Unexpected exam results? Check out this practical guide

The possibility of failing is an inescapable part of life. Truth is, failing happens, and it happens even to very successful people. Often, what makes the biggest difference is the attitude we take towards failure, and the practical steps we take when it happens. We’ve put together three pieces of advice to help you move forward.

Step one: Deal with the feels

  • be kind to yourself
  • give yourself some time out
  • focus on self-comfort
  • get some exercise or hang out with friends

Step two: Evaluate the situation

  • do some detective work to find out what went wrong
  • determine what you had control over
  • talk to a classmate
  • talk to course staff

Step three: Make a plan of action

  • think about positive next steps to help improve
  • eg, ask questions in classes and tutorials
  • talk with support staff for their advice
  • reframe how you think about failing

Read more about practical steps you can take here. 

Even famous people experience setbacks, check out what Barack Obama encountered early on in his political career.

“I first ran for Congress in 1999, and I got beat. I just got whooped. I had been in the state legislature for a long time, I was in the minority party, I wasn’t getting a lot done, and I was away from my family and putting a lot of strain on Michelle. Then for me to run and lose that bad, I was thinking maybe this isn’t what I was cut out to do. I was forty years old, and I’d invested a lot of time and effort into something that didn’t seem to be working…

For him, the solution was to refocus his thoughts away from questions of whether his decision to enter politics was right, and concentrate instead on the work that lay ahead.

…the thing that got me through that moment, and any other time that I’ve felt stuck, is to remind myself that it’s about the work. Because if you’re worrying about yourself—if you’re thinking: ‘Am I succeeding? Am I in the right position? Am I being appreciated?’ – then you’re going to end up feeling frustrated and stuck. But if you can keep it about the work, you’ll always have a path. There’s always something to be done.” —Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

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