Sixteen is an awesome year of life. Getting your driver’s license and being able to drive a car is such an awesome feeling. It is hard to believe that was over 10 years ago because I remember the first day I drove to school like it was yesterday. Another great thing about sixteen is you are not a freshman anymore. You get the chance to laugh at the freshman. Also, you get more serious about your extracurricular activities. For me, that was basketball.
There was a failure I experienced that year of life that stays with me to this day. It hurts to think about and still brings embarrassment but I learned a lot about myself.
I played basketball for my high school. I didn’t start, or really play that much, but I started for the JV team and I was getting better. We had a great team so I was thrilled to be a part of it. I was always a decent student in high school but math was a real struggle. That first semester of school went well but I was really doing poorly in math. I got extra help, studied hard, but didn’t pass the class. It was beyond humiliating. I was suspended. I was ineligible to play for about a month. I never will forget the coach coming and telling me the news in the cafeteria one day. All I could think about was how in the world I was going to tell my parents. It was so difficult. Even now I can remember how hard it was and how much shame I felt after telling my dad.
I had tried extremely hard to pass my math class but I realized after falling short and dealing with all of the repercussions I could have done more. That next semester I did more. Got a tutor and did really well. I got back on the team and we had an amazing season.
As summer came I had to really pay for failing math the first semester. I had to go to summer school. Embarrassing does not even begin to describe it. My family went on vacation and I had to stay home by myself to go to class. Being invited to hangout with friends and having to turn down the invitation because I had to be at summer school was an activity that was so degrading it hurts to think about.
I went to class. I studied extremely hard and actually got an A. I remember one day the teacher bragging on the job I did to the whole class. Although being the smartest kid in a summer school class is comparable to being the hottest waitress at a Waffle House, I was thrilled.
I learned something about myself that summer. I would take much harder classes in high school and in college and I pushed myself to go the extra mile to make sure I achieved my goals.
Had I not gone through all of that I would not be where I am today. Failure is a part of life. Literally failing a class was one of the best things that happened to me. I would like to say I made straight A’s after that but I didn’t. However, I did go on to graduate from college and I never have to take a math class again. I’m not sure which of those things is more important to me.
Pursuing your goals and chasing your dreams is not easy. It’s frustrating to struggle with something, like a math class, and see others who have no trouble at all getting through it. Failing a class taught me to dig deeper and truly give it my all when I’m faced with something difficult. It is one thing to say you will study hard but it is another thing to actually stay up all night and study.
I want to encourage you with whatever you are struggling with to seek God. Ask others for help. Give everything you have in order to get through it. It will be worth it on the other side.