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What Happens When You Fail a Chemical Engineering Subject

There are many ways students can come to terms with failing a subject.

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There are many ways students can come to terms with failing a chemical engineering subject. Here, it’s basically about what happened after that failure and how I coped with it.

‘Professor, it was the stress. I was tensed and the information was all over the place. I was afraid I wasn’t going to complete the paper.’

‘I understand, but, your answers on the paper is telling me that you still haven’t learned the basics of this subject. I don’t think you are ready yet.’

That’s when I knew. That’s when I knew I was going to have to repeat that damned subject and being an ass kisser wasn’t going to help. Well, that was my first time in her office and there wasn’t much on my paper to argue for. But, I still desperately tried to convince her to just give me that passing grade. I tried all sorts of bullcrap to convince her; it was due to the stress the questions were going over my head, the concepts were all over my mind, the time wasn’t enough,etc. However, it looked like the more I spoke, the more certain she became about my understanding of the subject and the more hopeless I became of passing it.

‘Afsana, wake up! She posted the grades online, wake up’.

Are you failing a chemical engineering subject? (Source: Giphy

I saw the message and rushed to check my grade. Failure was confirmed for me, since I heard it directly from the horse’s mouth, but I guess I just overlooked it. As a student, I was still expecting her to just let me through to the next phase. I went online, saw the failing letter and that was it. My confidence became like that of Humpty-Dumpty’s fate, broken and couldn’t be put together again. Not passing the subject was disheartening in itself, but the fact that it was my very first Chemical Engineering subject, added more fuel to the fire. That fact alone threw me into a pool of doubts and I started questioning myself.

Well, before reaching that phase of sanity, I had to overcome some rough hurdles.


I cried like how Luffy cried for his brother Ace when he died in the anime One Piece. Loud and clear, I was all over the damn place—the feeling was that devastating. ‘The first subject of the field and I failed it?’,’ Should I just quit?’,’ Stupid woman! What would you lose if you would have given me the passing grade?’, ‘You had to fail me! Have you ever asked yourself why students fail your class?’.  I drowned in negativity and sometimes even Googled inspirational quotes to get me back up. The quotes didn’t help much really, but, thanks to time, over-eating and animes, which really helped me in getting out of the negativity. Eventually, I came to terms with the failure and tried to move on.

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Not so fast! The parents! 

Are you failing a chemical engineering subject? (Source: Giphy

My mom was fine, but my dad wasn’t! For them, failing a subject is like blasphemy! I remember the expression my dad gave me. It was like he was deeply staring into my soul and was about to rip it apart into an atom’s size. It was hard for him to accept it, because according to him, ‘Students no matter how bad he/she does in a subject, can never fail it. They will somehow pass it.’

I could see my life as an engineering student coming to an end, but, my other subjects’ grade held onto my dad. After he went through my other grades, it finally enlightened upon him that overall, I wasn’t a bad Chemical engineering student. He saw that I was doing great in my other subjects and my license as a Chemical engineering student was fortunately saved from cancellation. It took them time, but, they eventually understood.

The next semester began and I found myself crazily wanting Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, to avoid people and to sneakily enter the class of that damned subject. I entered the class and my friend says to me, ‘Yea, me too.’ At that instant, the feeling of embarrassment was masked by this overwhelming feeling of happiness. Turned out, my friends too were on the same boat with me. Honestly, it’s a great feeling to know that it’s not only you, but, even your friends are next level geniuses.

But, was it only the subject? The subject does indeed have a habit to throw the students into a dark abyss. The concepts were new and different, so it was sort of difficult for many of us to understand and absorb them. However, that wasn’t the only reason we had to repeat the subject. Looking at so many students repeating the class, disclosed a rather undeniable fact—the Professor sucked. Unfortunately, she was partially at fault for not being able to get us geniuses around the concepts clearly.

Read more  Your Engineering Grades Don’t Define You

Are you failing a chemical engineering subject? (Source: Giphy

Am I not smart enough? Will I just be a terrible Chemical Engineering student if I continue? It was my first Chemical Engineering subject, so I had to ask myself, ‘Was it the right major for me?’. I remember my Professor telling me, ‘Never evaluate yourself based on 1-2 subjects. Look at your overall performance and then determine if it’s the right major for you or not.’ Regardless of that, my confidence was still shaken up and I still questioned as to why I didn’t get it the first time.

The subject and the Professor were the minor reasons, but, the major reason for my failure was because I sucked at it. I remember I used to just brush through the questions and instead of solving them, I used to directly jump onto the solutions. I couldn’t grasp the concepts, because I slacked off. I kept piling everything up till the end. This was my major mistake. I forgot that I was doing Engineering, that too, Chemical Engineering.

The revelation came in too late, but, failing a subject doesn’t determine a student’s success or failure. Failure is not bad, rather, it’s a displeasing way to reflect upon ourselves and our methods. Therefore, we as engineering students, should try to understand that failure is a temporary phase and that success is just around the corner. Never let 1-2 subjects determine whether you are a successful student or a failure. It’s not the subjects, rather, it’s your motivation, your perseverance and your attitude that determine your successes and failures. So, never doubt yourself, always look ahead and remember, you are a Chemical Engineering student; you are a survivor.

Are you failing a chemical engineering subject? (Source: Giphy)

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Afsana Alam

Afsana Alam is a chemical engineering student at American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. She is a broke blogger and a huge fan of animes.


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