I was in the shower when this post idea came to me. Quite random, but hopefully my words encourage someone. Disappointment is a feeling everyone experiences – the consuming sadness after the unfulfillment of your hopes and expectations. You feel defeated and struggle to bounce back to your usual self. However, this common attitude needs to change – You must understand that disappointment is inevitable but does not mean it is the end of the world. In life, not everything you desire is for you. There could be another path you are destined to take or simply, the timing is not right. A negative outcome should never leave you feeling hopeless and accepting there is nothing for you. Another thing, do not compare yourself to other people – Comparison is the easiest way for the enemy to steal your joy. Your time will come. Just wait.
It is important for you to understand, there is always a way to turn a bad situation around. I want to share real life scenarios of disappointment and how each person can or has overcome the situation.
Scenario One: Attending a different University.
How many students do you think are at their first choice University? I am not sure of the figures either, but I know that there are a lot of students who are not. There are many currently at Universities they never imagined themselves at. This can be heartbreaking especially when you have mentally prepared yourself for a life at your desired University.
Here is the story of a student, attending University this academic year:
“I will be attending University, after taking a gap year to improve my grades. Unfortunately, things did not go to plan and I will now be going to a University, lower ranked than my initial option. I am really disappointed, but I am hesitant to let other people know how I feel because I do not want to look ungrateful. I have never been to this new university and I do not know what to expect.”
First of all, it is okay for Person 1 to not be happy with their University, because everyone has targets for themselves, and not achieving them can be demotivating. However, in some situations, it does not matter which University you attend (I say this lightly, as I know this statement is up for debate). I know the highest and lowest ranked Universities are viewed differently but does attending a lower University mean you should believe you have no future? A few weeks ago, I was told personal value drops after graduation as everyone will be fighting for similar professional positions. At this stage of your life, the amount of related work experience and skills is more important than the University you attended. Society praises people in top 30 Universities, leaving others feeling worthless, which should not be the case, as people are on a more even playing field once they have graduated.
For those disappointed in their A level results, remember that A levels do not determine your intelligence. I believe the education system is quite biased and does not cater to everyone’s abilities. Everyone absorbs information differently, but unfortunately, all these extra factors are not taken into consideration. Intelligence is present in numerous forms, which a single piece of paper cannot show. For those disappointed in the University, they are currently/will be attending, it is important to understand that University is what you make it. It is your responsibility to take advantage of the facilities available and develop yourself. Things seem dark now, but always work out in the end.
Click here for tips on how to be productive during your time at University.
Scenario two: The placement search.
Placements are extended internships or work experience, which usually last between 6 months to a year, depending on your course and University. For example, in my University (Loughborough), most courses offer a ‘sandwich year’- so either an Industrial placement or study abroad. Here is the story of a student, who planned to go on a Placement year:
“Before I started University, I always had the dream of doing a placement year at one of the big Technology firms, Apple, Google, Microsoft, you name it. Although back then, I didn’t quite know what role I wanted to apply for. When I started applying, I began to realise that not many companies offered placements for the role I was keen to do but it didn’t stop my search. I had interviews at IBM and Bloomberg, which were great learning curves but didn’t quite materialise into job offers. Searching for a placement proved to be very frustrating because, although I had a couple of interviews, most companies I applied for wouldn’t even get back to me to even inform me that I will not be going to the next stage, so I was just left in the dark wondering if those doors were still open. My one regret is not applying to other roles, e.g. instead of Software Development, applying for Web Designer roles. As I restricted myself to one lane, I found that there were fewer vacancies for me to choose from. I soon came to a decision that I was no longer in a position to look for placement. Right now, I am not disappointed that I was not able to find a placement. I have always made plans to do a Masters after uni too, so I now know that I should work my socks off to finish and then the big companies will come calling again later!”
This is not an easy decision to make. You are clouded with many thoughts – Will this decision affect your future job prospects? Are you ready to graduate a year earlier? It is normal to think like this. Every firm decision you make will always be challenged with doubts. Placement years provide you with the experience for your chosen field and a lucky few, are offered graduate jobs after. However, there is no need to worry if you are not going on placement, as there are countless individuals who have secured respectable graduate jobs without one. As aforementioned, Person 2 regrets not applying for other roles, but over time realised holding onto regret is pointless. It is important to take our regrets and turn them around. It is good to see that Person 2, will use everything that has happened as motivation to work hard and attain the level they desire.
Disclaimer: Placements are positive and I am not discouraging you from applying, it is just important to remember that not getting a placement does not mean it is game over. There are always alternative ways to gain experience, for example, insight days/ weeks and internships.
For those who plan to do a placement, internship or insight day, click here for CV advice.
Scenario 3: Starting your own Business
Starting your own business is one of the most difficult things to do. The challenges range from struggling to develop the vision and business idea to insufficient profit sales. Here is the story of a baker, who started their own business not too long ago:
“I’ve always had a passion for baking from a young age, especially desserts like cakes. People who know me would know that I have a serious sweet tooth so I was always baking desserts especially in Food Tech at school. Combined with this I also knew in the future that I wanted to own my business, have my own brand, be my own boss, so it came hand in hand. When I began my business, I felt so excited that I finally had started something of my own, that I would be able to make something of my passion. I’ve always been told if you excel at something or have a passion for it, to take it seriously. However, I did face some challenges along the way, as does every business. For me, to start your own business can be quite costly, especially since it’s before you start gaining customers. Hence, it took me a while at the beginning to gather necessary supplies and equipment which I felt delayed the time I could’ve been gaining orders. Sometimes I would also have off days, where my cakes or cupcakes didn’t come out how I liked and I would have to start over until I achieved a higher standard. This sometimes stressed me out making me rethink my decision to start my own business. Luckily, I never did give up. I knew before I started my business that I could face some struggles along the way, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. When I did feel like giving up, the support from my friends and family encouraged me to keep going. I felt that I owed it to myself to also push myself and keep positive. It helped me to develop an optimistic attitude. I don’t regret starting my business, it’s something I love and I want to keep in my future whether it’s professionally or not. I love that I’m able to meet new people, cater for events where I can network and be able to explore my creative side.”
The cake business is still running today because Person 3 chose not to give up. It is so easy to give up when we fail because we automatically assume there is no alternative route. It is important to remember that we learn from failure, not from success. Before giving up, remember why you started your passion and the impact you planned to have. Person 3 learnt the importance of pushing yourself and remaining positive, which will assist the continuous growth of the business.
These are just a few scenarios and I hope to share more in due time. The pattern in each story is that everyone had a plan, but did not really consider more than one strategy to make the plan work until later on. We need to understand that not everything goes to plan and you must be ready to adapt when things may not go as expected. Keep an open mind in every situation! I wrote this post because I want people to understand that there is always a way to turn a bad situation around. There will always be light at the end of the tunnel.
Hope I have helped somebody.