38. As soon as I recognized that number, I wished it was a dream and I was astonished. The floor suddenly disappeared and I was falling under a long dark hole. 38 were the score that I received in my first math test after I got into a High school in Korea. Before that test, I have never failed a math test before, so it came as a quite a shock to me. I have never thought that I would fail in math because I always spent a lot of time and was confident in math. In other words, I was a little aloof. However as soon I saw the test score, I was so startled that I couldn’t even speak. It took me a while to come back and accept the fact.
I believe that failure is a bridge to success. I believe failure makes us more mature and teaches us a valuable lesson. I know this because I have experienced it by myself. When I figured out my math score two years ago, I was so depressed that I actually cried. Some people wondered why would I be so upset about a single math score but, in Korea, everything is about the grade. The Korean educational system never lets us to make mistakes and grade means everything to the colleges. It’s a sad fact but the colleges don’t consider who you are but only what your grade is. Since there was no way to make up my score, it became really difficult for me to go to a college where I wished to go just because of that one mistake. But there was another reason why I got so upset. The real reason was because I was disappointed to myself. I NEVER thought of a score like that, and also I was disappointed that I let my parents down, who always believed that I would take care of myself.
After a few days, I reorganized my mind and prepared for the next test, and I distributed a huge amount of time which no one can even imagine. I normally slept after 1:00 in the morning solving math problems over and over again. I started from the bottom. 10? Maybe more. I solved almost every book in the book store that had math exercise. I threw away the slight arrogance that I kept in my mind, and worked like that was the only thing I was capable of doing. I kept on convincing myself that I won’t let myself, and my parents, who trusts me, down ever again. I promised myself, I’ll put in everything in my next test and overcome the failure.
Guess who was smiling after the next test! I scored a perfect score, 100 and assured myself that I can over come failure. Failure might put us through a hard time, but I know that it’s benevolent eventually. I learned that; like an old saying in Korea, “Failure is the mother of success.”
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.