My junior primary school’s motto was “Do your best”. I still have a clear memory of my dad asking me if I understood what it meant. Over the years, I have learnt to understand it far better than I did in grade one.
It’s important to understand that each person’s best is different. Many are studying in their second language or have unimaginable volumes of work to memorise. Not everyone is naturally an academic or has a knack for practical performance. That’s completely fine. They may be better elsewhere, like in sport or leadership. What matters is that we put in the effort needed to achieve what we’re capable of, and then maybe a little bit more.
Mediocrity is far too rife among students. Too often students settle for a mark that is not their best. It really grates my cheese to hear students say they’re content with just passing or getting a supplementary exam. It’s okay if that’s all you’re capable of, but it’s not okay when you could be achieving 10, 20 or 30% higher. What worries me more is that this sentiment far too often comes from students that have been fortunate enough to have good quality schooling throughout their life.
Education is a privilege, especially tertiary education. Tons of money is poured into it every year and there are so many people who should be getting an education but simply cannot afford it. The least we can do is honour the privilege we have by aiming to walk away from an exam thinking that we tried our hardest and gave our best. You may not achieve an A, but it’ll still be something to be proud of because you’ll know you worked for it.
This is Perdeby’s last edition for this semester. We’ll be back on 27 July.
Best wishes for exams!