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So in high school, I was never the nerd. I was always that person who skated in the middle. A few times, I was in serious danger of failing.. Always had trouble with math and science. Those subjects hated me, they still do. No matter how hard I worked, how long I stayed after class (on make-up review sessions) how long I stayed up, I could never get an A. I don’t know. So, no matter how much studying I would do, I wouldn’t do well. For some reason, time studying and test scores were indirectly proportional. It was quite frustrating. I developed an inferiority complex. I never saw myself as smart or anything special.

My freshman year of high school, I had a science teacher named Ms. Comprendio. She was terrible to me and bullied me endlessly. I was scared and traumatized. I used to sit in the very corner of the classroom and had difficulty seeing the board. Often, I would ask my seatmate what was written on the far corner of the blackboard. One time, Ms. Comprendio stopped lecturing to tell my seatmate “Jillian, don’t talk to Julienne because we all know she’s not very smart and needs to listen in class.” It was bad, I felt so small. I didn’t even have it in me to cry. That’s how bad I felt. Thankfully, after graduation, I never saw her again. I don’t know how I’d feel if I saw her today.

College, I found, was more laid back. I went to a well-known University in the USA. The material and the classes were a lot more challenging but the environment was nurturing. They relied on discussion, exchange of ideas. Professors were welcoming of students and questions. They didn’t mind if you challenged(respectfully) their material. Still, I was deathly afraid of failing. I didn’t want it to be high school all over again. So, I applied my high school routine to my college classes. I did all my homework, studied really hard, befriended my teachers, paid attention in class, took insane amounts of notes.  To my surprise, I started getting A’s. Seriously. I got A’s in everything, math, accounting, statistics, you name it, I did good. (The only class I did horribly in was a class on the analysis of the 4 Gospels. Clearly theology is not my strong suit, woops.) But seriously though, I did well in college, I was on the dean’s list and graduated in the top 20% of my class. It was only there that I realized that I may not be stupid at all. I actually started to enjoy school and enjoy learning.

(Ms. Comprendio, wherever you are now.. IN. YOUR. FACE.)

But I digress..

Now, I’m in graduate school, in a local university. It’s high school over again. I’m failing all my subjects. Math, Accounting, possibly even Statistics. Accounting! Which I’ve taken no less than like 6 times! I’m failing now. Previously, wherein my professors, who were members of the FASB actually marked me high. And here, where we’re studying FASB concepts, I’m failing. Ridiculous. I can’t even rationalize my thoughts, I’m so mad. We took a midterm last week, there were only 2 problems, 45 points each. I managed to get a 35/100. How is this possible? I stared at my paper, I KNOW I was correct. I approached the Person who is supposed to be teaching the class. Person said all my values were correct but my formatting is wrong. As a result Person only gave me a 12/45. With all due respect, did you just hear what you said, Person? You said that my answers, my values were correct. AS in.. I could not have gotten those values without a clear understanding of the concepts however, since you did not like the way that my income statement was formatted, you marked me a 12/45? This makes no sense. You make no sense. This Person couldn’t even tell me why my answer was wrong. I’m starting to think that Person just got too lazy to check it, similar to the way that Person’s too lazy to teach the class. Is it Filipino teachers that are irrational? How is it that I can thoroughly understand the concepts, teach such concepts to my peers and yet still fail the test?

This is terrible. It’s so frustrating. Unlike high school, it’s 10 times worse because I KNOW I’m smart and I can’t believe this local university is telling me otherwise. I can’t believe I’m paying money for this. Sad face.

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7 Responses to On Academic Failure

  1. Verne Ahyong says:

    I was not smart in elementary or high school and Math was my nightmare subject too. When I entered college and studied in the local university you mentioned, I applied myself like it was the end of the world, and got a B average in my academics and superhuman status in my extra curricular activities.

    From constant failure in academics to getting a B average, and being known as one of the top student leaders in my school. I think of that’s a huge personal accomplishment. Plus, I got to graduate with a degree in creative writing, which I really love.

    But now, I’m back studying at the same university only this time, I’m living in a never ending nightmare. Business communication is fun, and Statistics is the most fun math class I ever had in my life (which is ironic because most people see it as a night mare subject), but both don’t nearly offset the hell that is accounting class.

    I though that if I worked hard enough and studied to death – even math – I could pass the subject. I was rewarded with C’s in college, F’s in my MBA. I don’t care if I pass the subject in the end, after super curving of grades and whatever. I got F’s in all my tests, and that will haunt me for the rest of my life!

    I feel your pain! 🙁

  2. Keityee says:

    Lipat na kasi! Hehe thank god i didn’t have to deal with that kind of bull in grad school…hopefully, will never have to.

  3. Bianca says:

    I’m not so sure what to think; I heard Asians tend to do disproportionately well in U.S. universities because of the educational environment we were raised in. Maybe it’s because of the difference in reinforcement methods that makes local teachers more difficult to please? I feel that it makes for good discipline when we’re in other countries, though it sucks when you’re stuck with an inadequately marked paper back home.

    • Julienne says:

      Hey Bianca, I would agree that the discipline that local teachers set us up to do well abroad. While in University, it really helped me excel. However.. I guess I thought it’d be different for B-school. I’m at the point where I’m no longer in my teens, I know better, I’ve worked in a real business environment. I’m not the only one. MBA programs should realize this and therefore teachers at this level should no longer be irrational lords of their classroom. I figured (and hoped) that this MBA would enrich my business acumen, not put me back into high school mode. Yet it feels like that all over again.

  4. Nancy says:

    Much appreciated for the information and share!
    -Nancy

  5. jane says:

    philippines’ school standards are like being in a straight jacket. everybody is expected to do, act, and think the same way. there is no room for self-thinking and challenging herd mentality. they also foster conventionality instead of creativity. they are breeding ground for conformity instead of creativity.

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