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How to balance your educational ambitions with your possibilities


For many ambitious young people, obsessive striving to be perfect is the problem. For some, it really motivates achievements, but for most, it causes overstrain, increased anxiety, problems with self-esteem, and, consequently, procrastination, which prevents the implementation of desired plans. We have made a list of tips that allow you to “adjust” the personal educational level to constantly stimulate your development, but not to get frustrated and not to lose motivation.

ducational ambitions

Learning should require effort, but no tantrums

Many movies glorify strict teachers and the idea that a real winner – is the one who is able to endure any pain and willfully lead himself to the cherished goal. Such films are not a bad motivator, but take them too deeply dangerous: the psyche of many people, especially at a young age, is simply not adapted to strong stresses. That is why it is worth choosing a curriculum that is hard enough (and you can track gradual progress), but not so hard that it squeezes out all the energy, and the fear of dropping out has turned into a constant nightmare. There is no universal scale, and everyone should follow their own feelings: some people can “plow” intellectually for more than eight hours a day, while others lose energy and concentration after four or five hours of work. Both are normal, as long as one can use this time wisely and achieve realistically set goals. Any formal achievement is not worth the following emotional burnout.

It is a time when you can and should make mistakes

The advantage of studying is that in the process you can experiment much more than in “adult” life – although not everyone sees this invaluable opportunity, trying from the beginning to do everything “right” and meet the expectations of teachers and parents. Much more interesting results can be achieved if you relax a little and start to perceive the educational process as a kind of computer game: it is okay if you do not pass some level on the first try, but you learn to act in different ways. A non-conformist essay or a daring scientific experiment may not please the conservative teacher and will not bring the cherished “A”, but it will give you a great idea for your future thesis. However, you can always use write my essay online to get a good grade and save your time.

Often the secret of success is in the right tools

¬†This advice follows directly from the previous one: often we perceive success or failure as something closely related to our personality (hence the idea that there are “winners in life” and, on the contrary, “losers”). So many people’s self-esteem is highly dependent on achievements and failures. This is not a very constructive approach: research shows that self-belief really helps with cognitive tasks, so it is in anyone’s best interest to make their self-esteem stable. And this is facilitated by a realistic attitude toward failure: “If something did not work, it is not because I am bad/ stupid/ lazy/ I need to emphasize, but because I did not prepare well enough, or I chose the wrong tool for the task, or I did not have enough knowledge. I need to change my approach and try again”. We don’t lose faith in ourselves when we realize that we took the wrong screwdriver to unscrew a screw – the same way we can approach academic tasks that are not solved the first time.

Satisfy only your own ambitions

If learning is not fun but looks like an endless race on a treadmill, it may be a challenge imposed by the environment. Often parents devalue a child’s interests because of seeming impracticality (e.g., “with linguistics you’ll earn nothing in college, and lawyers are needed everywhere” – although in fact there are too many lawyers in the labor market, and the demand for linguistics is now greatly increased because of multicultural projects and the development of computer languages). Or classmates dream about the same specialization (let’s say, everyone is interested in economic journalism, and you prefer the search for social justice). Here it is important to decide for yourself that you do not have to do what is prestigious to others. All the key indicators of success should be based on their system of values, then the achievements will be a real pleasure. This framework of thinking, of course, will be easier to maintain if the management of the department and fellow students at least approximately support your values so that the human factor is not the least important when choosing a place to study.

Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life

In various formulations, this phrase is now very popular. It sounds tempting, but it leads to unjustified expectations. First of all, you have to work anyway, and even Steve Jobs had his moments of boredom and difficulty. This is normal – another thing is that if you do something you enjoy, the process of learning and working is often an encouragement in itself (often, but not always, this is important!). Secondly, the “search for yourself” begins when you choose a university, although no one obliges students then to work all their lives in their chosen specialty once and for all, or even to complete their studies at the university. We live in an age when everyone has the opportunity to, in a sense, live several lives and change careers several times. There are many variants of a non-standard combination of bachelor’s and master’s degrees (it is possible, say, to “mix” fashion design with nanotechnology or medicine with IT, and it will be quite in trend by 2020) and almost endless possibilities of additional education. Some people do not stay in one area for a long time, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is possible to find yourself more than once – if at each moment you understand why you are going in the chosen direction.


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