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Bouncing back from a mistake

Happy October, friends!

I hope your last month has gone well and that you’ve had time to relax and comprehend how fast time is going. We’ve finished half a semester already! It feels surreal that we are in Reading Week already, and soon we will be preparing for finals. Incredible!

In my last blog, I mentioned that I would have submitted a 10-page report with my APSC 200 project teammates, started intramural volleyball, and probably met many more people by this blog’s release date. And I did do all of those things.

However, that doesn’t mean I am a perfect student. I am constantly making mistakes, just like everyone else. I felt the urge to talk about this issue after I clean forgot to submit one of my assignments; it just completely slipped my mind. My advanced calculus homework assignment was due on Friday, October 8th at 11:59 PM, and I had completed it a few days prior. I was waiting to upload it after my differential equations midterm on Friday at 8:30 PM. After my midterm, I left for Reading Week (hello, yummy Thanksgiving dinner!), so all my other school-related responsibility slipped my mind until I was on the car ride back to Guelph the next day. Whoops.

To say I was upset about missing the submission was an understatement. I was sad, depressed, angry, and conflicted. It was unlike me. The worst thing was the assignment was 100% completed, and I felt confident with my answers. I just forgot to submit it.

What was the issue? I marked the due date on my calendar. I finished the assignment. I just… didn’t check my calendar. In fact, I had finally finished an exam I was intensely studying for and was way too excited about going back home. The thought of “Is there anything else due tonight?” never crossed my mind.

Spongebob looking sad with quote "hello darkness my old friend"

I was sad, and I complained to my friends, who gave varying replies:

  1. “Your lowest mark will be dropped anyway, so don’t worry about it.” (But I did poorly on the first assignment, so now I felt like I lost my chance at redemption.)
  2. “I’ve done that before, and I know the feeling. I’m sorry, that sucks.” (Nice to have some solidarity. We’re all in this together!)
  3. “In the same way you forgot about the time you screwed up a quiz in grade 10, you won’t remember this in a year.” (Possibly true, but this statement did not help my short-term gratification.)

I also got every imaginable form of:

  1. “Have you learned your lesson? You walked out of the experience becoming a better person. This probably sucked so much that you will never let it happen again.” (But maybe I didn’t learn my lesson—I’m not sure yet.)

It didn’t matter that the lowest mark of the assignment was dropped, or that I wouldn’t remember what happened in the coming years. I cared about the principle. I carelessly forgot a vital assignment, and I felt terrible. I was moody in the car for the next 30 minutes.

After dwelling in sadness for a while, I considered the messages my friends sent me. I tried to pinpoint the reply that would make me feel better, and it was the fourth point.

I think I have learned my lesson. I know it’s silly, but I never had reminder notifications for due dates before. I thought keeping track of a calendar was enough. Through this experience I learned that I need a bit more help. In a typical week when school is constantly on my mind, I easily remember deadlines. Since my head was in vacation mode right after my midterm, everything school-related went away. I could have used a notification to remind me to submit my assignment.

So yes, I should have submitted my assignment as soon as I finished. I should have checked my calendar before getting distracted by reading week. But I didn’t.

The moral of the story is that this stuff happens to everyone. We’ve made mistakes, and the only thing we can do is learn from them (and email the professor telling them that we’re sorry for missing the deadline and seeing if there’s anything we can do).

The experience was humbling, to be honest. Plus, I realize that we’re always going to evolve and change. My time management techniques might be different in the next year, along with my note-taking methods.

It seems like this blog was more of a rant than anything, but Queen’s is full of academically-inclined students like me. We all need a reminder that we cannot be perfect once in a while.

We shouldn’t forget the achievements we’ve made because our single mistake overshadows them. So to all my perfectionists and hyper-fixators, this blog’s for you!

Let’s keep trekking on 😊 – Liyi