Tuesday, May 13, 2014

our efforts in an endeavor

My darling friend Enstin (who I’ve featured on this blog) sent me this post from her blog Pigeons & Loquats this week, articulating something we’ve been discussing for a few weeks. In context of life, why do we fixate on grades so much? Why do we judge our entire selves based on this one narrow aspect of our lives? 

Enstin’s made sense of my jumbled thoughts.

- We form an attachment to external rewards for validation.
- If we fail in earning these external rewards, we interpret it as intrinsic failure.
- We do not recognize external rewards have factors that are out of our control.

“Self-blame results when we forget that other factors often play a part in the results and unforeseen life events happen, overhauling carefully laid plans.”

 

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Juliana messaged me this a while back and I’ve since put it on a sticky on my laptop:

“Grad school is rough and there's no sugar coating how difficult it is. You have long hours of work and right now the only thing we have are grades to tell us our worth. We get compared and are made to think our grades matter. It gives us a hard punch in our self esteem.”

And it is precisely because there are external factors at play. You don’t get a report card with an asterisk noting: “ *tried her best but had a family emergency this week.” So stuff happens OUT of your control: You get sick. You skip one class and there are ten questions from that single lecture. There are ten mix-and-match questions and you suck at those. Family emergencies happen.

Looking through the archives, I’ve talked about this before here on the blog: this prayer and what dental school isn’t. When I forget these things, I’m surrounded by people who never fail to remind me. This message from someone made me smile so much.

2014-05-11 14.47.36

Plus a last reminder from Enstin: “Our efforts in an endeavor are worthwhile.”

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