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A Chance for a Fresh Start in a Textbook of Options | Jacqueline Biollo, MBA, ICD.D

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A professor uses the platform of the classroom to reassure and inspire students that post-secondary education can provide a chance for a fresh start, much like a textbook offers options for case studies, homework assignments, and pop quiz material.

Similarly, a friend uses a booth at the local pub to listen to and encourage a friend that moving on from a broken relationship or dead-end job is an opportunity for a fresh start, new relationships, and endless possibilities to pursue one’s hopes and dreams.

Neither situation guarantees success. Students are more likely to associate some of their post-secondary experience with stress and time management deficiencies, procrastination, and mounting financial debt. A friend might feel deflated, heartbroken, vulnerable, and lacking the self-confidence to pursue their hopes and dreams without a safety net.

So how can we help turn these situations around, encourage the student or friend to turn a page in the proverbial textbook, and start anew? With a fork in the road and a roadblock ahead, what strategies exist to conquer the barriers blocking our chance at a fresh start?

The world needs to unify a bit more. A hard sell as we grapple with a post-COVID environment that has proven to be more challenging than most would have anticipated. Mental health issues are rising, financial burdens are ever-present, and the ongoing or lasting effects brought on by isolation and social distancing are wreaking havoc on our ability to network and build relationships effectively.

Yes, for the student or individual who prides themselves on personal growth and development, a concentrated effort to look for plausible solutions and new opportunities may paradoxically be a successful strategy and offer a chance for a fresh start.

As a university educator, many of my students plan to challenge themselves to find opportunities to help them decide what they want to do post-graduation beyond reading about someone else’s adventures and successes in a textbook. And for my friends looking for that chance for a fresh start, I am confident they will start taking stock of their accomplishments and aligning them with their goals and aspirations. They will take control of the endless opportunities beyond those barriers they will conquer but had initially stood prominently in their way.

Knowing they have the confidence, or at least a support system that can remind them of their strengths and abilities, will help these students and our friends when doubt creeps in, adversity strikes, or when the mountain is too high or steep to climb without the help of reinforcements.

Having (self) doubt helps you because it allows you to find your inner strength, re-evaluate or re-align your goals and aspirations, and eliminate the negative self-talk that lingers in your head with positive affirmations. Consider adding a mantra to your self-talk. One that reminds you that you have been dealt a good hand and can and will succeed at anything you put your mind to. Failure, adversity, disappointment, and even heartache know no boundaries. The challenge is to find a target-rich environment wherein you can thrive.

Be ready to begin a new chapter, a fresh start, or give in to a chance. Write the textbook of your life and defend the success of your future with your mind, body, and soul. Expand your network of opportunity, both personally and professionally, and gain access to your untapped resources.

There is no need to defend your idiosyncrasies. Instead, restore your drive and determination and reclaim your confidence and joie de vivre. Demonstrate that you can manage the burdens of anything that stands in the way of your success and happiness. But be humble in your pursuit. Build the bridges to get you over and across the barriers rather than breaking them down.

You are not the first student, friend, or individual to face the challenge of embracing a chance for a fresh start, and you certainly will not be the last.


Jacqueline Biollo finished her Master of Business Administration (MBA) with more confidence than her initial challenging academic experience presented. As a mature student, confidence, study habits, competing priorities, and post-graduation opportunities weighed heavily on her mind. Jacqueline graduated from Royal Roads University in 2013 and has gone on to tackle social advocacy, public relations, and marketing research while assembling solid networks and collaborations in the political, educational, and Indigenous relations sectors.

Photo by Ember Dawn Images | HMUA by Justine Rose


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