Disappointment. That’s the feeling I felt after checking my exam results earlier this year. I’m certain I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, so why is it such a big deal? Many people have questioned me and are probably quite confused as to why this was the case considering I got 4 A grades.
I have one very simple answer: because I got a B.
Before anyone makes the assumption that I am your typical Asian student with the ideology that anything below an A is deemed as failure, let me explain.
I have always been relatively academically successful, but to be completely honest with you, I would not identify myself as a successful student. I am unorganised, rarely punctual, slightly overconfident and I procrastinate way too much. Personally, I have always believed that success cannot be determined from a simple letter or number on a page, but rather from one’s work ethics. The year prior, I achieved 4 A*’s and 1 A. This time, I dropped an entire grade bracket. Understandably, the course gets harder as you progress, but I had no excuse for not working harder and ironically, it was my previous high grades that resulted in my lack of effort throughout the year. I was overconfident, and held the belief that scaling would carry me (though not completely false, it sure did help), and admittedly, my grades were half decent. So then, why, you ask, were they not good enough?
As I previously mentioned, success is a result of hard work and dedication and a direct reflection of your work ethics. Disappointment is defined as the “the sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfilment of one’s hopes or expectations.” I set out to maintain, if not top my previous grades, so yes, disappointment was what I felt. I know what you’re thinking – my grades were still good though, blah blah blah, I’ve heard it all before -“But your grades were so good! I wish I had grades like yours!” “If you feel bad about your grades, you should see mine.” As a kid in an Asian household with family friends who achieve ridiculously amazing things, I absolutely hate comparisons, so I will simply say – don’t. Don’t compare yourself to me, or anybody else. The only person you are competing against is yourself. There will always be someone that’s better than you. There always is. But that shouldn’t stop you from striving to be better. If anything, it should motivate you to not necessarily be better than someone else, but to better yourself. Personally, I believe the pinnacle of success is reached not exactly when you achieve say, top in a subject, but moreover, it is when you are completely content with where you are, and you are proud of what you did to get there.
“Being successful” has a different definition for everyone, but most importantly, we need to remember that success cannot exist without failure. If we never failed, success would be merely living as per usual. So if you didn’t achieve the grades you wanted, seize the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and do better next time. I cannot stress enough that your grades do not define you. Job interviewers will rarely care or even ask for your grades, but every single job interview I’ve been to, I’ve had to answer the same question – Can you give an example of a time when you have worked hard to achieve your goals?
I wish I could talk about the time when I maintained my A*’s, but that didn’t happen, so I guess in reality, I’m not disappointed that I got a B. I’m disappointed that I didn’t work as hard as I could have, as I should have and I’m disappointed that my lack of effort stopped me from living up to my expectations. But I’m not going to let that stop me from continuing to push myself and to keep trying. Because as it turns out, at the end of the day, nobody actually cares about that B you got in AS Spanish.
Written by: Rebecca Tao. Edited by: Tara Jackson.