Mistakes are one of life’s great inevitabilities (along with death and taxes). From small blunders to monumental life-altering ones, mistakes are destined to terrorize our numbered days. In fact, the capacity to err comes so naturally to us that it might as well be a bodily function. However, in spite of (or maybe because of) this certainty, we have grown scared and indifferent to failure.
A side-effect of my continuous years of test-taking is a tendency of assigning a great deal of weight on grades rather than mastery of the material. The upshot: a fear of failure shackling me to the comfortable and routine. Often times, this fear has prevented me from speaking up in class or visiting office hours. But, as humbling and humiliating as they are, mistakes should not be avoided or ignored as they are critical to the learning process. Our attempts at ignoring them serve as barriers to learning. By way of example, the questions that I’ve gotten wrong on tests, and the topics I’ve failed to fully comprehend on the first try are the ones that have stayed with me long past the two-week statute of limitations after exam period ends.
While it’s a struggle to be deal with our insufficiencies, it is vital that we change our attitudes on erring as it is from them that we can grow as learners and citizens of this world. Ultimately, our errors, the inconsequential to the significant, are our becoming. The grace to admit our mistakes and the willingness to learn from them is not only a useful skill to have in university, but is also imperative to our survival in the “real world”.