Being raised in a meritocratic country, it’s only natural for one’s worth to be judged based on their academic qualifications. I have always been the mediocre student, who would only hit the bare minimum to promote to the next grade. The biggest wake up call for me was my expulsion from college (although at that point of time it didn’t seem that big a deal), when I failed practically all my subjects. Thankfully for me, I was accepted into Singapore Polytechnic¹, where I did a Diploma in Aerospace Electronics.
Back then, I didn’t realise the importance of education and the significance of having a good transcript. Results were just mere numbers to me and I was living in my own little tiny bubble called denial. Thankfully, I still managed to pass with a GPA of 2.34/4.00 (that is really lousy) before enlisting into National Service (It was mandatory for Singaporean to serve 2 years of National Service).
When i got enlisted, that was when my reality hit me hard. There, I met peers who were really amazing – Impressive academic qualifications, great personality, admirable skill sets ( I.E rock climbers at National Level), great display of leadership skill and etc … That was the first time where I felt small and inadequate. That was then I started to ask myself: “If I continue living the way I do, where will I be in 5 years time? Will I be able to compete with them on level ground when we are out in society?”.
During interviews for part-time work and applications for programs, where I am asked to talk about my strengths and weaknesses, I realise that I had no strengths – there was nothing significant accomplished in my life, nothing i ever did where I could be proud of myself. I do not know if you can understand or relate to the feelings that I was having then, but that a period where I really had little self-confidence – in my abilities and my value as a person.
You may be wondering: “So why is Dale sharing his life story with us? Is it because he has nothing to blog about?”
hahahs, (it may be partially true that i ran out of things to blog about) more importantly, throughout my journey student at UniSA, I have come across a substantial amount of students who would are prone to excessively self-doubts. “Am i really good enough?”, “I don’t think i would be able to make a difference” are examples of thoughts shared by those students. It really pains me to see people doubting themselves, and i always wondered if there’s anything i could do to help. Therefore i am taking this opportunity to tell you that, for most of us, ‘self-doubt’ or having lack of confidence is a phrase that we all go through. It is a choice, whether we want to continue to wallow in self-pity or use that as a motivation for us to improve as a person.
Thinking back to who i was 2 years ago, brought a smile to my face. The journey that I have walked, the people that came into my life, have definitely moulded me into a person who believes in himself. I truly believe that intrinsically, each of us possess our own unique strengths and worth. You may not be good academically, but there are definitely other aspects in life which you are better in (I.E Social skills, Sports, Management, Public Speaking, etc ..). Therefore instead of focusing on your weakness, why not focus on your strengths and believe that you too, are W-O-R-T-H-Y of the time and attention of others. DO NOT let the judgement of others (those non-constructive comments/opinions) get the better of you ~
SO WHAT CAN I DO? WHAT HELPS ?!?!
Personally for me, I think that by participating in different activities would allow you to discover your strengths and in addition, get to know yourself better.
For instance, it was through the participation of the Leadership Program did I realise the potential I had in certain aspects of leadership. Because of those activities, there were more instances in which I could showcase my talents and using them as references during interviews.
Ending off with the conversation i had during the counselling session i had as a first year student – where i highlighted the misery felt, when I compared myself to others:” Using driving as an analogy to life, when you are focusing on past events, it is akin to that of being fixated on the rear-view mirror. Would you be able to reach your destination (Goals) if you drive like that or would you meet with an accident? Also, by always comparing yourself to others, is that not similar to that of sticking your head out of the window and peering into another vehicle. It is good to use others as a reference, but you have to acknowledge that in the end, you have your own life to lead – fuelled by your very own goals and priorities.”
You can book an appointment with a counsellor @ http://w3.unisa.edu.au/counsellingservices/