The Chemist: Handling Setbacks

Hey everyone! I hope you all are having a great week. This week's topic is about handling setbacks. This is really important because at some point in our lives things don't go as we planned and we have to be able to navigate through those situations. In grad school, this is something that happens pretty often. You have a research project and think it's going to go one way, but in reality something unexpected happens. Or you think you're on track to get something done, then something else comes up, it's basically a cycle. So this week, I'm going to give you all Devin's 4 R's to Handling Setbacks. Now this is not a tried and true method, it's just what I personally do when a roadblock comes my way.

Here we go...

Step 1: Reflect

So I'm sitting there face to face with my setback, the first thing I do is reflect on it. What did I do wrong? What could have gone better? How can I fix this next time to prevent this problem? These are questions I ask myself to get thinking about what this setback is and what can be done about it. Reflection is an important first step because it also calms you down. You don't want to overreact about something or act out of pure emotion - that could cause more harm than good. You want to handle roadblocks with a level head.

Step 2: Regroup

After I've reflected on what's happened, I make a game plan. Regrouping for me means taking out my favorite notebook and thinking out loud in it. This notebook pretty much contains any and everything you could imagine I need to plan out in graduate school, it's like the Holy Grail of all things pertaining to my work here. But I review what I did, how I planned something out, what results I got, then start from there and develop a new strategy. Regrouping doesn't always mean starting from scratch, sometimes you just missed something (which you'll realize after reflection) and you can start from that point and move forward. Now I will say that sometimes you have to take a step backwards first, but that's okay. The main point of this step is to come up with a plan that fixes the issues of the original one to try to move forward.

Step 3: Revise

This is more of a hands on step for me, but making revisions is my next course of action. Note: Steps 2 & 3 pretty go hand in hand or could happen simultaneously. I'm just separating them here. Once I have a game plan and collected myself, I head to the lab. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different outcomes. So don't do that. When I go back and try something again, I do it differently. I change something from what I originally did to see if that helps or not. You have to be able to attack something from different angles so being able to revise your strategy is key. Just like there are multiple ways to get to a destination, there are multiple paths to take to get you where you need to go in work, school, life, etc.

Step 4: Repeat

My final R is repeat and this is here because sometimes you can do allllllll of these things and it still fail. IT IS OKAY. Failure is a part of life so if you overcame one setback and encounter another, you just repeat these steps. Some things take a few tries to get done, but once you get there it's all worth it in the end. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having to try again, or even multiple times for that matter. In the words of Aaliyah, "If at first you don't succeed, dust yourself off and try again". '

I hope Devin's 4 R's to Handling Setbacks got you thinking about how you deal with setbacks. Tweet me some of your own steps!

See you next week for #Macademics

-The Chemist

#BlackChemist #MacScientist #Science #BlackWomeninSTEM #Reflection