The biggest exams I’ve yet to face in life are fast approaching, and despite my multiple failed attempts I’m close to accepting the inevitable. In primary school I excelled academically. Then Secondary school hit me, and I was doing just fine, but slowly and surely I slipped up. Where exactly is a mystery, but my first set of state exams I did fine in but not in the standard I was capable of. That was okay though, because that was the year my parents decided to separate so it was treated as my “get out of jail free” card. Also, those exams counted for nothing, I was only 15.
Now, three years later and there’s less than two weeks to go until I sit the exams that determine my future in terms of whether or not I attend collage, and if so which course. Firstly, I don’t know what course I want because I don’t know where I’m going in life but if you have any suggestions please let me know. Secondly, I have just found out that I have been severely anaemic these past 15 months and that is the reason why I couldn’t focus in class or sit down to study, especially when my iron levels dropped so low I collapsed and ended up in hospital for blood transfusions an hour after sitting my German oral, which counts for part of these upcoming examinations. I could take advantage of this as my second “get out of jail free” card but that won’t get me anywhere in life. Thirdly and most importantly, I am stupid. I used to think I was smart, and was a straight A student but these past two years I have been failing nearly every subject spectacularly. I could accept that, if I wasn’t making an effort. But when I do make a consistent effort of attending classes, doing homework and studying, there is never any improvement. I just don’t have a brain designed for the education system.
The student sitting next to me never engages in anything intellectually stimulating, such as reading whereas I do, yet because they can memorise anything and everything they are star pupils. At least once a week if not once a day, I hear a teacher say “You just have to learn it off” and I get scolded because I don’t. Its not for lack of trying, I spent forty minutes today trying to memorise one sentence in Irish today. Find me any memory trick out there and I promise you I have tried it. I’m just not designed that way, and I can accept that. But because the education system in Ireland is built solely around rote learning, I must also accept that I am stupid. What upsets me, is that I feel like I am.
Try spending day after day receiving bad grades despite your best efforts, try looking for help from teachers yet never getting anything constructive, try constantly being a failure and not feeling like one. I’ve held onto some hope that it’s the system that’s corrupt and not me, yet it’s time I face the fact that I myself and the failure.
I am now terrified I will fail my upcoming exams, and if that happens there are very few options out there for me. However, the thing that scares me most is not ending up working a 9 to 5 minimum wage job that I hate for the rest of my life, but disappointing myself. The mother will accept my failure and blame it on the illness because she still has hope for me. Personally, my hope has been crushed. If I fail these exams, it’s more than disregarding the pursuit of further education, it’s facing the cold hard fact that I am not smart.
I am stupid.