The multitude of students anxiously waiting for their results are probably going to be spending half of their spare time reading articles about why college and grades don’t matter. I know because I did too.
Most of these articles will churn out the story of another Drake who “started from the bottom” and sign out with a motivational quote along the lines of “failure doesn’t matter”.
They couldn’t be farther from the truth.
I am a student, one whose glory days are long gone. It took going from straight A’s in my 10th boards to tripping through C’s and D’s, and failing in Physics in my 11th exams for me to stumble upon the realisation that I wasn’t cut out for science. Then began the art of managing to get by, year after year. I continued to never rise above my mediocre performances, scoring a meagre 66 % in 12th.
Taking an year off next for a good law school slowly started to seem like a terrible decision and now I was beginning to wonder if I was cut out for anything.
I was still scraping the surface, and scoring above average marks in anything seemed impossible. This was also around the time, everything else in my life was either non-existent, or bad. I was depressed, socially anxious and struggling to hold my own against people constantly interrogating me about college and ambition. Friends turned into objects of envy, and my self esteem hit rock bottom.
I found myself falling down an endless spiral of darkness. But it weren’t the failures in itself that scared me, it was the fear of becoming an epitome of failure- of falling down an abyss I couldn’t climb back out of.
But, there was always something to blame, something to keep hanging on to that false sense of security, something to believe that this was all a consequence of tough luck. My mother used to say that marks do not define one’s intellect. It became an excuse. I was trying to hold on to the title of “intelligent” even when I was failing, not realizing that intelligence took you nowhere, hard work did.
It was like holding a flashlight in the dark, and thinking that you’ve found the light.
But, somewhere along the line, my failures turned real, and it began to dawn on me that the only reason I was failing was because I wasn’t working hard enough, and that the only thing to blame were my actions.
In retrospect, I believe I would still be breathing in the dark, holding my flashlight, if not for the failure that jolted me right back to reality and took me to a darkness that even flashlights could not illuminate. In retrospect, I believe that I would still be failing if I hadn’t failed.
And, it is this irony that I raise my glass to. This is not a story about success, but of finding the hope to push through even when you’re failing. Failures make us who we are, and who we are is the reason we succeed.
And, so as my year off comes to an end, and I pack my bags to go to an average college, it is not success, and not another generic article about success or motivation that makes me hopeful, but rather these failures. These failures that remind me to work hard, and these reminders that make me hope that I will work hard, and someday be known for more than just failing.