Two Friday’s ago, I had an online exam for one of my subjects, Policy Making and Management. I had completed all my readings that we were expected to have completed. I had written pages and pages of notes. I was ready.
Or so I thought.
Turns out, I failed the exam. It was only worth 10% and I only failed by one question, but I still failed. I was sitting in the University Library before I ran out, leaving all my stuff behind, rung my mum and basically told her how unfair life is. How I studied my ass off for this exam and yet here I am, a failed student. Mum eventually calmed me down, but internally, I was still absolutely fuming because how could I have worked so hard and received so little? Then, a few days later, I found out a friend of mine passed with flying colours, only getting three questions wrong. She hadn’t studied at all. She hadn’t completed all her readings and she most certainly had not written pages and pages of notes.
Although I was so happy for her, I was so angry because I had worked so freaking hard to get a great mark and I didn’t get that mark, heck, I didn’t even pass.
That exam was two weeks ago and of course, I’m still a little upset and that is understandable because the only thing we have really been taught is that failing equates to being a failure, and passing equates to being worthy of something more. However, it’s not like that in reality. The truth is, yes in the short term it fucking sucks that I failed, that you failed, but in the long run? It hardly matters at all.
The thing is, we live in and are part of a society that preaches to us that learning isn’t necessarily important, rather it’s the passing and getting straight A’s, that is more important. How sad is that? We live in a world where 57 million children do not even have a school to go to, and we, as first world citizens, are sitting all high and mighty, forcing our children to get straight A’s and top marks in the HSC and QCS exams. Isn’t there something wrong with that?
We view education as grades, because that’s what we have been taught. We’ve been given the ultimatum that if we do not get a high school education, if we do not get a university degree that exceeds everyone’s expectations, then heck why are teachers wasting their time on you?
The question that I consistently ask myself, is why are we viewing education like we are, and why are we not viewing it as a learning experience, as the opportunity to learn something we didn’t even know about before?
Emma Mercury (instagram and youtube favourite) actually wrote a post recently about this on Instagram where she mentioned that school has become a way for us to persevere through situations that aren’t enjoyable and my question is, why the fuck has school become like this? It shouldn’t be and that’s why I’m reminding you that failing doesn’t fucking matter.
In fact, it is quite alright if you fail, because you are human, because you have family commitments, because you have work commitments, because you are allowed to be a teenager and it’s okay to go to social events, and in between all that, you still have essays to write.
So of course it’s okay to fail.
From a very young age, we are taught that the only students who matter to the school, to the education system, are the ones who are above average.
That, is not okay.
I am in no way diminishing the effort and energy that is put in by those students who are above average, but something that we tend forget is that there are students who get straight C’s, or who sometimes fail, who also put in tremendous amounts of effort. Or, we forget the fact that some students are better at managing everything that is on their plate than other students, and that is okay too. We cannot all have the capacity to deal with family or work issues, as well as submit great essays. As John Lennon is so famously quoted saying, Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
Please, remind yourselves that.
I failed. I was angry and upset, and I could spend weeks or even months crying over this tiny fact. I could scream out that the world is so unfair and that the education system rigged me to fail. However, what would be the point of that? There wouldn’t be one. Because in the end, I failed. But, I failed only one test. One test out of three this semester. One test out of twelve pieces of assessment due over the course of this next semester. One exam over the course of hundreds of essays I have to write over the period of my four year course.
In three years time, when I’ve graduated and when I have been working for 12 months, I am not going to look back at this one exam and be angry over the fact that I failed; in fact, in three years time, I probably won’t even remember this one exam! That’s the point! It’s one small exam or essay or project that you fail and in the long run, it probably doesn’t mean that much anyway. I know you don’t hear that often, but let me take you by the hands and look you in the eyes as I say this; failing isn’t going to change you as a person, or change you as a student, it’s not going to make you better or worse. It’s just a thing-no attachment
The world isn’t being unfair toward me because I failed. The education system wasn’t rigged for me to fail. I just failed and that, is okay, because passing, or failing, does not equate to your worth as a human being.
Have you ever failed before? Let me know your stories in the comments and let’s all share the love x