Updated: Apr 19
It was the end of July. While every other reasonably hard-working student was out on a vacation somewhere, I was sitting in the exam room, fretting; I was sure I was going to fail this exam.
The entire year I had been an awfully lazy student. I failed most exams and, at this point, I had lost all hope in myself and my future.
Looking around, I could see all the other lazy students who could've also avoided taking this troubling exam by only putting a little more effort into studying.
The stress was felt all around the room. The pressure was high and anxiety-inducing for me and everyone else; if one didn't pass this exam, they would ultimately get expelled from the school and would have to go back to their old one.
The school is for improved teaching of mathematics. As children, we were told that for someone who is skilled in mathematics attending and graduating from this school is the ultimate way to success. Most students, including me, came here from an average public school after passing some exams. Still, each year, we are tested multiple times to ensure that we keep studying properly.
The fact that made me feel disappointed in myself the most was that I had continued being lazy even after realizing I had to take and pass an extra exam, knowing if I didn't pass, I would get expelled.
The proctor announced: “You may start your exams”. I heaved a sigh, grasped my pen, and started concentrating on the test paper with my sleep deprived, burnt out mind.
The clock was ticking; I could hear my heart pound over the deafening silence of the exam room. Halfway through the exam, I realized I plateaued in my performance. I couldn't answer any more questions. So, I anxiously counted my final score. I counted 14 questions answered out of 25.
I clenched my fist out of dismay; To pass the exam I had to have at least 15 questions answered correctly. I went over each of those 11 questions for the second time... for the third time... for the fourth time! I still couldn't do anything even slightly suggestive for an answer for any of them.
I was hopeless; I hated that it had come to be this way, but I had to commit to blindly guessing the answers. I wasn't feeling very optimistic about doing this, because each question had 6 possible answers to choose from, making my chances of guessing almost infinitesimal.
I stayed until the end of the exam, desperately trying to get one more score.
My mind was submerged in the process of trying to find an answer for a question so much that I forgot to keep track of time. Then the proctor announced: "You've got 2 minutes left". I panicked; I hurriedly bubbled random answers, finished the exam, and frantically walked out. I had wasted all that time mulling over the questions to no avail.
Waiting for the exam results was the worst; I was overly pessimistic about it. A feeling was telling me that "I wasn't good enough", bugging me mercilessly, and leaving me with sleepless nights.
I was immersed in a huge life dilemma: “Is this really it? What’s next? Where should I go? Should I quit school altogether?”
My mom wasn't feeling very optimistic either; She had already prepared the school papers and was ready to send them to my old school.
Finally, after 1 week, the exam results came. I quickly opened the school website; I was ready for the worst, ready to end up with a low-wage menial job.
But then, I glanced over the exam results and all these desperate thoughts were instantly nuked out of existence - I had gotten exactly 15 questions right because of guessing one answer.
At first, I felt a huge euphoria, because an immense pressure was finally lifted from my shoulders; I also managed to completely restructure my hopeless mom’s mind. Then, I became relaxed for good.
I realized that my life was back to normal; I was going back to the same school next year, studying with the same students and the same teachers, following the same direction and the same goals forward.
In the following time, I thoroughly analyzed the situation, and I realized my actual problem. I realized that my mind wasn’t able to devise a life with such a radical change and it left me believing that the failure was going to be ultimate. I realized that I lacked resilience. While, previously, I thought I learned a “valuable lesson” from the incident and that was why I became more conscientious afterwards, I’ve come to understand that, in reality, I only did this to preserve my “opportunities” and maintain a future that was predictable.
I, fortunately, became self-aware about my actual problem; I understood that, in reality, the lack of resilience would be the issue that would mess up my future opportunities, not the test score and getting kicked out of the school. I realized how snuggled up I was in my comfort zone and I became disgusted with myself. In the following months, I fully gave up on my comfort zone; I started trying new things in life, taking risks, and facing the fears of failure.
Michael Kharadze is a 17-year-old aspiring computer scientist who recently discovered his passion for writing.