So many parts of our lives are about getting some sort of result or another… whether it be in terms of our academic and professional careers, our fitness goals, or little changes we make for ourselves day to day, we’re always striving toward a goal.
The majority of the time, whether they be big or small victories, we succeed in smashing our goals and achieving what we work towards, and I think this motivates us to keep going and not give up on ourselves.
Saying that though, sometimes life just wants to f*ck with us and we end up not getting what we want, even if we’ve worked ridiculously hard for it. Take a piece of writing I had to do for university for example. While everyone was still away enjoying their term abroad during summer last year, I was at University, sitting in the library and doing as much reading and research as I could. The process? Five months of hard work to all be over within minutes on the last Monday of January as I handed in my bound copy of my essay as well as submitting the electronic copy online.
Then came the waiting. Waiting and waiting and WAITING. Our result was supposed to come out two weeks ago. By last Tuesday I got impatient of hearing about others getting their grades back while everyone else who had done their work in my department of University hadn’t heard anything. Not a peep. Not a clue. I asked my tutor, and he promised results by last Thursday. That came and went. Then Friday. I didn’t even want to think about it over the weekend as there was definitely no chance of hearing from a tutor then.
Monday came round and I was getting angrier by the minute, any sense of stress I had toward the mark I may have receive giving way to frustration that no one seemed to be communicating with us.
Then Tuesday. I rocked up to uni, took my usual seat next to my friend, and went about class just like every other Tuesday. We went through class, learning vocabulary and phrases to help us in our test next week, and at the end of class, we were told our results had been emailed to us.
The grade was not what I expected it to be.
I had worked so incredibly hard, and had been so passionate and excited about what I was writing about, and, though I didn’t expect an A, my eventual grade was painfully disappointing.
I had two options.
- I could go home, kick of my clothes, get into my pyjamas, switch off my phone, get into bed and cry about it.
2. I could pull myself together, put it to the back of my head and focus on the exam I had coming up the next day.
Usually, I’ve always gone for the first option.
Working so bloody hard and not getting what I was hoping in return was such a slap in the face I felt it justified moping around and wallowing in my own self pity and sadness.
But I’ve come to realise it really doesn’t. Switching off and being sad doesn’t help matters in the slightest. I phoned my boyfriend, and told him what had happened, and he just said ‘Forget about what’s happened today. Go home, have a cuppa, have a little break and start getting your head down for tomorrow’s exam.’ Which was the best advice he could’ve given me. He didn’t encourage tears, he didn’t badmouth the teachers and get angry with me about the unfairness of the result. He merely reminded me that there was literally nothing I could do to change it.
So what is the point in crying when the end result won’t change? I’d just be wasting my time. I gathered myself together, went home and had lunch, before starting a long and gruelling cramming session for Wednesday’s test. And I’m so happy I did.
Had I gone home and cut myself off from the rest of the world, I would have done absolutely nothing to help myself pass the upcoming exam, which would have obviously led to another bad result. I knew it would be a vicious cycle I wouldn’t get out of until I decided to do what was best. I felt prepared for the exam the next day, and actually breathed a sigh of relief as soon as it was over, knowing I could take the rest of the night off and not feel guilty.
The main thing I learned here was… no matter whether our main goals in life are academic, fitness related, relationship orientated or work based, we can’t always get the results we want. Life will knock us for six every once in a while, but the thing to do is not wallow in self pity and despair, but to get back up on our feet, brush ourselves off, smile, and get on with it.