Since I was a child, my parents never expected me to excel in school. Not because they didn’t have the expectation, but they believe I’m not the kind of student that will bring them trophies and awards. My mom once told me, that I barely could hold a pencil when I was a kid and I was not quick enough to absorb what was taught to me. Seeing through that, they started to hope that I could pass the school grades year after year, let alone expecting me to be a front-runner in class.
I never blamed them, I believed so too. I believe I was not born as a smart kid, and surely I never saw myself as one. As much as I spent every midnight to study, no matter how thick and detailed my notes were, and no matter how much I put my efforts in it, my grades didn’t change much. I saw my friends cheering when they saw 80-90 grades on their test results, while I have to hold back my tears when I saw another 50-60 on mine. I joined so many kinds of school courses, private and group style, and still, it didn’t change a thing. I knew I disappointed my parents, and there were countless times when I forged my mom’s signature just to avoid having her knowing my bad grades. I was tired, and I felt hopeless.
Image credit: Istock/ICEMANJ
Time passed by. I struggled most in school when I was in junior high school. When I entered senior high school, everything started to get better. I graduated well and acknowledged to be the most creative student of the year. I ranked in the top 4 among hundreds of students. I managed to enter university with enough confidence. During my four years in college learning about public relations, I changed. I started to sit in the front row, not in the back row anymore. I started to take charges, from small to great tasks. I was once satisfied enough being led by people and do things assigned to me. Now, I challenged myself to lead people. I became the president of the university’s English club and managed to take home few prestigious awards, without any help. I stood up, I challenged myself and I excelled. I graduated Cum Laude.
Image credit: girls-w.net/justdream
And today, nearly 4 years after I graduated, I work independently and build my own career path. I own a company which handles the making of corporate publications and reports, such as annual reports, company profiles, and website contents. I am enjoying what I'm doing and I'm making a good fortune from it. No one remembers my bad grades anymore. The red marks on my math and science tests didn't stop me to achieve my dream.
You might be wondering why suddenly everything got better for me in senior high school. It was simply because I started to accept my weak spots. I knew I wasn't good at math and science, and I might never be – then so be it. It’s not the end of the world. I would not waste my time and energy to excel in those subjects. I let my teachers and my friends consoled me and calmed me down every time I received bad grades, but actually, I didn't care. It didn't matter to me because I stole the spotlight when it comes to English and Bahasa subjects. I sang the brightest when it came to music exams. I taught my friends in accounting subjects. I enjoyed them looking for me to help them. I shifted my positive energy to what I love and pushed myself to excel in things that I'm good at. I no longer want to be the perfect student or being the exemplar of everything, I simply want to be good in what I love to do.
Looking back to those times from where I am now, I'm grateful because I had the chance to experience the struggles. I received a lot of pressure. It was devastating to not be able to handle the pressure and deliver the expectations. But having to experience those times, now it's easier for me to face ups and downs because I knew what it felt at the bottom and to be on top. Being at the bottom doesn't make you less, and surely being on top should not make you feel more. You have to absorb and embrace those times equally; equally brave and equally grateful.
There are a lot of you who might be just like me, maybe in the better spot or maybe worse. Your parents and surroundings might be better and might be worse as well. And whatever it is, everything is up to you, not them. You need to know and acknowledge your strengths; embrace them and make them outshine your weaknesses. Keep yourself together, believe that you are too strong to be taken down. You are the center of everything, and you alone can change things the way you want it to be. Grades didn't determine who you are. Numbers didn't decide who you will become. You will be known and remembered for your characters and personality, not for your test scores.
Image credit: artisticmoods.com
During the process, I received a lot of help. Befriend good people - not smart people - the kind of friends who will stand with you in good and bad times, not the ones who are afraid that you will be better than them and beat them in class.
Take your time to study with your friends. Have fun and find time to create memorable days with your best friends, because these times will pass soon and they won't come back. Don't be afraid to meet your teachers after class and ask them to explain things that you don't understand again and again until you really do. Don’t stop until you get there, and don’t mind about people’s thoughts and opinions. You don't need them to be better. Ask people to help you, the ones who can help you to find your strengths and weaknesses without judging you. Tell yourself ‘it’s okay’ when you fail and don't forget to congratulate yourself when you succeed. Above all, always trust yourself and never doubt yourself; you are definitely more than what you see.
Image credit: Missy Melita
The author resides in Indonesia and runs her own business, Inspirasi Cahaya Karya Pte Ltd which publishes corporate portfolio, including top-notched Indonesian companies Garuda Indonesia and Pertamina. Her passion in writing since she was a child has introduced her to many forms of creativity, from short stories and poetry, columnist and contributors in magazines.