Celebrating the Smaller Achievements

When you get into a university like McGill, chances are you’re a pretty good student. Maybe you’re one of the best. Your grades are consistently high, you’re always engaged in class, you’ve never missed a day of school and you’ve never failed even the smallest of assignments. You probably expect the same out of college, but by the time first semester ends, you realize this is not the case at all. I know, I’ve been there. The first year is hard and to be completely honest, it wasn’t at all like what I’d heard and thought it was supposed to be. There are bumps along the way and not everything you do will turn out perfect, but learning to recognize, appreciate, and celebrate your smaller achievements will prove to be beneficial.

For myself, personally, it has always been easier to see what went wrong rather than what went right. All the mistakes or lower grades have always overpowered the successes. This made me feel quite unsatisfied with my first year, because even though things weren’t too bad, they looked much worse in my head. One of my biggest advice for this is to make a list the way one would make a gratitude list – regularly list out what you do achieve and what you do succeed in. Even if it feels unimportant (i.e. not worth a significant portion of your grade), make sure you acknowledge it and write it down.

It’s also good to keep in mind that disappointments happen to everyone, even to the best. It’s no surprise that the first year, for example, is always a little rough because learning to balance everything in life at once leaves plenty of room for mistakes. We tend to think of what we want to accomplish as a destination, often neglecting the fact that it most certainly is a journey first. This journey is made of trials and errors and attaining your goal can only happen with the wrong turns that come along with it. Put these wrong turns into perspective so as to highlight the right ones. Will it matter tomorrow? Next week? In a year? In 5 years? And if it won’t, it may not be worth your time and energy to worry about.

Always celebrate even your smallest achievements. Whether that’s in class, on your first day of a new job, in your personal day-to-day life, or part of a bigger dream. These small accomplishments are vital. They are the first steps in reaching larger goals and sure signs of progress.  You are bound to face many unprecedented obstacles, but use these smaller achievements as guiding lights, and as a reminder of how far you have come and that you’re doing okay.

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