By ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen
From the moment we are born, we are destined to travel a winding, bumpy road. Many a time, you will encounter a speed bump, a roadblock or even a detour.
As a regular person, I encounter setbacks once in a while. My most recent one was this semester; I failed exam P2 – Corporate Reporting. This was the first academic paper that I have failed in my life. (I’m not kidding – the 2 other exams that I failed were practical exams that do not relate to my education.)
Failing for the first time was devastating. I anticipated it from the moment I finished the exam, so I was mentally prepared. But failing P2 would mean that I can no longer call myself a ‘straight passer’.
Though this label might seem snobbish or egoistic, I grew up in an Asian culture where we thrive on success – especially academic success and especially when you’re young. So how did I manage to climb back up from here? I did a few things, which I will explain.
Step 1: Cry with all your heart
Being a toughie on the outside, very few people had the chance to see me bawl my eyes out. Fortunately (or unfortunately), on the day of my results, I was away for a holiday with my family.
In Asia we are told that it is shameful to cry as it exudes weakness. And I was taught from a young age not to show to ‘outsiders’ (outside of our family), that I am weak.
Crying, no matter how vulnerable you think it may make you look, is good for the soul. The moment I came back from my holiday, I locked myself in my room and cried my eyes out. But after a good cry, strangely enough, you will stop wallowing in self pity and feel a great sense of relief.
Step 2: If you aren’t brave enough to face your fears yet, don’t
I am rather blessed. The sequencing of the ACCA exam papers means that I will not need to re-sit P2 in the next exam session. Moreover, I have the option to take P2 alone, as my friends are re-siting it now.
Step 3: Move on
Life goes on, after all. It is pointless to continue brooding over a small aspect of your life when there is a whole journey ahead of you still.
After brooding and seething for a month, I then diverted my attention to joys in life like writing for the ACCA student blog, learning how to draw, playing music again. All of this helped me not feel so bitter, hurt and defeated any more. I learned to love studying again, not for the sake of passing exams, but for the sake of learning.
Sometimes, a break from your studies will help if you have considered all other options. Sometimes a gap year or semester can do wonders for your emotional well-being.
I hope my real-life story will inspire you to climb back up and continue striving for the upcoming exam sitting.