Being halfway through the year, now would be a good a time as any to look back at the last six months. June acts as a checkpoint to slow down for just a second and to figure out what has gone right and what has gone… the other way.
As much as I would like to say that these past six months have yielded great results, I’d hate to lie to anyone who might want to read a more realistic blog post.
These past six months have been some of the most demotivating, disappointing six months I have ever experienced.
I started off the year bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to achieve an average of 95 on every exam. I put in more effort than I ever have in my entire schooling, and I felt refreshed and renewed with a sense of purpose. Near the beginning of the year, I had brainstormed my options for tertiary studies–and what awaited beyond. I had come to the conclusion that I would aim higher than I ever pictured myself to and–though I won’t go into my specific decisions–I really thought I had a shot at achieving what I had set out to do.
Now, a few months down the track, I am left with this unnerving sense that I had aimed too high this year, and that really, I had always aimed too high. I often pictured myself in grandiose situations, complete with PhDs in every field under the sun, and scholarship offers to the most prestigious institutions around the world. It seems now, after several disappointing results at school, that these situations would remain just that–imagined situations.
For all my efforts and ambitions, I was more than underwhelmed–even frustrated–with how these past six months have gone.
So, what now?
What I’ve just described is probably familiar with many people. Even the most accomplished professors and executives have felt this. Though I don’t know any personally, I imagine that their success is their reward for perseverance and… disappointments.
And yes, while I always take every subpar grade to heart, I have come to realise that it doesn’t pay dividends to let one–or a series of–bad marks make you lose sight of the big picture. My end goal will be different to everyone else’s, but ultimately, the principle remains the same: keep your eye on the prize, even when it feels like you’re watching a moving target. (Quite poetic, if I do say so myself.)
What I’ve learned from my disappointing school results is where exactly my strengths lie (English is where I’m most comfortable) and where my weaknesses lie. I can now plan to capitalise on my strengths and improve on my weaknesses, as can anyone with access to their grades and ranks.
Of course, this honest–if brutal–reflection is easier said than done, but it doesn’t hurt to try. I did a lot of administration work just to set myself up for achieving my elusive goal–why not at least make a strong effort to consolidate that administration work with a result? That’s one thing that has always been a great push forward when I’ve been hesitant of my abilities.
Give yourself a head start by, for instance, signing up for that creative writing contest, registering your interest in a business seminar, or buying a ticket to a careers workshops.
The key is to start–and not give yourself an excuse to back out.
Momentum is vital.
Once you’ve kickstarted, the only thing left to do is make that head start worth the effort. Write your class notes on the day of your lesson. Sacrifice a lunch time or two to finish off what you start.
If I know an obstacle to completed work better than any other, it’s leaving work half-done. Nothing grates on my nerves–and conscience–more than a series of unfinished tasks that could’ve been ticked off my to-do list ages ago. To combat this, I always make sure that I make the time to finish off everything that I start.
At the halfway mark of 2017, it’s important to look back at the time that has passed. But it’s even more important to look ahead, and to keep your eye on the prize, even if you’re watching a moving target.