Dealing with failure hurts, whether it’s academic, personal, or something else. It’s okay to give yourself time to feel the pain of failing, but don’t wallow in it and forget to move forward. Failing at something doesn’t mean you are a failure.
Reflect, Reflect, Reflect
Once you’re feeling a little bit less of the initial sting, it’s time to reflect on what went well, and what held you back. It can be hard to fully face your own mistakes, but it’s the only way you can improve in the future. And, you may find that some of your techniques did work well for you.
Mappd App allows you to enter your course grades as you go, and there’s a space where you can enter your reflections on the course. It will be helpful to come back to these notes when taking a similar course. You can use your own reflections to guide your sturdy strategies so that you don’t go through the same trial and error process with each new class.
Ask for Help
If the thing you’re struggling with is a test or a class, ask your professor or TA for help. Your professor will have office hours set aside just for helping students like you. If the timing of their office hours doesn’t work for you, it’s absolutely okay to email asking for an alternate meeting time. They may be able to go through a recent exam with you to further explain questions you missed. If you know anyone who’s taken the class previously and done well, they may be able to give you advice on what study strategies worked well for them. Their strategies may not end up working for you, but it’s worth trying new techniques.
Don’t Play the Comparison Game
It’s tempting and easy to compare yourself to other premeds and other students. This impulse to compare is unhelpful for a few reasons. First, you are not your classmates. You do not all have the same life circumstances, and while super strict learning styles aren’t real, different strategies will work for different people.
Your story is your own. Other students can help you, but don’t get cuaght up in what other people are doing. You should be aiming to improve compared to your past self, rather than trying to catch up to or do better than other students. Collaboration, not competition, is the key to your success.
Prove You Can Do Better
Whether you’ve disappointed someone, failed to meet expectations or failed academically, the most important thing you can do to move on is to find what you can do to show you’ve learned, and do that. Improving after mistakes, and maintaining that improvement. The trend of your grades over your academic career is much more important than any one failed test or failed class.
Failing and recovering from it shows resilience and an ability to learn from your mistakes which are desirable traits in a future medical student and physician. If you’ve never failed, you’re not challenging yourself enough. Keep your head up, and keep going.