I was a total failure in university and I don’t care.
When I was a child I wanted to be a marine biologist. No joke! This prairie girl wanted to swim in shark cages and help save the whales. I loved the sea, even though I had never been in it. So imagine my elation when UBC accepted me. I was going by myself and was extremely excited.
When I arrived the excitement quickly faded. I was scared. I had never been away from my friends or family. I felt alone. I spent my first week crying before I went to sleep. I missed my parents. I missed my friends. I started to wonder why I left them in the first place. Why would I leave the comfort of home to come to a place where I knew no one? I was homesick.
After that first week, I bucked it up and started to meet people. I just couldn’t keep wallowing in the self pity. Once I set my mind to it, I started meeting people easily. I met so many different types of people and began loving the experience. Everyone was so unique and it was thrilling to get to know them, where they came from, where they wanted to go.
My year there became a life learning experience. It enabled me to open up and see people differently. You could sit and laugh and joke all night or you could get into a rampant debate. Both were good. You found friends that you could rely on, who would help you study (or so I’ve heard) and would understand you when you were missing home.
After that first week, I loved every minute!
University is a blank slate. It’s not even similar to high school. Why is this? Is it because we are all in the same boat; just wanting to connect with others, think for ourselves, have a unique voice that will be heard? In university you are encouraged to have your own opinion, to not let anyone speak for you. It’s refreshing! The experience is like no other for that. It becomes so much more than studying.
Well, I digress, I should be telling you about my failure. I took first year science courses and here’s something not everyone knows… I got 10% in Calculus! Is that even possible you say? Yes. I did that. Not even remotely proud of that number.
I ended my first year of university with horrible grades (failed all but two classes) and a lifetime experience I will never forget. I think of those times often and I wonder what person would I be without that failure? I don’t want to know actually. I might have been a failure at studying for exams, but I found that I was a success at being an independent person who can do things for herself.
I also learned that I will never succeed at everything, but I tried, and sometimes that’s the hardest thing to do. I’m not proud of the waste of my parents money, but if its any consolation, they did pay for a life experience and invested in the person that I would eventually become. I know my mom is proud of that and my dad would have been too.
Everything in life happens for a reason, so the fact that I didn’t continue with my childhood dream was a blessing. If I didn’t fail, I would have stayed at UBC and got a coastal job and probably wouldn’t have been with my dad for the last years of his life. Thinking about this makes me so glad I didn’t become a marine biologist. I wouldn’t give up that time with my dad for anything.
I had a friend tell me recently that he hates failure. But then he changed it to say, “maybe its not failure I hate, but the embarrassment of failure.” How true is that! I fail at something every day. I don’t care when no one sees it, but it is so hard to fail in front of others. Well, here you all go, here’s my failure… I got 10% in Calculus!!! You can’t fail much worse than that. (Oh and 45% my second time around.)