The sweetest victories are the ones that are the most difficult. The ones that require you to dive down deep inside yourself and to fight with everything you've got. A fight that you do not know until that do or die moment if your effort will be enough.

While these sweet victories are few and few between, the desire to win is almost always there. Society does not reward defeat, and there aren't many failures chronicled in history books.

For many students across the country, the end of the semester is approaching and with that, comes exams.

In the midst of the deadlines, I found myself reflecting on these inner battles and thinking more about failures.


This sort of reflection started as one could expect; studying in the library, rubbing my eyes and watching the clock creep towards what can only be considered an absurd hour.

Brain whirring with existential thoughts; what's the point of all of this, what if I fail, when can I get a break ...

One of the things that snaps me out of these thoughts is the possibility of a stumble. The fear of failure wakes me up like a cold shower. While I know that failure is part of life, it is still a reality I do not look forward to.

We have all heard the cliches about the importance of resilience. It seems that everyone has advice on how to live, and one heavily cited sentiment that 'it's not that you fell but it's that you got back up'. Yet many of us still avoid the prospect of failure.

Perhaps we tend to avoid it as stumbling forces us to pause for a moment and think about why something didn't go well. It's a shame, really, that we tend to avoid these moments of reflection and improvement. We will never learn to move out of our comfort zone if we
don't overcome our fear of failure.

Even if we do stumble, it is not a step backward; it is usually a stepping stone to success.

Without sounding too much like a line you would find in a Hallmark card, we do grow and learn from our mistakes so perhaps stumbling is not such a bad thing.

So when I'm in the library and fantasising about the day when my exams are over, and that I made it through the battle unscathed, I will remind myself of stumbling sugary aftertaste. I will think of the upside of failing. As even if I fail now, it's the added effort that will make my next victory all the more sweet.


Or at least, that's the kind of logic that I can use to justify giving myself a few days off.

— Writer Lilli Scott is a former journalism intern at NZME, dux of Aquinas College, and proud recipient of the University of Otago Academic Excellence Entrance Scholarship. Now studying English and politics at Otago, with dreams of one day being a foreign correspondent, Lilli writes monthly for indulge