Resilience: The Low, The Comeback, The Lesson
In the theme of Resilience, we thought rather than to babble on with our (amazing) advice for bouncing back from when times get tough, we would ask the peeps surrounding us to share their stories where they can relate. #WeFeelYou
Because, as part of being building your own resilience, it is often assuring to hear others’ times of hardship. There is nothing more demotivating than trying to get back on your feet again but feeling like you are the only person on earth who feels down, or who has experienced this particularly far-from-ideal situ. And on top of that, to then read a blog post that tells you, ‘cheer up, you got this!’ with little actual substance behind it.
So, we asked some of our very own Bright Futures Committee Members, as well as our own MyKindaFuture crew to share their lows, and how they got back up to a high – from A-levels, to university, to the working world!
“I was rejected by Brighton University during my University Applications which at the time was through ADAR and I was absolutely devastated. It was a really cut throat applications process. I had worked so hard on my portfolio which had become my fifth limb and took things really personally in that they didn't like my work or think it was good enough for them.” – Anonymous
“In my second year I was getting a lot of rejections from placement applications and interviews. I kept questioning myself and almost quit.” – James, Aston University
“I went on my year abroad with great expectations set by my university and friends. The truth was it wasn't my scene, I couldn't connect with the people there and I got into a massive depression and anxiety episode that ended with a really painful breakup.” – Anonymous
“In 2015, I took my A2 levels with the hope of going to the university I wanted with everything set up; good GCSEs and AS grades, family expectation. However, I got rejected from the university and my insurance choice as well. This came as a huge shock and disappointment for not just me but my whole family. That morning it was the most horrible morning of my life - the whole world just seemed to be a nightmare.” – Anonymous
“I was unsuccessful in my application for an internal secondment which would have been a promotion. The process of application changed several times and I felt like goal posts were moved. I was mostly disappointed in myself for attending it under-prepared and not taking it as seriously as I would have done for an external interview.” – Anonymous
“I had no other choice other than to bounce back and tackle my second choice interview face on. I had to explain to Nottingham Trent why I thought I had been rejected by Brighton but I was really honest and told them I honestly didn't know. They were amazing and offered me there and then on the spot which instantly lifted my spirits. The course was my second choice but, in the end, it turned out to be the best fit for me. It included a placement year and it was also a more specialist field which I now realise gave me an extra string to my bow when I graduated. By my fourth year I was totally in love with my course and I am still super proud to have been "the rejected one" who went on to get a first.” – Anonymous
“Initially, I just kept trying to apply for anything suitable and then when I had time to reflect, I asked for more feedback from failed attempts as well as friends who had successfully gotten a placement.” – James, Aston University
“I didn't do much at first. Then I went to the gym. A lot. I watched a lot of shows. I took care of myself, meditated and journaled. Might not sound like much but that care package for myself really worked.” – Anonymous
“My main strategy was to not make any rash decisions and to always trust your gut. I knew pretty much instantly that I only wanted to go to this university and not any others. So, I made a mental plan on how to achieve this. It took a whole month of planning to plan the next 11 months on how I was going to re-take, and I was successful. The main strategy I found was planning and structuring everything from your thoughts to the next days, weeks and months. Although it might be the hardest period try to seek positives from everything, but it pays off – for example, after that rehabilitation phase I now use all the structure for myself at university and am going into my finals on a 1st class degree.” – Anonymous
“I let myself be grumpy for a little while and just focus on moving through that feeling. I talked to close friends and also reminded myself of other people's experience in interview - not getting the job is not a sign of weakness, just of bad fit. I then made myself be brutally honest about what I would have done on the other side of the table, which would not have been to trust me with the job. I also examined why I hadn't given it my all & it forced me to think about the difference between applying for new work based on prestige and promotion, rather than what you're actually interested in doing as a job. This prompted me to look elsewhere for that next promotion - which I got!” – Anonymous
“Don't beat yourself up so much - you give your all, you will reap the rewards” – Anonymous
“Take an additional certification course when you have more time, and work at making yourself more valuable for job applications.” – James, Aston University
“There is nothing more important than your health and happiness, especially not other people's opinions. Don't let them guide you.” – Anonymous
“I would say not to be so serious and worried about bad things happening because as I’ve discussed already bad things happen to everyone and there is nothing you can do.” – Anonymous
“Jobs and opportunities in the workplace are not graded in bands. In many parts of education, you can receive an A or a First based on your work, no matter how other people are performing. For jobs there is only one First and that is given to the best fit. Work hard to be the best fit. You don't have to be the best at everything, just the best candidate for the job you want. Make sure you know what that is for you: from area of passion, to way of working, to location and colleagues. The way to be the best candidate is to really understand the job you want, and be ready for it.” – Anonymous
How are universities and employers supporting young people’s setbacks? What could they be doing better?
“From an employer’s point of view I think it’s about recognising that people do have low points but with recognition, an action plan and sometimes a fresh view point people can get back to performing at their full potential.” – Anonymous
“There are numbers we can call to talk about stress and there is a counselor on campus as well. In addition, there are a lot of materials on the school website for students as well as workshops on managements.” – James, Aston University
“There should be a special team or more support on campus who are qualified to deal with people experiencing stressful situations, setbacks or anything traumatic.” – Anonymous
“Pastoral care for students actively experiencing setbacks is often very positive: from mental wellbeing support to practical accommodations. Searching university services or speaking to someone in student support can unlock this. An area we can all do better is to talk more about knockbacks and setbacks - they are a part of all of our lives and it is not shameful to experience them or need help!” – Anonymous
Hang in there folks – we hope this helped anyone who feels knocked down. Setbacks are only giving you another opportunity for something you haven’t yet discovered!