Only when you try again can the depth of one’s strength be measured…
The release of academic results can be a difficult time for many and especially for those who did not achieve their desired outcomes. While not achieving one’s desired outcomes may be disappointing, it must always be remembered that steps can always be taken to remedy the situation.

Jath van der Westhhuizen who works as a social worker at Zwavelstream Psychiatric Clinic advises students who did not achieve their desired outcomes to have a focus on resiliency. Resilience is the capacity to prepare for disruptions and recover from shocks and stresses and to adapt and grow from the experience.

Van der Westhuizen adds that students must always remember that many of the greatest leaders in the world had setbacks at some point but they did not let it prevent them from achieving their legacies. The first thing to do after a setback academically is to focus on relaxing. “Setbacks do cause one to feel depressed and feel weak. One should relax, take a deep breath and not overact or make immediate decisions.”

The second step according to Van der Westhuizen is to talk to family members and supportive individuals in one’s life. Van der Westhuizen
also mentions that it is important to focus on mindset (staying calm, remaining positive), reasoning (focusing on how to tackle the issue constructively) and having a vision (a realistic goal on how to improve the situation). “People able to adapt is critical to adapt. With a growth mindset, we can prepare to improve our lives,” adds Van der Westhuizen.

Jennifer Chetty, director of Sinika Uthando in Chatsworth offers the following tips for dealing with academic setbacks.

  • Adopt a can do attitude
  • Nurture a sense of capability
  • Believe in yourself
  • Distance yourself from negative thoughts and influences
  • Know that you are resilient
  • Be committed to try again
  • Be relentless
  • Be consistent
  • Ask for help
  • Seek guidance from outside your circle
  • Learn lessons from failures
  • Stop feeling like a victim and instead become your destiny’s author.

Chetty added, “Look around you, people are constantly failing at various things, it could be an examination, a school year, a relationship, a marriage, a business venture, our family or society. The key is to use failure as an opportunity to pick ourselves up, dust off and try again. It is often said that one’s strength can only be measured by how one recovers from a failure or loss. Only when you try again can the depth of one’s strength be measured. This can only happen when we become able to travel within ourselves and navigate through our successes and failures.’’