I Failed ‘O’ Level English!

Issue 43  //  ·  · 

I still remember the day, sitting anxiously in the school hall as we waited for our ‘O’ level results. When my turn came, the look on my teachers’ faces was one I can never forget. They handed me my results slip and different polytechnic course brochures, as well as a private diploma brochure. Something wasn’t right.

26 points.

Out of the seven subjects I took, I scored D7 in English, B3 in Literature, and C5s and C6s for the rest. I was flooded with anger, disappointment, and frustration with myself and with God. How could this be happening? How could I fail my English paper and get the highest grade out of all my subjects in Literature? The irony stared me in the face.

The worst thing was knowing that failing the English paper meant that I could not enter most courses in a polytechnic. Entering my dream school and course suddenly became impossible.

I eventually enrolled in a private university in a course I liked, but I kept all the course brochures I had collected from the different polytechnics in a drawer. For four years, I lived in shame and guilt. Whenever someone mentioned their grades, I found myself moving away or feeling depressed. I was ashamed of my results and didn’t want to tell anyone about it. There were times when I was home alone at night and was reminded about my bad results. I would open the drawer, sit on the floor and cry.

When I was 20, God healed me from the pain that I endured silently for four years. I remember coming home one day after listening to a sermon that spoke to my heart. I emptied the drawer, and threw all the course brochures away. That day, I felt so relieved and free, and I knew it was God who had given me the courage to let all my shame, disappointment, and pain go.

As I look back now, I see that just because my path was different, it doesn’t mean that I was lost or abandoned. God was and is in full control of my life, and my journey was no mistake. While I did not have the chance to experience life in a polytechnic or junior college, I was surrounded with classmates much older than me, and from different countries, which forced me to think and act more maturely. I was part of a Christian community in school and joined a discipleship group. I wasn’t exposed to friends who enjoyed clubbing, drinking, or speaking vulgarities. It was as if God was protecting me and sheltering me in a safe environment.

Someone once told me, “Age does not define your maturity, grades do not define your intelligence, and rumours do not define who you are.” God made us in His image and we are who He has called us to be. Nothing should make us feel unworthy or lousy about ourselves, especially not our grades. Understand, dear friend, that you are the Heavenly Father’s precious daughter, and you are loved even when you feel you have failed!

Joey Tay
Joey, 24, enjoys exploring new places and is adventurous. One of the items on her bucket list is to trek to Mount Everest Base Camp!

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