The harsh reality is that sometimes, your best isn’t going to be good enough. You can put every particle of energy and effort into something and still come up short. You’ve probably had it happen throughout your life- think of that exam when you made your flash cards, memorised your definitions, did your practice answers and still looked at the first question and wondered how the fuck you were going to answer it. So, what are you supposed to do about it?

1. Be upset

It’s okay to be upset, we all fall flat on our faces sometimes and when you’ve put the effort in, not being able to reap any rewards can be exhausting. Have a cry, whinge about it, and be down on yourself. Then realise that this is just a tiny blip in the grand scheme of things, get over it and figure out what the next step is.

2. Quit and look at your other options

This isn’t advice to throw in the towel and give up whenever you fail. But re-assess your goals and how you’re trying to get there. Are you pushing yourself for great marks that you don’t need because there’s options for practical apprenticeships? Is there flexible entry options or alternative pathways? Despite what your teachers may be telling you, there’s plenty of ways to get to where you want to be so don’t break yourself trying to go down one path without looking at all the other paths around you.

3. Redefine ‘good enough’

Don’t base your ideas of success on what other people are expecting of you. What’s good enough for you might be completely different to what’s good enough for your teachers and parents and even your friends- and that’s okay. Traditional ideas of success (think good marks, a uni education, marriage, a stable job and solid career with a house and mortgage) are outdated and irrelevant for a lot of us, and flunking your Year 12 exams doesn’t mean you’re not going to be fine. Ditch this path if it’s not working for you and make your own definition of what’s good enough.

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