Engineer Failure, not that bad
As soon as I found out that I didn’t pass the board exam, I was feeling weak in the knees and I had this sudden urge to run away.
I knew my life wasn’t over but in that moment, I knew my life was going to be different.
Hi, I’m Alice – a fresh metallurgical engineering graduate from one of the most prestigious engineering schools in the Philippines – and I failed the board exam last year.
I could have let that recent setback define me but I didn’t. But I will write my story and share it to those experiencing their own version of failure.
This is my love letter to all aspiring engineers, heck to everyone who experienced that feeling of never being enough for someone or something.
Failing an exam in college wasn’t really new to me but when it came to the board exam, I promised myself I will work hard to pass it.
I admit I really wasn’t the ideal person to approach to when someone needed help with their homework but I knew I wasn’t an airhead (contrary to what other people think of me).
So becoming an engineer was really my priority – I needed to pass the board exam. It was my only ticket to freedom.
But alas, my fate was shown in front of me in a computer screen. My score didn’t make it to the cut-off. It wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough.
So the first thing I did was get away from the testing center and call my family.
Hearing my parents’ disappointed voices really broke my heart. It really made me feel I’m a failure to everyone.
So my mind was decided right there and then. I had to give myself a break from everything.
But I wouldn’t let this failure define me. I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. I took a break from everything and everyone so I went home.
A month later, my father sat on the couch with me and asked, “What went wrong?”
All I could do was sit there and remain quiet. I honestly didn’t know what went wrong.
There were nights when I’d look out of the window and reflect on what exactly did I do that led me to failure.
I knew I did my best. I studied for months. I gave up my social life just so I could study.
Still, I couldn’t answer the question, “What went wrong?”
Luckily for me, I have a sister who was always there when I needed to let my frustration out.
If I could put all her questions in a nutshell, it’ll be like this: “Look at it the other way. Ask yourself, “What went right?”
I realized that I’ve been looking at my situation the wrong way. Failing the board exam didn’t mean I should sulk around and hate myself.
No. Failure was supposed to teach me lessons. Failure wasn’t supposed to define me. It was there to give me the truth I needed about myself. Took a while to realize its purpose. Now, let me share them to you.
You should always detach yourself from negativity.
Not passing the board exam was sort of a big deal because I was the only one who didn’t pass in our batch. I know, embarrassing right?
So I knew I’d be hearing judgmental comments from the people who “think” they know me.
So the easiest way to get rid of all the negativity around me was to detach myself from social media. No facebook, twitter or instagram for some time.
Having people think that I’m a failure was not something I needed to expose myself with during my process of healing.
However, I’m using that as my motivation to prove to myself that I am more than just what a piece of card could ever define me.
Take a break but never ever run away from life.
For someone who is used to running away from all her problems, I decided that running away from this one will haunt me back.
I also had the constant reminder from my parents that this is what they’ve always wanted for me so I knew I needed to face the situation some time again.
So, nope, running away was never the option. It really shouldn’t be to anyone.
Go home. Family and true friends will always be there to help you heal.
During the time I was feeling low, I was lucky enough to have a family who didn’t see me as a failure.
They made me feel like I’m a vibrant, colorful and positive person again. I also have friends who respected my privacy but my real friends really reached out and made sure that I was okay.
Even the simple messages on the phone meant a lot. For that, I knew who my real friends were.
Deal with the cards you’re given.
I was really mad at the universe for always putting me up with the same shit all over again.
I was mad at life in general. I was mad at myself.
But later on, all the hate I felt inside wasn’t helping me. So I knew the only thing to do was accept the situation.
Life really wouldn’t be easy for anyone. This is my situation. I had to deal with it.
And deal with it, I will. I will try again. I can. I will. This April.
Always believe in yourself.
It’s something I haven’t done for myself these past few years – I didn’t believe in myself.
I think this is the main reason why I didn’t pass in the first place. I was always a positive person when it came to the people around me.
I’ve always given them kind and encouraging words but I haven’t done that to myself.
In a world where everything’s competitive and things can’t be given to you easily, one should always believe in his/her self.
Don’t be the arrogant type though. It really makes a huge difference in life.
Learn that life always goes on. So should you.
It goes on and the fact that it does should remind us that we can always turn the tables around. It’s up to us on how to be the success we’ve always wanted to be.
Make things happen. Fight for the dream you’ve always wanted to live.
Trust the universe that it’ll conspire to help you reach your goals. Never ever give up. Trust yourself that you can always turn things around.
I have to admit that I’m still scared to fight the battle.
While some think this is a petty battle to fight, I have always been the type who was never confident with my capabilities when it came to engineering so this is a huge deal for me.
Scared I may be but I choose to accept what happened to me.
I choose to fight back and not let one moment label me as a failure. My family and friends don’t think I am. I know I’m not. And that really makes the difference now. Hopefully, I will pass the board exam this April.
I’m not asking you to make my story viral. I’m asking you to share this story to someone who’s going through his/her version of failure and let her know that things will be okay.
Not now. Not tomorrow. Soon. Tell them that they are very capable of changing the scene they’re in. Tell them that life gets better for those who fight for it.
I’ve always been a firm believer that we all find light at the end of the tunnel.
You should, too. You should, always.
Update: I took the licensure exam a year after… and yes, I finally passed the board exam. Yes, I finally got my license. Not bad after all