Growing Resilience

Semester two of university has started this week and I am a little apprehensive. Why? Well when I received my results for semester one it was confirmed that I had failed both subjects. so the whole semester. I say confirmed, because I knew instinctively I wasn’t going to pass based on the results I had been getting. But I still took it hard. For a few days I didn’t tell anyone outside my immediate family because I didn’t want to deal with their reactions fearing they would be only negative. My perfectionist streak showed its colours; I wondered what the point of doing a degree in Commerce was if all I did was fail.

It hurt when I realised I failed, I have failed assignments before but never whole subjects and definitely not whole semesters. Each experience we have can grow and change us for the better or worse. I can see both in my own life. Some I wish they hadn’t shaped me the way they have. During my childhood I had about six major, multi – level surgeries to improve my quality of life and to prevent things like my hips being ripped out of their sockets. That experience shaped my determination; but also shaped my aversion to hospitals and medical professionals as well as medical procedures. I want my first semester of studying Commerce to shape me for the better, rather than the worse. To grow me, rather than break me. Sure I failed the subjects, but I gained in self growth. I felt my work – life balance was healthier than it ever has been, I was less critical of myself and I felt calmer. Now approaching second semester there are things I can improve on to hopefully achieve better academically:

  • I made the assumption that because I have a part – time workload rather than being a full – time student and that I had studied before, I would have WAY more time to complete everything that I needed to do. I found out quickly, but yet way too late, that I was wrong. This time I will give myself more time than I think I need.
  • I started university quickly, I got accepted on the Thursday and started class on the Monday. As a result I felt like I was constantly chasing my tail, so to speak. This semester I feel more prepared and organised thanks to the insight of first semester.
  • In first semester I never got around to registering with the disability sector of the university for two reasons a) everything got busy and I didn’t make the time and b) I thought I could complete the degree without it because I was part – time and I guess also wanting to prove I could do it; to be a regular student. My grades showed the reality that I do need some assistance. So this semester I have a doctor’s appointment in a couple of weeks (getting a doctor’s appointment in the country is hard) then I will be able to register with the disability sector of the university to receive required supports.
  • I made mistakes with the assignments and exams. When I repeat the subjects I have a few ideas on how to improve. Also completing different subjects in this semester the ways to improve can be applied.


Joshua 1:9 says, “I repeat, be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I, the Lord your God, am with you in all you do.”

Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. I was frustrated that my first thought was to give up rather than pick myself up and try again (thankfully the resilient thought pattern followed soon after the temptation to give up). The thing is I am still growing resilience as a character trait. The definition doesn’t say resilience equals not allowing yourself to feel, that is unrealistic and unfair to yourself. Resilience is choosing not to give up, to learn from mistakes, to try again, to not expect perfection from yourself or others.



  • Marg Borneman
    Posted at 11:25h, 13 July Reply

    Thank you Cathryn. Your open and vulnerable way of sharing yourself is an amazing gift that you offer. THANK YOU! God’s best for you through this semester – and I’m sure there’s going to be some passing happening this time round! Blessings

  • Olwen Hoadley
    Posted at 01:06h, 14 July Reply

    The guts to share so honestly about your situation is inspiring. You may not have got the Uni results you desired but the life learning you shared shows the qualities you are developing are ones that you can’t learn out of books. Blessings to you as continue into next semester. Xxoo

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