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From Our Readers: "I Wasn't the Smartest Kid in Class"
I wasn't able to finish college on time.
Rizz Escaño

I wasn't always the smartest kid in class.

When I was in kindergarten, I was class valedictorian and my parents were so proud of me. I could even remember delivering a very long speech that took weeks to memorize for Graduation Day. I was consistently part of the honor roll until third grade. Unfortunately, because I belonged to the star section, whiz kids who were very intelligent got ahead and I barely made it to the top 20. It was okay, TBH. As long as I was in that class, I was fine. During those times, I felt that being part of that group mattered more than anything. Being kicked out after a year was my biggest fear, but thankfully it didn't happen.

In high school, I was part of the star section until sophomore year. During my junior year, it was my first time to be part of a regular class; it shocked me. It wasn't like I didn't do my best the past year, but maybe my grades were beginning to be average—something I've never experienced before. I got used to being in the class and even made really good friends, but eventually my grades were not getting any better.

I got used to being in the class and even made really good friends, but eventually my grades were not getting any better.

Senior year turned out well that I made it to the top ten. That motivated me to do better every day. However, a spot in the top ten of a regular class didn't guarantee anyone a spotlight on Graduation Day, not even during Recognition Day. You just become part of the class honor roll, and that's it. Then you graduate.

I definitely missed the feeling of being called up on stage to receive a medal, a plaque, or even a piece of paper that says you've achieved something. I knew I had it in me, but I just didn't know why I didn't make it in high school.

College was very different. Somehow, I was able to adjust quickly during freshman year that I made it to the Dean's List. On sophomore year, I got the second level scholarship and I even won some competitions during the academic year. My achievements motivated me to end my college days with flying colors until eventually, I failed to comply with a very important requirement.

It wasn't because I forgot or I didn't do my best. I really did try to complete my grades for that particular class during the next semester but it was too late. I got an F, a very striking F, which clearly meant that I could no longer vie for honors come Graduation Day. I lost it all because of one class. I could never go up on stage again. It was my last chance and I screwed it.

I got an F, a very striking F, which clearly meant that I could no longer vie for honors come Graduation Day. I lost it all because of one class. I could never go up on stage again. It was my last chance and I screwed it.

I stopped for a semester to work. When I got back, I recovered and realized that the game isn't over yet. I could still do well in school. I could still make my parents proud even if I didn't graduate with honors. Eventually, all went well in school and I even got a position in three school organizations which really made my college years feel worthwhile.

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During the last semester of my stay in college, we were all looking forward to graduation. Everything was set. I even had in mind what I'd wear or how I'd do my hair for the occasion even if it was still months away. We still had to finish our internships and work on that dreaded college graduation requirement: thesis.

Unfortunately, we didn't make the deadline of the defense. It was painful. It was the only thing left that I had to do to finish school, and I wasn't able to comply! Although I wasn't the only person who got left behind, it was still heartbreaking not to graduate with my closest friends. We all got to college on the same day, and we promised to be together on the very last day, too. I didn't even attend their graduation day because I wasn't sure if I could witness an event I was supposed to be in. That would be painful to watch. Sure, I was proud of them, but I knew I was supposed to be there, too.

Although I wasn't the only person who got left behind, it was still heartbreaking not to graduate with my closest friends.

It took weeks before I got over the trauma of not graduating on time. The famous graduation song even haunted me that every time I heard it on the radio, I'd bawl. I didn't want to see anyone wearing a toga even on TV. I wasn't doing well, but life had to go on. I had to wait for another six months.

Since we were only waiting for the final defense, I honestly had nothing else to do so I decided to take a part-time job. But something came to me one day and I realized that the game really isn't over yet. My instructors told me that I was a potential recipient of the Leadership Award because of the competitions, publications, events, and conferences that I attended for the past five years. I was only missing one more event to make me a qualified nominee for the said recognition. So I began gathering people from the organizations that I've handled and tried to make one more event possible. It turned out to be successful one and the next thing I know, after a few more months of working on all my documents, I was officially going to receive the award.

I realized that the game really isn't over yet. My instructors told me that I was a potential recipient of the Leadership Award because of the competitions, publications, events, and conferences that I attended for the past five years.

Graduation came and this time, I wasn't crying because I wasn't part of the final list. I wasn't crying because I wasn't going to march. I was crying because I was finally there. Success is truly sweeter because it's worth the wait. After all the disappointments, heartbreaks, and delays that I encountered on my journey to graduation, I finally realized why I had to stay six more months in college.

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If I didn't get delayed, I wouldn't be able to take my mom up on stage again. In the end, I was able to, and I knew she always wanted that to happen. I knew I could have graduated without an award and still make my family proud, but it was such a welcome bonus. It took a long time, but it was definitely worth it.

I was't always the smartest kid in class, but that didn't stop me from fulfilling my goals. Anyone can. You don't have to be the best or the most intelligent student there is. You can make mistakes along the way and still finish school. And if ever it takes you a long time to get to that success, always remember that there is a bigger reason why life took you to that long cut.

And if ever it takes you a long time to get to that success, always remember that there is a bigger reason why life took you to that long cut. 

Written by Rizz Escaño a.ka. DJ Gabby Ginger of 89.5 Star FM.

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