The 3 phases to get past our academic mistakes

This week, I got my results on a test I recently attempted (which was worth 20% of my overall grade). When I saw my results, I was surprised at how poorly I did but I thought “Doesn’t matter, I will just revise harder next time”, thinking that I could remain cool. Then later that evening, my heart sank when the reality finally hit me, I am struggling with Maths.


Maybe somewhere along your studies, you would have received a lower mark than you expected, so you can relate to this blog. When this happens, we naturally go into what I call, the 3 phases:


  • The anger phase – We subconsciously start blaming ourselves, saying things like “You should have revised more” or “All the material I revised didn’t show up”. Its a challenging phase but to get past it,  I believe that you should embrace it. That means find somewhere to get your feelings out. Whether its going to the boxing gym and exploding on the punch bag or expressing your anger to someone who will listen, let it out, before it eats you up inside.


  • The depression phase – Now that the anger has gone, we move on to the sadness. Now we begin feeling extremely sorry for ourselves and that chatterbox in our head keeps talking: “These things always happen to me. Why is my life so hard? I deserve so much better.” Questions that we cannot answer but are constantly asked are the worst! Now, in my experience, there is only one way to shut our chatterbox up; we have to forgive ourselves. I hear my friends saying all the time, “It’s done, move on and forget”. But forgetting is hard when you constantly remind yourself of your failures. If you learn to forgive yourself, you will embrace the failure rather than resent it. Be kind, treat yourself as a friend who you need to support through these difficult times.


  • The responsibility phase – Now you have surpassed all the negativity and you’re ready to learn from your mistakes. You can  start to think about how you will avoid the same mistake in the future. Should you start attending extra sessions? Do your revision techniques need to be changed? Which people should you be asking for academic support? Finally, you can start to take responsibility without feeling guilty. This is called “Progress”.


I am still in the depression phase and it’s difficult to break out of. However, I am slowly but surely recovering and that’s a good sign right? Responsibility phase, here I come!



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About Leon

Hi everyone, my name's Leon and I am currently a first year undergraduate studying Mathematics. My first year of studying has been intriguing and I want to give you guys some insight into the different aspects of Mathematics. Additionally, the life of a student can prove to be challenging but it's certainly one you can prepare for, so I will be sharing some useful tips to help you thrive on your self-living journey.

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