Friday, November 15, 2013

Struggling to swim

I only remember fragments of my life before Australia. I remember daydreaming a lot, which I still do. I remember not being able to concentrate in memorisation - still am not. I don't remember being fussy about the way I look. I guess that's because I used to fit the general criteria of what was considered to be 'pretty' - which should not really matter to a ten year old anyway (but it often does, especially when kids get bullied for it, or rather, the lack of it). My grades were not great, but I was good at understanding English, attended a good school and generally picked things up faster than others. So, I had neither a low or inflated self esteem about my intelligence. When I came to Australia, I was considered to be one of the smart ones, though it was expected because schools in Bangladesh make kids work harder - it was new to me. I went through the next five years of schooling with the mentality that I was, indeed, one of the smarter kids. :)

This kind of got crushed once I changed schools in 2008. As one of my teachers put it - the new kids at this new school were used to being the big fish in little ponds, and all of a sudden, are thrown into the ocean, where they aren't so big any more. Before this, I was used to putting in very little effort in my school work, but the effort I put in was done with enthusiasm. The last 2 years of schooling drained every last bit of enthusiasm I had towards structured learning. But, I must've put in some kind of effort, because I ended up with a mark that said I was somewhere just below average in my school, but way above average in the state. However, my efforts were overshadowed by the stress of meeting expectations, so if I was given the choice of re-living those two years - I most definitely would not do it!

In the first semester of university - I remember studying hard for chemistry. I enjoyed maths up to a particular point. I hated one of the other compulsory classes that we had to do, but it was so easy that I ended up with a distinction anyway. My marks reflected each subject accordingly. I hated the 2nd semester of my first year - the subjects that I was doing probably required a lot more effort on my part than was given, but I was very unmotivated because I absolutely hated physics and optics (a combination of maths and physics). The other two subjects were chemistry and bio - and although I liked chemistry up until that point, I don't really know what happened - things probably got too hard and I gave up. Bio - I have always had a love-hate relationship with it. The system that was put in our bodies is complex and fascinating, which is why I love knowing about it, but hate learning it because it requires a lot of memorisation.

The next semester was a good one. My fourth semester at uni saw another dip in performance - at that point, I thought I wanted to major in both neuroscience and psychology. Neuroscience required anatomy and pharmacology - both of which required memorisation of terms that I could not have memorised even if I had to save my life. I ended up dropping anatomy early. And needless to say, my pharm results were horrible. It probably did not help that at that time some personal challenges were also brimming to the top. So, I was faced with challenges in both my academic and personal lives, and not being able to handle them perfectly broke my spirit, quite a bit.

The challenges that I faced in the next two semesters - last year - was pretty well documented here, I think. I keep talking about them. All the time. I should really stop. (butinsummaryitwasacombinationofchallengesinacademicpersonalandworklives)

So why am I analysing my failures?

I had a job interview the other day. I haven't done too many interviews, but, in terms of my work life, I generally always got the jobs I wanted. I really wanted this particular one, but I got a rejection call the other day.

It made me think about how my failures have shaped me. I tend to attach myself to ideas (that horrible habit of daydreaming!) and when things don't go the way I imagined them to go, I get terribly disappointed. Of course, this is a natural humane response. But, I forget to remember that my days are numbered. I can't exactly do anything about my past failures except to accept them, because expecting perfection will set me up for more disappointments in the future. All I can do now, is focus on things that matter - things that'll prepare me for the absolute long term and things that I can control. Is this a defense mechanism? Maybe. But if we don't employ any kind of mechanisms to defend our hearts, the world will break it before we know it. And it's much harder to put broken pieces back together than to save a fragile, but intact thing. 

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