no shame in just getting up, dusting yourself off, and trying it all over again.

As always, if you want to send me any recommendations, or would like my recommendations from the limited amount of media I consume, or if you would just like to chat about the happenings of life, reach out to me at iwarrior@uwaterloo.ca.

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