August 17th 2017. This could be one of the most important days of my life. This was what dictated, at the very least, two things for my future. Do I get the opportunity to go to University? Do I get to go to the University of my Choice? For some of you it may be “will my parents even love me anymore? “ It is for this exact reason that I not only urge students who are waiting for their results to read this but I would also encourage parents to receive this information with an open mind. To make this easier I will also talk about it from two different perspectives, after all, we believe here at PsychLife that it is perspective which leads to a greater understanding of the recurring stimuli that we face in our everyday life. With this understanding comes power. The power to help the ones you’d die for and the power to support those you live your life for. So take a step into the PsychLife world and emerge yourself into what is a journey that changed someone’s life.
Now we’ll start off with the perspective of the child. I was on holiday when I received the news. The night before had been a sleepless one as I had been anxious about the results that were about to lay before me. I log in to my student portal, scroll down and there it was. Staring at me. It was as if I had become the inanimate object as I lay there before the results, looking like a deer in headlights. Simply frozen. Not only in my stance but I had felt cold. As if a piece of me was dying. I refresh the page in the hope that I’d see a change in letters on the screen but nothing had changed a part from the weight of my heart on my chest. Some of you may compare it to the meme of the man holding his chest but it was a genuine feeling. A feeling that I couldn’t control but I wanted it to disappear. Now don’t get me wrong, I was more than happy for my brothers in the house who had done better than what was expected of them and it was for this reason I decided to sit outside away from them. I didn’t want to dampen the energy.
So I sat there, out in the sun, thinking about my options. I see myself as a man of high expectations and if I didn’t get my first or second choice of university then I didn’t want to go to university at all. I’d take a year out to either reflect on what was or to do the year again completely but that was just my perspective. Luckily I had two pillars to hold me up that day, and if it wasn’t for them who knows what I could have gotten myself into at this point in my life, exactly a year after my A level results. I’d grown with these two so if there was anyone that could have provided an outlook that I could agree with it was them. From their perspective they saw a brother with potential, and they weren’t going to let three letters stagnate the growth of me. So what did they do? They took up their phones, not caring about any international costs, and started to call up universities on behalf of myself. They would pretend to be me and get me the place at Royal Holloway they believed I deserved. These actions of support is something that will never be forgotten because it is for this reason that I was able to go through my first year of university, creating friendships that’ll undoubtedly last a lifetime, learn some very important lessons about life and people, and come out with a first in what is the start of my math and economics degree.
This was possible because of two things. One was the strength in the support that I had from the people around me. It would have been easy for them to just talk to me about the results and how I could do better the next time, if there ever was a next time. But this isn’t what they did. They took it that step further which is what most of us lack and what PsychLife tries to highlight. Initiative and Application is key. They not only talked to me, they took action, the difference between good and great. This is where your parents, siblings and even friends need to be your pillars for you in this case. I was and still am surrounding myself with people who want to see me thrive and who also relay to me every day the potential they see in me and this leads on to the second thing I have to talk about. If you tell yourself that with every failure it will be followed by success then I guarantee you’ll have the potential to achieve great things, but it’s only when you act upon these words will you truly achieve the success you need. After all of the rationalising from the conversations I had I knew that this was the coming of a new chapter, nowhere near the end of the book. I had a point to prove and there was no way I was going to let anyone else tell me different from here on out. It turns out that even on the journey people will try to bring you down because of the way you’re living but so long as you have your goal in sight I know this will make no difference to you. You are Powerful.
Now let’s look at it from the perspective of a parent. It is also important to note that this perspective is not something I’ve only noticed through my experience but is also a reflection of a conversation I had with a plumber that had entered my house recently. One thing we have to remember as children, and is extremely difficult for us, I must admit, is that we are quite literally one in a million to them. For them, they want to see us thrive not only because it means that it makes you look good but social constructs govern so much in the modern society that many parents see the “success” of their child as a reflection of their job as a parent. Let’s break this sentence up and focus on a few key aspects. I cannot stress it enough. They want to see you thrive! You are a part of them, whether you feel like it or not and no matter how hard-shelled someone may seem, the relationships with their loved ones can easily break them down as it can build them up. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase everybody dies but not everybody lives. For some of your parents they may have been alive to see certain things but did they really live in that moment. Did they focus on the present and do what was necessary when it mattered, for it is that which enables us to truly capitalise on the opportunities of the future. They don’t want you to make the same mistakes that they did. They want you to learn. Now, focusing on the second half of the statement, this is typical human nature. It is one of the most important determinants of our actions. Just to prove the point let me ask you this, have you ever felt peer pressured at any point in your life? The youth of today are constantly being pressured by fashion choices. I’m sure many of you parents see anything Kanye West has made and are extremely confused as to how he was able to sell something with so many rips in it for such a high price however it is what is popular. People see other people wearing and immediately come to a realisation that there must be something special about the product if other people are willing to pay such high prices for it. This is where the demand for the product is created. We all want to fit in.
Perspective and Support. The importance of the two is vital, and in conjunction they will not only allow you to achieve success in academia, but can be applied to all areas of life. We will soon have an article based on practical ways in which you can look at situations from different perspectives, with examples of how this has affected the reality of many but for now I would like you to try it for yourself. We’d be more than happy to hear your feedback and provide you with an approach you may not have thought about before.