Welcome to UofT! This is where you’ll learn and grow to be well rounded, productive members of society. This is your time to explore, experiment and discover yourself. This is when you’ll aim to peak in academics and social life, and this will be stressful.
Stress, however, is something you can handle. The fact that you made it to UofT proves that. You’ve learned to convert stress into a driving force which makes you work towards a goal and usually, all your work pays off. Now you’ll learn something even more important: there is no “recipe for success”. Sometimes, even after all the stress management and hard work, things just don’t work out the way you want them to, and that’s something you may not have experienced before. These are times when you begin to learn how to cope with disappointments.
The first step is to acknowledge your mistake. Acting as if it never happened is like sabotaging yourself for all future attempts at improvement. A low mark on Quercus shouldn’t paralyse your thought process. Another act to avoid is jumping the gun and impulsively claiming you deserved a better result. No prof or T.A will consider re-evaluating your test unless your claim is backed by evidence.
To rationalise your claim, you must analyse your mistake. Being ignorant about your failure increases the chances of repeating your mistake. In my first year Praxis class, I learnt about how to understand my results and performance.
Regardless of whether you’ve aced or flunked the test, what matters is that you know how and why you got that result. Treating your result as a mystery tends to induce a fear of the unknown, and this will inhibit you from learning from your mistakes. A rigorous analysis of your work will replace this fear with determination to not commit those erroneous actions again.
If you find that even after your introspection, you’re unsure of the reasons behind your performance, get advice! UofT is filled with intelligent people, treat them as your biggest assets. Don’t hesitate to approach your professors, T.A’s or academic advisors. They’ve taught and mentored thousands of students before you, so be rest assured their advice is foolproof. If you feel the need to have more personal connections, build a network of like-minded people in your class. There’s no shame in asking a classmate for help with an assignment. Engineering at UofT is by no means a one-man job.
Don’t fall under the illusion that you’re the only one facing these difficult situations. It’s true that every predicament is subjective to the person experiencing it, but to err is human. Isolating yourself in challenging times will have a more adverse impact on you than it would if you share your hardships with others.
Now that you’ve invested time and energy in analysing your work, it’s time to draw your conclusions and set your lessons learnt in stone. There’s a fine line between introspection and over thinking, and overthinking is just going to be a waste of your time. The objective of this whole process is to learn and move on. Overthinking will lead to an obsession with the past.
Disappointments and mistakes don’t remain sources of negativity once you’ve dealt with them. They are converted into invaluable experiences that you can rely upon, and use to brace yourself for all the challenges yet to come.