Inside my mental battle for academic excellence…


I assume that we all know how encouraging it is when you are handsomely rewarded for putting in your best efforts to deal with something complex. Those specializing in marketing, arts and designing, and academic learners in universities can attest to this. Though it is never visible to the plain eye and coupled with a duping smile, I tell you it is really tense inside the soul, like it’s on fire! It is a tough battle that pits the mind against the body to craft the perfect intellect skill at all costs. This is why devotees are willing to forego whatever life comforts to endure the cold and sleepless nights, take bitter foods, and forego leisure to put their mind skill to perfection.

In this piece, I talk about the personal experience in fighting for academic excellence which has been a tooth and nail affair. Since my early days of school, I have been moulded to believe that achievement in academic life is when you score impressive grades from exams and assignments. I am still battling it out at the university where things are rather tough, more intricate, and unyielding. Put it simply, it is the survival of the fittest as I have heard stories of many who have thrown up the towels because of the frustrations. To me, It has both been an extraordinary fight to reach here and more than special because doing two masters at once is no easy feat but I wanted to challenge my mental aptitude.

Year in and year out, I make sure that I do things in the right and expected way, cross-checking each assignment more than five times to ensure that no grammatical error could cost me any marks. Given the amount of time and skills invested in an assignment, I tend to hold my head high, expecting maximum grades but because I expected near-perfection, I end up sad if I don’t score the anticipated marks. Like it is always said that too much expectations often lead to disappointments, I always sob over myself for being too expectant and so success-oriented while blindly-believing that I did my best and hence I deserved better while forgetting that my instructors know far better than I am. Sometimes I thought that maybe it’s their bias towards me, but I have always been wrong with that way of thinking.

When the frustration becomes too much to swallow, I hit my lecturers’ email demanding for a one-on-one meeting to seek clarifications on what could have possibly gone amiss. During such meetings, it’s challenging to control my sentiments but I try to show a sense of understanding even though deep inside my mind is boiling with anger and feel like lashing out to the lecturer for diminishing my chances at getting the ‘perfect’ grades. When the lecturer becomes unyielding, I console myself and promise that I will make up for the missed scores during the final exam, and it always paid off.

I remember taking one extreme measure during my bachelor’s degree when my final coursework tally was way below the expectations and after realizing getting an A grade would be impossible, I purposely skipped the final exam. In the subsequent year, I registered for the same course unit, started afresh and in the end, I earned the A grade. See? It paid off. That wasn’t luck, It was the fruit of perseverance and believing that I deserved better, so I worked for it.

One may ask what could be my motivation for taking some extreme academic decisions? Well, one of my ambitions is to become a university lecturer and preferably, a professor. Such a calling requires the attainment of exceptional academic achievements and one of the ways of attaining them is by scoring exceptional grades during your study days. The transcripts need to have superior grades for your future employers to be convinced of your educated understanding in your area of expertise.

Not only am I fighting to seal future employment duties, I also realized that good grades always encouraged me to achieve more. The more I score the expected grades, the more I was encouraged to work even harder to exceed prior efforts. Sometimes I judge myself based on my academic performance to measure the ability to make good decisions based on learned expertise and if I perform below par, I will emotionally punish myself by maintaining a self-guilt stance while reminding myself that I should have done better. My mind will never be at peace until I show signs of academic improvement.

In life, improvement inspires us to go further than initially planned. Say you are on a very long trip to the unknown. When you cross over the rugged terrains and see some remarkable landscapes ahead, you are motivated to keep trekking. That is now how the academic battle is. The better the grades, the further you keep climbing the academic ranks. If I perform better at my Master’s degree, I may be motivated to also pursue a PhD but I wouldn’t have reached here had I not put pressure on my inner person to do more for better grades. I always believe that the results of doing something should reflect the value and amount of resources – time, money, and prowess – invested at the start.

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