Second Time Around
It can be discouraging to look back at a portion of your life and realize that you were totally lost, not focused or, even worse, focused on things that really didn’t matter. Sometimes we can get down on ourselves because of this, blame ourselves for our failures and generally experience low self esteem because of mistakes made in the past. It is important to realize that your past mistakes are just that – mistakes that you’ve made in the past. If you are able to realize that they are just mistakes, you are on the right track.
Mistakes are good because they are not regrets, but rather lessons. Mistakes are not the same thing as regrets. Mistakes are meant as a lesson about the right way to do something. For me, my lesson was going through a university undergrad degree without a sense of purpose and a secure sense for the rewards that come from hard work. During my undergraduate degree, I experienced at first a real sense of purpose and determination to do well, but this feeling gradually faded over the course of my five years in university. Whether due to a lack of rewards along the course of my years or a lack of feeling recognized for my efforts, I slowly lost the feeling of satisfaction from working hard and I lost sight of my goals.
I know now, after having experienced my first mistake, that I can do better and that I can really and truly accomplish what I want to accomplish by setting goals and going about a second degree in a different way than my first degree.
A good starting place when you are looking to re-do a mistake is to identify the areas of weakness in the past and make solid plans for improving upon those areas for success in the future. For me, I identified three weaknesses from my first undergraduate degree:
1) Too much at once – My first undergraduate degree was a double major in French immersion, while working for the university, running a committee and trying to stay in great shape by working out every day. This overload created a depression in my mood and in my motivation to achieve my academic goals. I got to the point where I lost focus because I was trying to do too much at once. The second time around, I will be sure to have a manageable load of work and extracurricular activities.
2) Choice of subject – My first undergraduate degree was a selection based on virtually no career plan. I chose something that I would find interesting and that would have enough substance to keep me interested for the length of the degree. When I chose my subject of study, I didn’t think about what I would do with the degree and there was not much thought about the future. This time around, I will be sure to plan my career and exactly what I will do with the degree.
3) Clear academic goals – The first time around I lost track of what I wanted to achieve and why. I didn’t really have a career plan and didn’t motivate myself to achieve high grades because I didn’t have an end result in mind. This time around, I am looking to the career I want and educating myself on what it takes to get into that career. I want to get great grades in order to successfully continue my educational journey.
Overall, it is important not to get down on oneself for having made mistakes in the past. It is important to look at mistakes as guides, teachers and lessons in what you want and how you can do better. Using mistakes in this manner will allow you to realize your dreams in a conscious way that you control.