riding the waves of failure

I know I said I would catch up on the previous days this weekend, but that was impossible. I had way too much to do.

So this whole Serial Killer challenge is interesting, to say the least. The Lost and Found theme wasn’t anything I expected, and I didn’t even do the ‘found’ part of it. I guess I’ll just lump that with today’s challenge.

Lost and found. I’ve lost many physical/material objects from socks to pens to homework assignments. I’ve lost family members, too. But for a long time, I lost confidence in myself and my competitive drive that kept me going for so long.

Now, I know it’s stupid to have silly little competitions, especially when it comes to grades and whatnot, but using my friends’ success and higher grades drove me to be better. Not that we were in actual competition, but it was a good motivator and reminder that I still had some ways to go before I could even come close to saying I was the best or in the top. All during undergrad, I was satisfied with being average. I didn’t care about getting As and Bs, as long as I passed that was fine. I became complacent in my abilities and it didn’t get my anywhere. I had all this potential going for me after I graduated high school, and I just let it all go to waste because I didn’t care.

Because of that, I started to feel inadequate. I started believing that I was average again and that I couldn’t get better, only worse. Then came the whole failure spiral and by the time I started to pick up some of the pieces, it was too late to save my GPA. In the long run, GPA doesn’t mean crap. It’s a fancy number assigned to put value on whether you’re made for school or not, which is ridiculous, and yet my entire sense of confidence when down the drain because of it.

I found myself again at Mt. SAC. I know, I know, I keep mentioning this, but it’s true. I found my passion, I found that competitive fire again. I got 92 on my first prosection exam and someone else got 98. I was angry with myself that I didn’t get the highest score or even come close. That’s when I knew I was back. When the final rolled along, I did my absolute best and I think I ended up with 98, and quite possibly with the highest score. Most of all, I found that my skills were useful for something. I found that I could do things I only ever dreamed of or watched on TV. It was a great feeling.

Grad school squashed that feeling pretty quickly. The Histology exam I took last week destroyed whatever good feelings and confidence I had left. I haven’t received my actual grade yet, but I know it’ll be poor and it’ll be very hard to recover from since there are only two exams for this class. It all will ride on the final in a month’s time. I started feeling like I was back in undergrad, that I wasn’t good enough. Except this time, I did give it a good effort and I still failed. That’s the hardest pill to swallow — when your best isn’t enough. Thankfully, I had a friend tell me this:

You should get super competitive like you did back in SoCal.

It was a simple reminder that put me back on track. I just need to get competitive again. I don’t know what any of my other classmates got, I doubt they’ll spill anyway, but I do know that the only way to go is up. I have to do better and if I score within my goal range, then maybe I’ll have a shot at salvaging my grade and my GPA (yes, the things that don’t matter, yet they do).

It’s a roller coaster, this failure and confidence deal. It always has been. Sometimes I just need someone to help right the ship so I can cut through the waves. For that, I’ll be forever grateful for all the people in my life. If I hadn’t found them (or they hadn’t found me), I don’t want to think of where I’d be right now.

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