I never achieve my goals on the first attempt

The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my late 20s. While working part-time, I’m studying with the aim to take the national bar examination. I’m worried because I haven’t been able to achieve my goals the first time I attempt them.

I graduated from a prestigious private university, then completed law school at a reputable state-run university.

In one way, I appear to have lived a life without setbacks. In reality, however, I failed my university entrance examinations in the initial year, so I had to take the tests again the next year.

When studying at law school, I wanted to take a two-year course, but I could only pass the test for a three-year one. I had to spend one year longer at law school than I had initially planned. I’ve also failed to pass the national bar examination once before.

Although I’m already old enough to make a living on my own, I still live in my parents’ nice, comfortable home so that I can continue studying as I want. On the other hand, my friends have already started full-time work, gotten married, given birth or passed the bar examination to start their legal careers. I’m frustrated that I’ve been left behind.

I also feel sorry for the burden I am putting on my parents. Yet contrary to expectations, I have found it difficult to focus on studying more seriously. I feel miserable as I’m becoming more and more lazy year after year.

I have no idea how to remain motivated to move forward and achieve my immediate goal.

T, Ibaraki Prefecture

Dear Ms. T:

You are distressed that you haven’t been able to achieve your goals on the first attempt. But it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

To tell you the truth, I failed the bar examination twice. But once I passed it, I found that spending two or three more years studying to pass the exam had not been a disadvantage to my career at all. I even believe that if you overcome difficulties, you can develop a richer character than those who have led a problem-free life.

If you suffer a setback, you should use it as a chance to recharge your batteries and try again. In fact, you were able to enter a prestigious private university in the second year after failing once. I believe you have the ability to succeed if you work hard. You should not give up on your goal after failing just once.

Passing the bar examination is just a step toward becoming a legal professional, not the goal of your life. What is important is how to live your life after starting your law career.

However, you cannot take the next step unless you pass the test. So all you have to do right now is focus on your studies.

Nonetheless, if you are too tense for a long time, your mind can easily break. So you should occasionally take a rest. I suggest you come up with a studying method that has a good balance between work and rest.

Sachiyo Dohi, lawyer

(from March 15, 2017, issue)Speech

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