Not doing well in school

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Hazirah Hanifar
Member since January 2, 2019
  • 1 Post
  • Age 20



I came from a small school. Two classes, about 50 students per cohort. I also came from a mother who, very early in my life, pushed me to excel and live up to my best potential. She put me in competitions to expand my horizons. She drilled me with primary school assessment books when I was in kindergarten. And I know what it sounds like, but I am so so thankful she did what she did with me. I don’t recall ever feeling too stressed out, I played and had fun and whatnot but when it came to working, she instilled a sense of responsibility and hard work in me and she taught me to take pride in the work I do and it has really shaped me in school and beyond.

The result of all that was that I did pretty well in school. I wasn’t always the best, but I was up there enough to feel safe. Until I graduated. After 10 years, I was going to a new school. What this meant was that I was going to have this whole different curriculum and new kids i.e. new competition. As someone who did well at school, one of my biggest worries was if I was going to continue doing well at school. Not just well, but exceeding average standards — excellent. I wanted to be excellent. I wanted not only good grades, but I also wanted the best grades.

Before even enrolling, I looked up talent programmes in the school (like programmes for students who are doing well academically etc.) and how I would be able to get in. That is how much doing well in school means to me.

In the first semester, I was able to achieve this goal. And the talent development programme I looked up? I made it in. Things really were looking up for me. But after that, between taking on other commitments outside of the classroom and the fact that some of the material in my course that I just could not get a grasp of, my grades started to decline.

I think it is fair to explain what my course is. I am taking a three-year diploma in creative writing for TV and new media. What this consists of is writing fiction and non-fiction for many platforms from radio to web, journalism, communications and video production.

Something I really struggled with was video production because it involved a lot of visual communication knowledge and technical proficiency that I was just having trouble picking up.

And then there was my other commitment, which is a co-curricular club that really made my social life so much better because truth be told I was suffering that first semester. And at first, as an ordinary member, it was just this club where I could go to events and hang with my friends. But in my second year, I took on a position that came with a lot of responsibility.

So between that, school, my family and everything else, I had spread myself too thin. It affected me a lot. I had this real passion for writing and that was what spurred me to enrol in this course anyway but with all the stress, that passion kind of became dead. And it sucked because I tried writing for fun again, not for school or for anything else, but everything that came out was so uninspired and I hated it.

A lot of people would say grades don’t matter but when your grades are reflective of how well you are doing in a course that was basically your passion, you start to feel like your doubt in your skills is being validated. If I get a C+ from an A in a module about scriptwriting, what does that say about my writing?

I feel so stuck now. My whole life, since I was 12, I knew what I wanted to be, and what I wanted to do. My grades, up until recently, validated this passion I had. Validated the belief that one day I was going to do this thing I wanted. But now? Now I’m not so sure.

There is no optimistic message in this post if that’s what you’re looking for. I just hope someone out there who is reading this and feels the way I do knows they are not alone. It sucks being stuck. Burnout hurts. But I don’t think I’m giving up just yet, and I hope they don’t either. One day, we’ll find our way out of this hole. Until then, we live and learn.

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