Exams and high standards

From my journal, dated December 10th 2012

Ok, so remember when I said I was kicking butt at school. Well today I wrote my first final exam and, let’s just say I didn’t do too well.

I’m a firm believer of good and bad things equalizing each other in one’s life. I don’t know if it’s because life actually works that way, or if it’s just how we perceive things; all I know is that if I have a crappy morning, something good tends to happen later that day, and vice versa.

So I was already on my guard this morning because I was having a good morning. I’d slept well, and was feeling relaxed and good. I went to order an international student identification card and the process was fast and easy… too easy. Then I checked my mailbox and received a postcard from Stephanie! She wrote lovely things about me, and I thought it was no coincidence that it arrived right before my first exam.

Then there was the exam; 20 multiple choice questions, how hard can that be, right? Very hard. It was stupid because it was reading comprehension and though I understood each text in general, the questions were on mean little things. I got 14/20 and that includes a bonus mark.

It’s not such a horrible mark I guess, but for me it is. I cannot remember any other time I’ve gotten so bad on anything (excluding the Grade 4 spelling test where I talked and got zero, and also the painting of flowers in Grade 6 that the teacher gave me a C+ on).

I mean, at least the exam is only worth 20% (a lot less than some other exams). And I added up all my marks for this French course and my final mark: 83.5%. Which is a respectable A-; however, it’s still below the percentage I need to keep my scholarship. How messed up is that? And then I ask myself why I care so much about keeping my scholarship when my parents have an education savings account for me with enough $ for university. It’s probably in part because I was raised to be an extremely frugal person and I hate to spend $ and especially to see it wasted. But it’s also partly because I just like to do my very best at everything. I feel like even if all my courses were Pass/Fail, I would still try hard.

For this recent exam, there was nothing I could do about it; there was no way to study for it. And in some ways that makes it hurt even more. It wasn’t that I didn’t study enough, it was just that I wasn’t good enough.

As I’m writing this, the lesson to be learned is sinking in. This has been a humbling experience and I really have to check my privilege. To be given both great intelligence and the luck of being born privileged (in today’s time, white, in North America, considerably well off, etc), I am and must seem like a spoiled little brat who’s upset because for once she didn’t meet her sky-high standards and performed at an average level. I don’t know where I’m going with this rant, but I just want to say that I’m humbled and regardless of the outcomes, I will continue to always do my best.

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