Study & Academia

Don’t believe in failure; Believe in setbacks


University, much like life, is a learning curve of progression. The whole point is to go from level to level, and when you encounter a setback along the way – you work around it. Setbacks are inevitable. They are going to happen. But utilised in the right way, a setback can become the platform to your greatest comeback.

I became a student nurse in February 2017 as a mature student with no prior healthcare experience. In this time, like many others, I have found unexpected success in certain areas, and I have faced a degree of hardship in others.

As my first year as a student nurse draws to a close, I owe all of my success to the humbling moment of failing early on. You see, the moment that my mindset changed for the better was the moment I was told that I failed my very first OSCE.

But how did this failure serve as a great platform for me to succeed?

I soon came to realise that I hadn’t failed anything. What happened was not fatal, and what I encountered was a setback.

Falling down taught me discipline and gave me focus. Falling down taught me to look back only to reflect and build, and to appreciate that as students, we are great works of progress.

I created the “6 R System” to be used to turn the tables on most bad situations. It was born from failure, but nurtures success, and it goes as follows:

  1. Remain calm.

Easier said than done, but time is a great healer. Take a few moments out and then move on to step 2.

2. Reflect on what happened. 

Don’t just dwell on the negatives. Reflect on what you did well, and praise yourself for it.

3. Recognise that there is not only one way to get to where you are going. 

It’s not about the destination, after all. It’s about the journey. Think back to the beginning of yours and how far you have come – then move on to step 4.

4. Remember why you started. 

Why are you here? What got you here? Who inspired you to be here? – proceed to step 5.

5. Reward yourself. 

Although you may not feel like it, treat yourself to something that you like doing. I like to listen to my favourite music through a good pair of speakers or go to the gym.

6. Reset. 

Reset, recharge, and go again.


Several weeks after my unsuccessful attempt, I passed the OSCE to a high standard.

So, the next time that you encounter a setback, consider it a valued lesson to be implemented into your unique route to success.

It really is a beautiful thing when preparation meets opportunity.

Don’t believe in failure; believe in setbacks.

(Gino D’Andrea -student nurse) 


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