I was just a first year chemical engineering student back then with high hopes for my future. I was naive and I was ambitious. I promised myself I will get good marks in all my subjects because if others can do it, so can I. I was that young engineering student you see in class paying close attention to what the professors were saying.
I remember taking my first college algebra exam. Prior to taking it, I’ve had older friends who reminded me that the subject itself had a reputation that would determine if I was going to have a difficult time or not in the course I chose. I’ve been warned before the school year started that this subject failed a lot of students and broke dreams. It’s a little exaggerated but it was true a lot shifted after failing this class.
So there I was. Taking it. Terribly hoping that I’d get a passing mark. It was my first college algebra exam. It could have also been my first ever college exam as a chemical engineering student. And as soon as I got the score, I remember crying so hard. I was just one point below the passing score. I just thought what a failure I was back then. It was unbearable and I had to go home and cry.
For someone who did so well in high school, I found it unacceptable to fail in this subject. I was scared that this would also be my fate in the next exams for this class. I was scared that I would fail in this class while everyone else excelled on it. I remember crying to my sister that day, knowing that she took the subject twice when she was still a freshman.
She told me that one bad score shouldn’t define me. “It was just one bad score. It’s either you get discouraged from it or you pick yourself up and study harder.” I knew she was right. She wanted me to move on. I wanted to move forward. So I ate my dinner that night and got my books to study harder. I still had more exams to take and I had to focus all my energy in getting high scores. I really wanted to be an engineer and I shouldn’t let one minor setback stop me from achieving my dreams.
Fast forward to where I am now, whenever I think about that incident, I cringe at the thought of how petty that issue was. I just laugh about it because I learned that one should never be discouraged over something that can be changed. I managed to get a decent grade in that subject and I was able to improve my academic standing. And right now, I’m an engineer, happy to be where I am now in my life because of my hard work and faith in myself.
So here’s to all the students out there who had a terrible score in today’s exam, don’t quit. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t let the negative thoughts consume you. You can always turn things around. So go ahead, study harder, study better and study smarter. You can always be successful if you choose to be.