The pass list for my course at university was released last week and we now know our results, whether we will have to retake and if we will be proceeding to the next year. It was such a bittersweet moment as I was so pleased that I had done well but also so sad that many of my friends were unhappy. I find it really hard to feel joy when people I care about cannot share in it with me.
Throughout the years I’ve always found that very short periods of intense revision works for me and has led to my best performance. However, it is usually not a pretty process and during exam season I was an absolute mess – this is what happens when you give yourself two weeks to cover an entire year’s worth of work. I lived in the library on diet coke, haribos starmix and hungryhouse take outs. I cannot believe it is only first year and does not even count. I wonder what I will be like when my results actually matter. My craziness even found its way onto “Spotted at Warwick”. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is a Gossip Girl style Facebook page where people send in funny things they witness around campus so I’m now basically kind of a big deal (I jest) …
Not too long ago, I was given the most awesome t-shirt with the slogan “not my worst day” on the front of it. It was given to me by an uncle and was based on the title of his book about motivation, personal struggles and overcoming adversity which he also gave me. It really inspired me and formulated a mindset that helped me when tackling imminent deadlines and revision. Unbeknownst to my uncle these kind gifts got me through a difficult phase. Isn’t it crazy, how people can affect our lives without even knowing it at all? Feel free to look it up if you would like to find out more about the book but that is not the what this post is about. The phrase, “not my worst day” has been lingering in my head long after exams and I think it is something a lot of people can learn from.
Amidst results coming out and many of my close friends and family going through other forms of their own difficulties, it is so easy to feel disillusioned with life. Life sucks sometimes. I was recently talking to a good friend who has failed an important exam and it made me feel so sad as we spent hours in the library together and he worked so hard and he deserved to do well. Sometimes I just cannot understand why certain things happen in life but he did say something that stunned me:
Dammy, I just want to kill myself.
I just need to put this out there, he does not have suicidal tendencies I guess it was just something said in a moment of despair. Nevertheless, it is something I want to discuss. Thinking back to the conversation and trying to console him, I wish I had told him about my ‘not my worst day’ epiphany. When you’re upset this is not what you want to hear, but I feel like it is a really important message:
Today is not your worst day
When things go wrong and bad things happen it so easy to get into that “I want to kill myself” mentality. However, it is important to remember that you have in the past and will in the future overcome so much more than whatever you are going through right now.
Last term I had to deal with a rejection for a part in a musical that I really wanted and had worked very hard for. I auditioned, then I got the coveted call back, then I got a ‘no’. That was it, I couldn’t talk my way out of it, I just had to deal with it. However, I realised that this was not the first ‘no’ I had received and would definitely not be the last so I eventually picked myself back up and began my Presidency campaign and won. Without that failure I may not have had the same level of motivation to run successfully and looking back now doing a show during exam season may not have been the wisest choice for me considering how many exams I had and how last minute I like to revise. Likewise, my best friend just dropped out of university. If I’m honest I have always been a little jealous at how things came so naturally to her. Then she dropped out. Her identity which had so long been forged by academia was questioned and she felt like she’d failed and let people down. However, this ‘failure’ has led to this amazing path leading to something so much better than she originally imagined.
So if your results weren’t what you had wanted, be it for a production, at uni, A levels, GCSE’s, a job or whatever, don’t let it get you down as you really do not know what is round the corner. I’m not trying to say that every set-back is a ‘blessing in disguise’ as this is just too idealistic and quite frankly I believe is wrong. However, setbacks are not the end of the world, they are not your worst day. It may be hard to hear when everything is still fresh, but those bad things we fixate upon do not make up our worth. We are worth more than a single failure.
Personally, what helps me is focusing on those in-between moments. That moment of serenity when everything is okay. This can be for a long time or just for a few minutes. I like to call that moment the “calm within the storm”.
The point I’m trying to make, although not in the most concise way, is that the negatives can be used to create a positive.
Life can get overwhelming and sometimes you will be dragged down by how much expectation and pressure you place on yourself. This is something I have seen in myself and those around me. But the smallest things can help – yes, even an anonymous lollipop left on a desk. However, dwelling on something doesn’t and can’t change reality but the good is always one step ahead, even when it seems like miles away. Just a little advice, offered freely and from a heartfelt place: ask for help, let people in, today is not your worst day.
It’s just me, Dammy, and it will get better.