My first co-op term at UW I was unable to find a position. It was disheartening as I saw all my friends find positions that they were excited about whileMikolas I was unable to. Initially, I thought it was due to my lack of experience and less than stellar grades. Later, I realized I had multiple spelling mistakes in my resume. 

However, I decided I would get ahead in my studies and take some extra courses while working a part-time job that semester. I initially thought one of the courses was very easy and I didn’t take it seriously. However, during the first test I realized that I only understood a fraction of the questions. I swore to myself that I would study harder and pay more attention for the next test. I failed the first test but thought I could make it up on the next one. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow through and I failed the next test.  

Thankfully there was a final group project that made up a significant portion of my grade. I resolved to work extra hard on that to hopefully save my grade. A couple weeks into the project, my friend (who was in my group) transferred programs and left the course. This resulted in two people trying to complete a project designed for three people. Due to many factors, some within our control and some out of our control, we failed the final project. Ultimately, I failed the course, and this was my first time failing any course.  

Immediately I felt disheartened, worried about whether I would be able to remain in my program, and scared of what people would think of me. It felt like, “this doesn’t happen to UW students” even though I now know there’s simply no way that’s true. 

I slowly began telling people what happened. The reaction I created in my head was much worse than the reality. Many people told me “these things happen”. Seeing the response from people helped me calm myself and I was able to adjust my perspective in such a way that over time it simply became an experience, and eventually a learning experience. I re-enrolled in the course a couple years later with some hesitation and fear. I took it seriously and with a couple more years of University experience under my belt, I was able to finish it with a high 80%. 

- Mikolas Skilandziunas, 5th year Honours Physics student 


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