HEY LOOK! THE HSC RESULTS ARE OUT! BUT GUESS WHAT....IT ISN'T THE END OF THE WORLD!!!
(Please note: This post is purely about encouraging despairing & heartbroken students not to give up. Nothing more. Nothing less)
This is a topic that troubles me greatly and so today I write about it. The HSC results were declared not so long ago. This year, none of my kids were in the HSC year, but I know that it's a stressful time for most parents and kids.
I never ask anyone how their child did in an exam. It's not something that concerns me and I believe there's lots more to life than exam results. Some parents though voluntarily brought up this topic in a discussion and spoke with great pain and discomfort about how their kids had performed. They sounded defeated and their voices were laced with a hint of 'shame' when they told whoever cared to listen that their kids had performed poorly. What troubled me more was that the kids were standing within earshot of these conversations and I saw them looking lost and bewildered on hearing the negativity from their parents.
NO MATTER HOW BADLY A CHILD HAS PERFORMED IN AN EXAM, THEY DON'T DESERVE TO BE EMBARRASSED IN PUBLIC BY THEIR OWN PARENTS OF ALL PEOPLE.
Confidence is a fragile thing....Most adults don't possess it, let alone gawky teenagers on the cusp of adulthood. The HSC has been, for years, the yardstick for success. And in today's world of social media, it's heart-breaking for the kids who 'didn't do well' to see the excited and raving posts and images posted by those who did spectacularly.
So, here's an open letter to all the kids globally who didn't do well. I'm still unconvinced about this phrase 'didn't do well'. By whose standard? By which standard? But here goes:
Dear Mr/Miss Brave-Enough-To-Sit-The-Exam,
With a thudding heart, you waited for your result. And with a sinking heart you discovered that you didn't do well. You saw the light go out of your parents' eyes when they heard the news and a little part of your soul died on the spot on seeing their disappointment. Your lower lip trembled as you tried to come up with reasons and explanations. But your voice had deserted you.
You needed a hug...Someone to hold you tight within an embrace...An embrace devoid of judgement, devoid of blame, devoid of hurt. You simply wanted to be told it's not the end of the world and that tomorrow the sun would rise again.
I sat the HSC myself many many years ago. So I know how terrified you must have been when you saw a question that made your mind go blank. I don't think any parent truly forgets the terror of waking up on the morning of the first exam.
This letter is for YOU.
This is what I want you to remember today and for the rest of your life:
1) The HSC is not the end of the world.
2) It is normal and human to feel crushed and disappointed because your marks didn't reflect your expectations from yourself. Don't bottle up your grief. You are allowed to cry and get it out of your system. Crying cleanses the soul and your soul needs a bit of nurturing right now.
3) Some of the biggest successes in the history of humanity....the ones who went on to MAKE history...the ones who invented and created....the ones who led their teams to victory...the ones who carved out a name & niche for themselves....didn't perform brilliantly in every exam they sat. It didn't stop them from reaching the pinnacle of success.
4) There is so much more to you than your HSC result. You have so many wonderful strengths that you yet have to tap into. There are so many aspects to your personality you don't even know exist. Your result is a PART of your life's overall journey, it never was the HIGHLIGHT of your journey.
5) Your parents love you more than life itself. If you witnessed them at their most vulnerable...that moment when you told them your marks and saw them crushed....it's because they want only the best for you. You won't understand their sorrow....Not until the day your own child is born and you become a parent for the first time. If you hurt, they hurt. And they know you're hurting. Their hearts broke not because they're ashamed of you or have stopped loving you...Their hearts broke because they heard yours breaking. You are loved....You are special....You make them proud every moment simply by being you. Never ever forget that.
6) Today, the HSC result is all that you can think of. But it won't always be this way. The pain will diminish. And your resolve and determination will expand.
7) You are on the cusp of adulthood. Many disappointments await you because that's just what adulthood is all about. But many joys and much success awaits you too. Because that too is what adulthood is all about.
8) While in this very moment it may seem to you that you're not good at anything, I want you to remember that your true brilliance is waiting quietly in the wings. I'm talking about your real strengths....whatever they may be. Creativity....The Sciences....Literature....Art....Research....Photography...Business....Medicine...Your choices are limitless. Play to your strengths for they will carry you on their shoulders all the way to victory.
9) Lastly, create your own definition of success. It may not match your best friend's definition but that's OK. In fact, it's more than ok.
Go on and conquer your world, dear braveheart....You who were brave enough to actually sit the exam even when every instinct within you urged you to escape.
This is not the end of the world as you will some day realise. You won't quit because winners don't quit. And you're a winner....Today and every day.
Find your wings....and then fly.
Nim Gholkar, 2020