Never let a bad experience ruin your future; learn from it and move on already!

A few months ago a student came to me for help. In her words, “I took an exam a few days ago and it was horrible. I really read and prepared for it but the lecturer messed me up. He insisted that we showed our identity cards. Those of us that did not come with ours were sent to get it, wherever it was. Since I live off-campus, it took a while to bring it and by then the examination was well under way. I think I am going to fail it and because of it, I have not been able to read for my other exams”.


Sadly, this incident is very common on Campus and the attitude of this my student to this enormous set back in her academic life is not a rare occurrence. For many students, once they encounter one tough experience, it subsequently bogs them down and they find it difficult to push it aside and move on. These issues like demons begin to torment them because they let it. In this case, my seemingly bold and courageous student couldn’t push the problems aside and continue with her remaining exams. She couldn’t focus on the present and the future, she was stuck in the past; in an event that had already taken place.


After looking at her for a few seconds, I asked her “Can you help the past?” She said no. I asked her whether her brooding will help the future, she said no. I then told her “Look, if you do not get down and prepare for your next exam, you will compound the problems you already have; and rather than a single course you may end up having a backlog of carryovers and an extra year”.  I know she already knew that, and that was probably why she came to me but at times we need to hear it from friends and mentors.

Life is filled with difficulties or as I like to call them challenges. I told her, you prepared for the exam, why did you not take your identity card along? She had some excuses for that. I told her that she was wrong but that is currently not the issue. The issue is the consequence of not coming with the identity card.


You see, she did all she could to prepare well and this happened, but that does not mean that she is doomed, that her village people have finally caught up with her. It was simply a bad experience that should be learnt from.


Like my student, you probably have taken a semester exam, a degree exam, or even a professional exam and something awful happens at the end of it. You simply cannot give up, as this will further ruin your academic life.


The crux of the matter is ‘how can you move on?’ It is simple. You have to talk to yourself. Tell yourself that the little you did in the hall is enough to pass you. I sincerely hope you have it in you to be a ‘Positive thinker’ because it will come in handy. Go ahead with that, especially if you believe in miracles. It may be lying to yourself but at this point it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you train your brain to believe what it needs, to be calm and help you move on with your life. What it needs to help you prepare for subsequent challenges ahead, because at this point in time, that is exactly what you need for your head to function properly. You need to be positive minded.


If you are the tough type, you may allow yourself to face the fact that you probably will not make it. However, tell yourself because I may not make it, I will work so hard that my results in the next examinations will cushion the negative effect of the previous one on your overall results. It should then drive you to be more determined and work harder. Challenges are meant to bring out the best in us. Remember the saying ‘Tough times don’t last but tough people do’. Make sure you don’t go involving yourself in a pity party or apportioning blames or hating the person you think is probably responsible. Or even wasting time, blaming yourself if you were responsible for whatever happened. That will be wasted emotions and energy. Learn your lessons and move ahead.


To you this may have sounded very simple, but then when we are deep in trouble or worries, we tend not to see clearly. In times like that, we need a friend, a mentor, to advice or help us to focus properly.


The lady in this case was wise enough to seek help.  Be like her. Learn to seek help when you need it. Do not wallow in misery or depression and when help is offered, take it and move on, knowing and believing you have all it takes to excel.


I also want to add that as a student your ID card should be indispensable to you and should accompany you wherever you are including examination halls/venues. One more thing, be adept at listening and adhering to instructions.


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