Studies

Struggling through university, all I saw were D grades

Justin Ng // April 26, 2021, 12:19 pm

Struggle uni grades 2

At last, the final chapter in my educational journey – university!

It never crossed my mind that the magnitude of my struggle would be this immense in my last stage of education.

Back in my first semester, I recalled taking a long morning walk just to calm myself down and prepare my mind for the worst.

I had never felt so happy seeing a “D” grade in any results slip before.

I was so certain of failing this particular module. It wasn’t like I did not study or put in the hours of work. “Lost” was just the only and most suitable word to describe this journey.

Viewing the results through my phone, I was scanning through for the fail grade. To my surprise, a “D+” appeared! I had never felt so happy seeing a “D” grade in any results slip before.

At the same time, I was really thankful that my prayers for mercy were answered because I knew the results did not come by my own ability.

WHEN YOUR BEST ISN’T ENOUGH

“Don’t worry lah. Year one. First semester. Everyone also like that, will adjust one – don’t worry so much.” This was one of the common responses I got each time I shared my struggles.

With each new semester, I thought things would take a turn for the better. However, the hurt and depressive emotions within me only worsened over time.

I felt like a fish thrown in an ocean that had to survive with sharks. And I felt so lousy not being able to do or understand the various concepts taught despite my constant revision and all the help I sought.

My biggest fear? Failing and not being able to graduate in time. It hurt me a lot knowing that I was a pretty disciplined person, yet the results never showed.

I asked God: “How long more, God? How long more do you want me to grow through this?”

I felt so alone in the journey; no one could relate to the turmoil I was feeling deep within. I was doing much worse compared to my friends and that made me feel that no one else would ever understand.

Sleepless and tearful nights were plenty, but somehow, I got through each semester with God’s helping hand.

“I felt like the dumbest student in school”

I recalled sharing with my parents my fears and doubts in my abilities, and the disappoint from these bad results.

Each semester, I would have at least two to three “D+” grades. And my GPA never climbed above 3.0 even till today (I’m in my last semester).

My dad’s response struck me: 

I remembered finding it a little funny. But that line from dad stuck with me through the years.

As a final year student in my last semester, I can trace God’s hand in my life as I look back.

I feel really grateful to have made it through each semester knowing that it was definitely not by my own work or strength, but because of God.

Of course, I still do struggle and doubt my abilities from time to time. But these tough experiences have allowed me to reflect on myself and my heart’s posture towards God.

Perhaps, I have looked to my own abilities and talent to define who I am and how I feel, In doing so, I’ve missed out on how God actually sees me.

I’ve begun to recognise how much I have conformed to societal standards, even though all I wanted was to have “average” results and not “D” grades.

Through these years, I am more reminded of God’s sacrificial love for us, knowing that we are not defined by what we achieve or fail in. Our heart’s posture towards the Lord is what truly matters.

Rainy days will be there, but remember – a rainbow only appears after a thunderstorm or rain.

GOD WILL GIVE YOU REST

“For the Lord will be your confidence” (Proverbs 3:26)

No matter your struggle, sadness or pain, don’t let it define you or let anyone around play it down. Find a community you’re comfortable to share or pray with. Surrender your thoughts to the Lord and let Him do the rest.

Matthew 11:28-30 tells us: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Believing I was a good-for-nothing, I had given up on my future

Let not the battles in life rob the happiness and relationships we have with people and most importantly, our Heavenly Father.

To you who are reading this, your struggles may be totally different from mine and you may feel that no one around including the closest ones can understand.

But I encourage you to take comfort in knowing that God loves you and will always be there to listen to your cries, prayers and requests.

The Lord our God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Knowing that, let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

THINK + TALK

  1. Read the Great Commission.
  2. How might your studies help to fulfill it?
  3. Know someone who’s struggling with their studies? Send this on to them and encourage your friend. 🙂