The country was swept over with reports of A-Level results yesterday. Cue the pictures of pretty girls across tabloids and broadsheets proclaiming how happy they are, and the string of 8-year-old genii who have become the first children in the history of the British Education system to get an A* in Maths/Mandarin/Latin/Quantum Physics. But of course there will be those who may not have got the results they wanted or needed.
So with their university or higher education place now hanging by a shoe string, a series of actions will occur. Some will deal with it better than others, taking a practical approach and pushing forward. Others not so much as the worry and pangs of anxiety creep up on them, taking them hostage for what seems like forever. Unfortunately this state can have the power to manifest itself into feelings of Failure.
Failure as I know it is a complicated sensation. Hardly a temporary state but rather constant, knocking you down and keeping your feet chained by the perils of ill-feeling and low confidence. It then travels up through your legs keeping you rooted on shaky ground until it reaches your heart causing a serious case of disheartenment. Taking a brief pit stop it then revs up its engine and shoots up further to your mind creating a sense of self loathing and anxiety.
This is where a sense of failure is introduced to a sense of fear. One can function without the other but they work best together, operating like a cog in a machine supporting and spurring each other on.
In the past month I’ve come face to face with failure in a number of ways. Wrapped in a case of unsuccessful job interviews and sellotaped together by a few minor personal mishaps, runs the underlying theme of feeling a sense of under-achieving. At the age of 22 I feel as though I should have more to show for it. Though proud of my educational qualifications and extra projects I’m involved in, I feel as if I’m not moving fast enough or I’ve completely missed something. I’m not exactly sure what that something is, but I’ve definitely missed the boat somehow.
Perhaps it is my temperament for being a natural-born worrier or the obsessive way I pay attention to detail, that provides an accommodating environment for these feelings to come to fruition. But the question is how does one combat it?
I would suggest reminding yourself of all the positive things you are actively doing in your life which will slowly strike a chord with all the things you don’t even realise you are doing. Although when we are constantly battered with media images of what we should look like, how we should live and what car we should be driving this does prove mighty difficult. So in order to battle with this you need a certain amount of self-awareness, self-confidence and individual responsibility.
Sit down, and think about what your next step is. You don’t have to go to university because remember education isn’t for everyone, but you can get rid of these feelings of inadequacy by creating a plan. Label it if u want; whether it be a route to becoming a fashion designer or retail manager or care worker or nurse, create a path so that when you do reach your final destination you can look back and be comforted by the fact that you worked hard to get there. Easier said than done I know but I promise if you literally sit down and do this, once you have something concrete in front of you can start making your tracks.
Just remember when that fiend called failure resides by your side be ready, armed with your shield of confidence and sword of self-worth because it is you, and only you that will make the life you want and deserve to have.