Academic-Self Discovery: Programs, Clubs and More

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear”- Jack Canfield.

I’ve touched on this subject before but fear is something that can often cause miss opportunities. It might hold one back and make them doubt themselves and/or their goals. When it comes to me, I get really anxious and start talking myself out of things I will want do, however what I have found helps me to combat fear is taking those chances anyway. Some of the ways I do this is by joining and taking part in things that spark my interest, for example writing.

Writing makes me realize that the experience gained when not letting fear get in the way is greater than letting those chances go by. Writing is a great form of expression for me and it is a way of connecting, so finding out about cool events or projects (Literary Arts Festival, Seek Ink and The Buzz) that deal with writing, I knew I had to put myself out tbere. To which I endes up glad that I did because they helped me challenge my craft and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone.

The possibilities of exhibiting your skills are endless. There are opportunities in schools and online. If one were to prefer starting with something less out there, I would suggest joining clubs or workshops at their school. This works well because it allows the output of creativity as well as learning and sharing from their fellow club members. While if someone is more comfortable with the thought of participating locally, looking online for projects, contests or residencies could be the way to go. There are a myriad of sites that have programs one can apply for. This can be a stepping stone for their career or be something that looks great on their resume.

Here are some sites you can check out-

Artist Residency Program

I think it is important for someone to take a chance and put themselves out there, despite fears and doubts. The outcome will do more to benefit them in the long run.

The Fear of Criticism

a green chalkboard with the word "FEAR" written and crossed out, in white chalk

Image Credit

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things” Frank A. Clark.

“Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving” Dale Carnegie.

For a recent class topic, I wrote about criticism, or rather, the fear of criticism. This got me thinking about how to handle criticism in a professional environment. Criticism means to find fault with someone or thing and remark or comment about it. There are two types of criticism – constructive criticism and destructive criticism. It is true that both forms are difficult to deal with and can hurt our feelings, but learning how to cope with criticism can reduce the fear and discouragement we often feel.

Constructive criticism is motivated by a desire to help us improve and grow and destructive criticism is intended to be harmful and can lower our self-esteem. But the truth is that we all make mistakes and criticism will never stop. There will always be both destructive and constructive criticism and we can either use it in a positive or negative way. Whether at school or work, criticism is a part of life. The first step in dealing with criticism is to evaluate the person delivering the message. Who is the person and how was it given?

It’s difficult for us to accept criticism when it’s coming from someone who is not credible in our eyes. So, you should determine if you value their opinion. What is the intention of the person who is criticizing you? Are they judgmental? Do they mean well? Is it someone you like and respect, or is it someone you would rather keep away from? Or maybe it’s a boss who you have to take seriously because it could cost you your job. Once you determine the value of the person, it becomes easier to detach the criticism from the person and the environment.

The second step is to deconstruct the criticism. Look for something—even if it is just a grain—that you can take from what is being said to better yourself? You can’t grow and improve if you can’t take criticism. So the key thing to do is to step back and look at what’s being said and focus on the parts that are most useful. You may find that there is some truth to what is being said.

But regardless if criticism has any basis or not, at the end of the day, what really counts is our attitude towards it.


How do you cope with criticism?

Has it ever held you back and how did you get over it?

Are you still struggling with it?