Mapping Your Future: Successful students do this one thing


Successful students do this one thing

By Catherine Mueller

March 23, 2023

Successful students often do a lot of the right things to accomplish their educational goals but there’s one thing they all do.

Successful students don’t let setbacks stop their progress toward their goals.

No matter how perfect a student’s life may seem from afar, let’s face it – everyone eventually experiences some type of setback.

Whether the setback is major or minor – a poor grade, a failed class, frustrations with a group project, or some type of rejection – the impact can cause a major disruption. However, there are some steps you can take to keep setbacks from becoming major roadblocks:

  • Determine the severity of the setback. The moment you get some bad news or have a bad experience, it’s sometimes easy to consider a bigger problem than it is in reality. Give yourself sometime to adjust to the situation before taking any action. You may decide the problem is one you can manage without any major change or outside help.
  • Talk to someone about the setback. Discuss the situation with someone you can trust – a parent, a counselor, or a mentor. Maybe, it’s just a one-time thing, like a bad grade on a test or maybe it’s a bigger issue, like a failing grade for an entire course. A trusted outsider can give you the perspective you need to determine if the issue is one you need to address right now or if it is something that may be an exception to what otherwise is a good situation.
  • Take action to address the setback. It’s important to recognize that not every setback can be reversed, but sometimes just taking proactive action can make the setback seem less important. If the setback was a rejection for a job or a campus position, then start researching other opportunities. You may find there are a lot better opportunities available than the one you didn’t receive. If the setback was a bad grade, change your study habits to do better on the next project or exam.
  • Analyze the setback to determine what you can learn from it. Many great leaders and entrepreneurs have long records of failures and setbacks before they were successful. With each setback, they learned something new and were able to use that knowledge to accomplish their goals.

While we hope you never experience any setbacks, if you learn how to deal with them now, you’ll be a lot better prepared for your life after college.