October 2 – if at first you don’t succeed, well then you’ve failed

70/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I am one of those people who is a perfectionist and have wanted everything in my life to be perfect. Failure was never an option for me growing up as I was told (consciously and unconsciously) that I had to be the best at all things I attempted. Thus, I would only do things I knew I had a chance of succeeding at ensuring total success but never attempt things that I could possibly fail at – this way, I could always protect my ego and appease the familial pressure. So, I never thought university would be a problem – although I was lonely and scared the first year, I didn’t think failure would factor into the equation. Why so confident? Because I had received all As and Bs throughout grade 11 and 12. However, university was the big leagues. Being the cream of the crop from Richmond High, I was mixed in with the crème de la creme from other high schools in that first year of university and well, cream settles and I sunk fast! That first semester, I ended up failing 3 out of 5 classes as Commerce required a 60% average. I received 50% in English and 48% in Statistics. That Statistics grade was a wimpy fail – an almost pass. My third failing grade was a rock hard, solid fail – in the single digits! I received 8% in Economics – yes, 8%! I was in shock, and I shouldn’t have been surprised but I was. I just thought I’d be able to pull it off like I had in high school and this was not the case. Great Christmas gift! Upon my return in January, I was immediately summoned to the Commerce counselor office and told by the man there that I needed an overall average of 60% to remain in Commerce. That I had to ensure that I received at least an 85 – 90% average in my 5 classes for the second semester to compensate for my first semester. That I could write two supplementals to pass both English and Statistics at the end of the second semester. That I would need to take Economics over again but could enrol in the second course (even though the failing one was a prerequisite). That I also needed to reconsider being a pledge in the fraternity that I chose which was having an adverse effect on my academic life. And finally, that he totally believed I could do this. I listened and did everything he told me and ended up with a 90% average the second term. I was able to stay in Commerce and continue my education. His advice, but more importantly, his faith in me was a key factor to my success. I thank you first year university for that reality check – failing something (well three things) for the first time but realizing it was not the end of the world and you just pick yourself and move on. And I thank you Commerce counselor for giving me the kick in the pants that I needed. I raise my diploma in your honour!

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