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A Regret From My School Days

In the first half of my final year of high school, I had achieved reasonable results on the assessment tasks for all subjects. It looked as though my goal of achieving a high overall score was within reach. Reaching this goal would give me a wide range of courses to choose from at university.

However, in the second half of the year, I failed to capitalize on this strong initial position. If I’m perfectly honest, I didn’t dedicate myself to my studies as much as I could have. There are always external distractions in the life of a high school student, but that is no excuse for not giving priority to one’s studies. In particular, my study routine during the examination period lacked focus and structure. It is no coincidence that the one subject that I achieved a satisfactory result on in the exam was one that I had studied harder for.

Perhaps the biggest distraction arrived in October, when my family purchased our first pet. Inevitably, my attention was diverted from essay writing and exam preparation and towards the whereabouts and activities of our newest family member. Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t have been any worse, because October leads into the school examination period, making it an important month in the school calendar.

My parents are retired high school teachers, so they were strict in the sense of monitoring my progress and even assisting with my mathematics studies – their area of specialization and my area of weakness. But they also left the responsibility of coming up with an effective study routine to myself. For this reason, no blame for the outcome can be attributed to any other person.

The fateful day arrived in December. I waited by the mailbox with nervous anticipation. I cannot recall the exact moment of opening the envelope to reveal my fate, but I can remember the crushing sense of disappointment that I felt when I discovered that my score was considerably lower than I had hoped for.

The next two months were a period of worry and uncertainty. The number of university courses that I could apply to had dwindled considerably. I was forced to apply for courses that had previously been well down the list of my preferences. When the first round of course offers came out, I resigned myself to doing a course that was not among my preferences, but resolved to make the most of a less-than-ideal situation.

But every cloud has a silver lining, and in my case it came when the second round of offers was released. In those days, the mode of communication was an automated telephone service. I called the number, fully expecting no change in my situation and was amazed to hear instead that I had been accepted into my second course preference, in virtue of my score being close enough to the required score for entry.

The message of this tale is to never give up on your dreams. You will encounter many obstacles in life, but persistence and a positive attitude go a long way to enabling you to overcome them.

Ming




Vocabulary

capitalize (v) – to use a situation to help you gain an advantage or benefit from something
whereabouts (n) – the place where someone or something is
crushing (adj.) – a particularly strong negative feeling; overpowering
dwindle (v) – to slowly become less or smaller over a period of time
every cloud has a silver lining (idiom) – every bad situation has a positive side
in virtue of (phr.) – because or as a result of

 

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