The whole experience of my Masters results has taught me to be suspicious of reasons and justifications, even when they seem blindingly obvious.

Had things not gone well with my thesis, I would have been able to fall back on a some very plausible reasons as to why I did not succeed. People would have understood, sympathised and consoled. I would have had a convenient comfort-blanket at hand to justify my failure. No-one would have been any the wiser, including myself.

The thing is, though, that I succeeded despite these set-backs. The obstacles put in my way were not, in themselves, sufficient reasons for failure. Huge though they were, they didn’t stop me from getting such high honours.

What I have learned, therefore, is that it is sometimes possible to succeed despite external adversity. Blaming other people or the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune is not always the most honest means of justifying failure. Often, perhaps, failure comes from within.

That’s a very good thing, too. Failure from within provides an opportunity to learn. While I can’t always do much about what happens around me, when it comes to me and my behaviour, change is possible.

I think I have learned more from this experience than just the subject I studied.