I was never the type of student who did good in class. I failed in so many subjects back in college. There were even semesters when I just gave up on major subjects and thought that maybe, I can do better the next time I take it. I shifted to a different engineering course because I just couldn’t take it in chemical engineering anymore. The competition was tough and I was already tired of always competing with classmates. The situation worsened when I had to deal with professors who constantly discouraged me in pursuing the said course.
So there I was, failing in so many major subjects. So there I was, starting over again in a different engineering course I was never familiar with. Luckily for me, I did okay in my new course. I still wasn’t the best in class but I felt better knowing that this course I took wasn’t really tough on students who performed poorly. Professors were more forgiving and the other students were nicer. A few years down the road, I was finally able to graduate – even if it took me more time to do so compared to my original batchmates.
The hardest challenge was when I had to take the licensure exam.
I was provided everything I needed to review properly. Money to study in fancy coffee shops, a big house I can stay in to review without any distractions and I had a supportive family and friends who made sure I was still in good shape mentally, emotionally and physically. I really tried to study hard but I was the unlucky one in the batch to fail in the licensure exam. I failed big time and I consider it the most embarrassing moment in my life – our college usually has a 100% passing rate and I was the one who had to break the record. Unlucky me.
So I hid from everyone. I remember not talking to people for months after what happened to me. Though I received messages of support from my family and friends, I just felt humiliated to face the people around me. It felt worse when I had disappointed parents who made me feel like I made the wrong choices in my life.
After months of self-pity, I started making plans of taking the licensure exam again. I decided that I needed to take the exam the second time around just to prove that I’m not as bad as I thought I was. I knew I wasn’t a dumb kid. Maybe I was just out of focus and I just took the exam for granted when I took it the first time.
So I studied again. I studied harder and I surrounded myself with good company. I kept reminding myself that all those challenges I had back in college would eventually pay off. Second chances were good to me. I’ve had plenty of them back in college so I thought maybe taking the licensure exam the second time around wouldn’t be too bad for me. I just had to try and see where this will lead me. Of course I was scared of failing again so I made sure I studied every topic that would go out of the exam. After six months of hiding and studying hard, I took the licensure exam with the confidence that I am more ready than I was when I took it the first time.
To be honest, there was no pressure anymore when I took it. Maybe people didn’t really expect too much from me anymore. Maybe I just thought that I had a higher chance of passing this time around. So I took the exam and as soon as the results got out, I was the happiest person on Earth in that moment. I finally passed the exam that gave me heartaches, headaches and the embarrassment that affected my confidence for a very long time. For the first time, I felt proud of myself. I worked so damn hard to become an engineer and there I was – finally one.
Maybe second chances are good for all of us. It gives us a better perspective on what matters most to us. It gave me the humility I needed and a better appreciation of the ones who stood by me when I pushed people away.
My whole experience in engineering school was really tough. I’m sure there are many engineering students who are experiencing all the things I experienced before. Let me tell you, becoming an engineer will never be easy. Life will test you in so many ways. Not only will people test your skills, your knowledge, your determination and your faith in yourself, you will also have to go through so many things that will challenge you to become a better person. So let me remind you that when you fuck up the first time, you will be given a second chance to make things work. And when you get that opportunity, grab it and make sure you get things right. It may mean you have to sacrifice your time and energy for it but I tell you, it will be worth it. When you finally get things right the second time (after failing big time on your first), you will feel so much better.
So here’s to all engineering students who had to fail and try again, remember that trying again will be good for you. You will become a better individual out of it. Just don’t ever think of giving up. One day, you’ll just find yourself an engineer already facing new problems and you will remind yourself that you’ll be okay no matter what. Good luck and please don’t give up!