you're reading...



The following blog post was written by Peer Advisor Ryan, a CCAS sophomore studying english, creative writing, and history.

My name’s Ryan. That’s me, dressed up for Halloween in a tribute to one of mankind’s greatest works, Jason Bateman’s Teen Wolf Too. And if there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I make lot of mistakes.

Mistakes? I hear you asking. Why, you’re an Honors student! Don’t you endlessly perseverate upon mistakes so that you never make them again? What could this be?!

Well, inquisitive voice, I’m glad you asked.

Let me weave you a tale of a recent goof, one involving an essay. Back at the beginning of the year, I found myself in a class in which a paper was assigned on the first day. Which, yeah, that was awesome. But, anyway, the assignment was only two pages, the topic seemed easy enough, and I had two weeks to do it.

Ha! thought I. What paltry errands lay here![1]

At least, that was what I thought.

A week later, I sat down on Sunday night to write a paper for that Monday/Wednesday class, because, I thought, why would a paper for a Monday/Wednesday class be due any day besides Monday/Wednesday? So I logged in to Blackboard to look at the rubric, and that’s when I saw something funny.

Hm, it’s already on Blackboard. Weird.
Hm, it says it’s been graded as a zero. Weird.
Hm, it says that it was due last Thursday. And that it’s ten percent of my grade.

CUT TO: me, frantically emailing to my professor to vigorously apologize, and subsequently being told that, for parity’s sake, she wouldn’t accept late assignments. Then: one minute later, me, frantically making an appointment with Mary, inserting in the Tell me about this problem section a thematically-appropriate GIF:

After that, I took some time to have a slight meltdown, panicking and thinking that, because of this one assignment, I’d end up failing, ruining my four-year plan, dropping out of school, living in the back of a garbage truck with a mean and not-very-conscientious raccoon as a roommate—typical stuff.

That’s when I had to stop myself.

I was doing, I realized, what thirteen years of high-achieving academic culture had conditioned me to do. I’d made one mistake and was mercilessly beating myself up over it, worrying about how my life theretofore would become a dumpster fire because of it.

But I didn’t need to do that. I just had to stop worrying and focus on what to do next.

I stopped dwelling in my mistake, and instead started thinking constructively. I found that there was plenty of extra credit in that class, so I could still get an A, and that—somehow—life would go on if I didn’t get an A. So, by the time I went into Mary, I met her not as the screaming Patrick GIF but as Jason Bateman from Teen Wolf Too:

Everybody makes mistakes, and Honors students are no exception. In fact, mistakes can be extra tough as an Honors student, because you’ve likely been trained to beat yourself up over them ad nauseum. But, as I learned, the important thing is not to punish yourself for a mistake—it’s to accept that it happened, recognize that it’s probably not a world-ending mistake, and remember you can always recover from it.

[1] Accurate inner monologue