Rebekah Weinman | Student Success Series

Rebekah Weinman, University of Toronto psychology student

This blog has been reviewed by Laura Amodeo and Alvina Lai, edited by Nicholas Murray, and formatted and published by Béa Schueller.

***

Rebekah, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello! My name is Rebekah Weinman, and I am entering my third year at the University of Toronto. I am majoring in both Psychology and Human Biology.

My passion for psychology began when I was in high school. I took AP Psychology on a whim when I was in eleventh grade, and almost instantly fell in love with the subject. The class touched briefly upon the basics of psychology, but I knew I wanted to learn more.

Now, as a third-year Psychology student, I am taking more specific and in-depth courses on topics that interest me. I have a particular curiosity for developmental psychology and learning about how children develop emotionally, socially, and cognitively.

I was only introduced to positive psychology recently, but have quickly become an advocate for it. I think it is important that a greater emphasis is placed on enhancing and elevating an individual’s quality of life. Positive psychology, mindfulness, and well-being are excellent tools to achieve this. I hope that by working as a CPPA Student Ambassador I can help spread the knowledge of positive psychology to others.

It is important that a greater emphasis is placed on enhancing and elevating an individual’s quality of life.

What do you think made you successful as a student?

I think there are many traits and habits that make me a successful student. One of the most important qualities any student can have is resilience. Personally, my first year of university did not go as smoothly as I had hoped. Starting at a new school in a new city, living on my own for the first time; there were lots of mistakes made. In the beginning, I let these blunders negatively affect my mental health. I convinced myself that I was not cut out for my program or even my school.

After talking with my peers, friends, and family members who all had similar experiences, my outlook changed. I came to understand that the only way to succeed in my education was to be resilient and bounce back from failures. I began viewing these mistakes as lessons to learn from and using them as new beginnings in my journey. I recognized that giving up would not benefit me in any way. However, if I took these experiences as a learning opportunity, I could become a more successful student.

The only way to succeed in my education was to be resilient and bounce back from failures.

Another quality I attribute to my success overall and especially as a student is knowing how to manage my time effectively. Given that the past year of my education was fully online and mainly asynchronous, time management played a huge factor in my accomplishments. I was in full control of when I needed to watch lectures, read textbooks, and complete homework, so I could meet the professor’s deadlines. This may sound like a dream to some, but as a person who needs structure to excel, it was a nightmare. The first couple of weeks were rough. I was constantly worried about falling behind and I was very stressed. However, with some planning, which consisted of a number of different schedules, and endless checklists, I was able to persevere and perform better than I ever had before.

What strength, skill, strategy, mindset, or habit allowed you to get to where you are today?

I am a firm believer that a solid routine and strong habits are necessary to succeed. One of my longest-standing habits is writing down my goals for the day every morning. I am a visual person, and being able to see everything I need to do is extremely helpful. Without my list, I probably would have forgotten to write this blog (thankfully, I didn’t!). Along with this, I try my best to wake up at the same time every day, drink some water, and make my bed. This allows me to start my day off on the right foot and sets the tone for the rest of the day.

A mindset that has helped me get to where I am today is never passing up an opportunity. Even if I feel underqualified for a position, I still apply. There is no risk to putting yourself out there and trying new things, and you can always learn something from the process. This is also helpful in building resilience. I have received countless rejections from applying to research positions, but they motivate me to keep applying and never stop trying. Growing up, I was always told “you never know until you try”, and I now live by that.

There is no risk to putting yourself out there and trying new things, and you can always learn something from the process.

How would you invite other students to cultivate those qualities?

The most effective way to build resilience is to not shy away from situations in which you may not be successful. The fear of not being good enough and the fear of failing shouldn’t stop you from trying your best. Challenging yourself and facing failure is the only way to learn how to bounce back–this is a quality that is important in all aspects of life, not just for academics.

From my experience, the best way to master time management is to try out a number of techniques until you find the best fit. This is not always an easy process and it is important to not get discouraged. Every individual is different and thus, no single technique will work for every student. It is important to remember that it takes time to find what works best for you.

The fear of not being good enough and the fear of failing shouldn’t stop you from trying your best.

Any last words you’d like to share with your fellow students?

I would like to remind every reader that your experiences and pathways to success are unique. Taking advice from others is great, but at the end of the day, it is important to find what meets your individual needs and what works best for you.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to reach out to me at rebekah.weinman@mail.utoronto.ca

If you haven’t already, please consider getting your Canadian Positive Psychology Association membership to join our wonderful community and check out our Student Zone! Plus, if you liked this blog or if it has helped you in any way, please take a moment to like, share, or comment.

We are the Student Ambassador Program of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association (CPPA). Find our website here: https://www.cppa.ca/Student-Zone