• The Mentorship Spot

The F-Word You Need to Know in Order to Succeed

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Beata Fourmanovskis


“The first thing you have to realize is that other people make mistakes too, not only you. Admitting defeat is the first step…”

Beata is a third-year student in the Business Administration (BA) program at Schulich at York University. She is an involved member in the community at York University as she is a part of York SOS, Jewski, and Rotaract.


1. Why do you think struggle and failure are necessary to reach success?


I think they are necessary because you will never reach your full potential unless you make mistakes. You have to be willing to fail — and be willing to fall — in order to reach the top — whatever that top goal may be. Just like any building you need a good foundation. The early part of life is a time when you’re building your foundation, and it’s the time to make mistakes. It’s better to make mistakes in the beginning and learn from them, rather than making them later on in your life or career. If you don’t learn from your foundation you’re not going to get a good tower, but the more you learn and struggle the better your foundation will be. That’s why I think both failure and success tie into each other, and the earlier you make mistakes the sooner you learn and it can lead to your success.


2. What steps would you take, or advise someone, to overcome a failure?


The first thing you have to realize is that other people make mistakes too, not only you. Admitting defeat is the first step because it’s the biggest — to say that you were wrong and admitting it because no one likes to admit that they weren’t right. Once you realize this, work on improving and learning from your mistakes — see where you went wrong and try again. In sum, allow yourself to keep trying, admit to your mistakes, and do better next time.


3. What motivates you to keep pushing forward despite the struggles and obstacles you face?


What motivates me is focusing on the end goal and having it in mind. For example, what keeps me pushing forward for school is having this thought in my mind that my hard work will be worth it in the end if I study hard and get that A on the exam. What also motivates me is the realization that life is a process — life is a journey and not a destination.

I also try to do things in advance to give myself that time and flexibility to learn, procrastinate if I need to, and to work on the mistakes I’ve made. That’s why it’s always important that as soon as you get an assignment from your teacher that you get started on it right away; don’t wait until the last minute (although it’s easier said than done). You will feel much better for having started early and for giving yourself that time rather than waiting until the last minute.


4. What advice would you give to students in their final year of high school, and in any year of university, who are unsure of what career paths they want to pursue?


Always be open-minded and open to other possibilities, never close any door. It sounds like a cliché but it’s really important that no matter where you go in life to always keep doors open. Don’t be fixated on one profession, such as “I only want to become a doctor and nothing else”. You may realize later on that you don’t actually want to become a doctor, but you’ve only been setting yourself on this one, straight path. Try new things and be willing to take new courses that are outside of your comfort zone. Those are the courses that will really push you and make you a well-rounded person. If you are a student focusing on the sciences, take a dance course, or acting course, or anything outside of the field! It really exposes you to what the world is like and the world is not narrow. That is what life is about, because if life was narrow it would be boring. In sum, definitely allow yourself to be open to new things, and allow yourself to be in those situations. If it gets too intense then take a step back and maybe decide on something else.


5. If you don’t know where you see yourself in five years, where would you start?


I think a lot of us don’t know where we’re going to be in five years (other than fortune tellers ). I think it’s good to have goals in mind but never be rigid like “okay this is my path” and only that. It’s important to list down ideas you have. For instance, if you are a high school student thinking about post-graduation it’s good to list down all possible options such as university, college, trade school, etc. because post-secondary education is not just about going to university or college. There are so many different options available; maybe even consider taking a gap year. Especially in today’s market, it’s no longer the case that if you get a university degree you’ll get a job. It’s very competitive and sometimes giving yourself that room to breathe after high school — like taking a gap year — is actually better than going straight to university. Maybe university is not where you want to be and you want to be in trade school: to be practicing and to enter the workforce earlier. So definitely consider all your options available and do your research. Make sure your path is your own — don’t follow anyone else’s and think you must follow the same path just because that person did, or because society tells you to. It’s okay to listen to advice, but you don’t always have to take it — feel free to say no. Make sure that whatever you want to study you are passionate about it — you have to be dedicated and this goes for any degree.

To end off this article, what’s your favourite quote or saying that you live by?


“Your life is defined by you only, not by anyone else, so make sure you define it your way.”

Interviewed by Amanda Chang


Thanks for reading this article! If you liked it, consider checking out the other articles on our page and stay tuned for new ones weekly! Did you know we also pair high school students with uni students in their desired program for advice and mentorship? Check out our sign-up page to register as a mentor or mentee today!

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