There’s More To Life Than Exams: Lessons To Be Learnt From Academic Failures

Posted on April 22, 2014 in Education, Specials

By Shivika Manchanda:

A great sense of humiliation and expression of self-defeat can come from failing an important exam. So, does that mark the end of life?


Failures are stepping stones on the roadway to success, they are not a stumbling block that dooms a life to an end. There is always a life beyond an academic failure. Buckling under the weight of poor scores in an exam doesn’t help, one must refuel their spirits and discover a constructive use of their failure.

Abraham Lincoln, in a letter to his son’s school teacher, asked to teach him ‘to learn to lose and to also enjoy winning’.

One can be successful as long as they have will power, inner strength and preparedness for any eventuality. Putting some light on the life of the Managing director of Hindustan Times, Mr. Samar Halarnkar, he failed in 12th grade maths exam.Yet, today he serves as a great example to seek that success and a great future doesn’t ebb away due to failures. He did suffer separation from his peer group, months of gloom, despair and soul searching but he focused on his strengths, took up steps to hone his skills in writing and journalism, and carved a niche for himself.

The lack of a good academic rapport doesn’t remain a handicap forever. Being in this world is a privilege, we have got one life to make all the difference we can. Steps like suicide are no solution, we need to realise the worth of time and life. Not clearing an exam, or not clearing an interview is not the end all and be-all in life. It is no wonder that there are many cases of students who take their life, feeling that dying is the only option when they fail an exam. Many others go through depression, have dark thoughts, or hurt themselves, feel hapless, lost and spend gloomy days.

The truth is that an exam isn’t worth your life.

Most times unsuccessful candidates lack the motivation or determination to pick themselves up and continue trying. However, they can overcome this by focusing on their previous successes in exams, tests, and other challenges in life, and the strategies they used in those situations. This can serve as motivation that there is life after failing an exam. A marvel of optimism, a true guide and parent’s support is a must in such situations.

This is definitely true as our system is based more on imparting knowledge than skills. The proverb, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him one day, teach him how to catch fish and you feed him for a lifetime,’ has been grossly overlooked and students suffer because of this overrated paranoia of cramming for exams. The best rote learners are rewarded by the system. Students must perform to the most of their potential, the seed always bears its fruit. At the beginning of your career, you must start every morning with only one goal – be better than what you were the day before.

Life is what you make it and if you fail just laugh at it, work towards achieving something better and never loose hope. There is always light at the end of a tunnel.