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Olivia (Year 11) is our new Head Prefect, but like everyone, has had her fair share of failure. Here’s her advice on how to deal with it.
“I know its cheesy, but I never thought I would be standing here today, in front of all of you girls. Although I am the oldest in my year group, I certainly don’t feel like I’m old enough to take on this huge role as Head Prefect, but, I’m as ready as I will ever be.
So, let me introduce 17 years’ worth of myself real quick…
My name is Olivia. I am the middle child to two brothers, one who is 15 (where people thought we were twins) and another who is 19. I lived in Melbourne for three years. I am a terrible liar. I repeated Year 5, can’t sing to save my life and am related to David Attenborough. Yes! David Attenborough! But that’s a story for another time. I wish I could speak to you for hours, but sadly I only have a few minutes to give you a brief snapshot of my life.
Before I started at Wenona, I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t very aware of the world around me. I was just a little girl from the northern beaches who had never really crossed the Spit Bridge, unless I was going to the airport or city, until I attended this School. Basically, to give you an idea, I’d never been to Northbridge and thought it was some made up place in a Nickelodeon TV show!
Anyway, something that I am passionate about is not giving up. I have had my fair share of failures over the years, but as you know everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days. This can be from when I was in Year 6, where I applied to be a prefect and house captain and wasn’t successful in getting either role.
One memorable experience in particular was when I was in Year 9. I had tried out for this elite basketball squad. So, along with six of my teammates, I tried out for this squad. The trial was hard, challenging. In fact, nothing was going to plan. I missed shot after shot. I lost the ball numerous times and even had a wide-open layup that I missed. Conveniently the selectors were watching at that time. Just my luck!
One week later, our parents received emails from the association, letting us know if we had made the squad. Message notifications from my fellow teammates popped up on my phone, asking me if I had made the team. I made my mum refresh her emails every second to see if I’d made the squad. Still no email. My teammates had all received emails along the lines of, “Congratulations! Your daughter has been selected….” Then the dreaded email came through. It was a devastating response. “Unfortunately, your daughter didn’t make the squad.”
So, I’m a person who doesn’t usually get upset over things like this, but that night, I was an emotional wreck.
The thought of all your teammates making the squad except you was not ideal. Basketball is something that I am passionate about, my favourite sport in fact, but on that night, all I wanted to do was quit the sport. I told myself, ‘I’m not good enough,’ and ‘I hate this sport’.
So, I’m not going to lie to you, for the next couple of days I hated that sport, absolutely dreaded going to trainings. But you know what, that’s what happens in life. Somethings don’t go your way and that’s ok. Looking back on this experience, it helped me realise that I actually love this sport. If I hadn’t felt disappointment or failure from it, I wouldn’t have known how passionate I am about basketball. To this day, I still play basketball competitively, making it to the IGSSA team and Senior 1st team. In fact, I re trialled the next year for this squad and I was successful in making it in. This one moment in my basketball career didn’t shatter my dreams, it only motivated me more to play and to get better.
So, my advice to you today, is that whatever it is, don’t let one experience get you down. At that point in time, it felt like the end of the world. And yes, it’s ok to feel like that at first, because it is normal to feel disappointed and upset, but don’t let it define who you are and what you decide to do in the future. It will only help to shape you into a better person, and for me I became a better basketballer after that.
Maybe you have failed a Maths or English exam, but don’t worry I’ve been there before, or have been unsuccessful in making it into Wenona singers, or getting the lead in the school play. I guarantee you, everyone in this school has failed at some point, even Dr Scott. Take my experience as an example, and whenever you fail, don’t see it as a negative! See it as a way to learn and bounce back from it!
Olivia (Year 11)