The Best Advice I’ve Received: It’s Not About the Setback, But the Comeback

Kayla Green—As finals week begins and winter break becomes so close I can feel it, I find myself reflecting back on my semester. This has been a pivotal and emotional roller coaster of a semester for me, and in the end I have learned a lot about myself.

Without getting into every detail, I took on more than I could handle this semester. I have always been the type of person who thinks I can keep piling things on and nothing bad will happen, but this semester I finally reached my limit. I had no free time to myself, even on the weekends, and I found myself becoming moody and unhappy, which I usually am not. This left me with a choice to make. That choice was which thing in my life to drop to relieve some pressure off myself.

I’m not good at quitting things, never have been. I like to see things through until the end, and the thought of quitting something used to make me so nervous I couldn’t even go through with it. But this time I had to make the tough decision to quit the thing that was stressing me out most.

Through this process, I talked to a lot of people. I talked to family, friends, and professors, and they all gave me great advice and were very supportive.

A couple pieces of advice stood out to me, and I will share those with all of you.

After telling one of my professors my situation, she told me that sometimes in life we have to realize what’s best for ourselves and just do it, even if we may feel like we’re letting other people down.

Now, I need to explain this a little because if viewed from the wrong perspective, it could sound bad. She didn’t mean to think only about yourself and throw everyone you know and love under the bus, but rather she meant that when it comes to your own personal happiness and well-being, not everyone is going to agree with your decisions. Other people may see the situation differently and think you are making the wrong choice. But if you have a feeling in your gut that something isn’t right for you, you need to go with that gut feeling.

Another part of this is that different people can handle different things, and that’s okay. That’s life, and that’s normal. Just because your friend may not see why you’re overwhelmed by something and says they could handle it doesn’t mean you should feel guilty about not being able to handle it. Know yourself and know what you can and cannot handle. You’ll be a lot happier once you figure this out.

One more piece of advice was given to me during an interview I conducted with an alumnus of Brockport. When asked what he would say to students aspiring to their dream job, he said, “In life there will be setbacks, without question. But we are measured not by the setback, but rather by the comeback…sometimes it’s when you’re on your last leg that you realize you can catch a second wind and uncover a world of opportunity.”

This really stuck with me. It helped me to realize that even when I feel helpless, or like I’m never going to reach my goals, or like I may have disappointed people or myself, it’s not the end of my story. It’s only a temporary feeling, and I have so much more to do and offer the world.

So don’t give up. Everyone feels like this, not just you, trust me! College is about finding yourself, as cliche as that sounds, and it’s gonna be bumpy along the way, without a doubt. You will prevail, and you will do amazing things!

Check out more of the great advice I got in the interview here:

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