By reading the IMFSE blogs, you might think we write about optimistic and cheerful topics because we are optimistic and cheerful people. Indeed! IMFSE students are! however it´s not always rainbows and butterflies (yes, I´m quoting Maroon 5 here) so this time, I will share with you one of my ¨failure¨ during the program.
During the 1st semester, we all struggle with different things. In some cases, home sickness is a strong issue. In other cases, managing the cultural changes and adjusting the learning method can be complicated. In my case, I struggled with one specific course: Basics of structural engineering.
For you to understand better, I must let you know a bit about myself. My background is industrial engineering (focused on processes optimization) with a master in occupational health and safety, this means that basically I have almost cero knowledge in structural engineering. I chose Gent as my 1st university knowing that I would have a challenge with this specific course, however I really liked the rest of the courses so I decided to accept the challenge and go for it.
I won´t lie to you, it was really a challenge. A challenge that in the first semester I didn’t conquered so I ended up failing by a few points even though I tried. In all my academic life, I had never ¨failed¨ that bad and I was feeling that I wasn’t good enough to be in the program, I was questioning all my life decisions out of one ¨fail¨ in my academic records. It took me weeks of mental preparation and a lot of ¨TED talks¨ from my friends and family pointing out that I did very good in the other courses to finally overcome it, and start doing something about it instead of being negative about it.
So, I decided to ¨study like a Granger¨ and improving my weakness.
Spring break came by, and I saw how most of my classmates went for the trip of their lives and I was studying for my exam. Again, I won´t lie. This hit me very hard, however I decided to stop being negative and focus on learning and not only ¨passing¨ the exam. I still don’t know the results of my exam, but I can tell you that I feel satisfied that now I know by heart how to identify lateral torsional buckling out of a description among other things, so yes, I can say that this time I learned.
For what I experienced, ¨failure¨ is an opportunity to learn what your weaknesses are, to know your limits and to push them as far as you can, and the most important, to know when you need to ask for help and to appreciate those in your life that are there to support you in your hardest times.
My message here is: ¨Failure¨ is in your mind.
Learn from the difficulties, surround yourself with people that has a good vibe and never give up!! you can do it and then you can go for a 72 hours trip to Berlin (that´s what I did anyways)