Passing Organic Chemistry

We were sophomore university students that year. And before we can even dream of starting our major subjects, we all had to finish pre-requisite general education subjects. Which included Organic Chemistry.

Years later, as I type this, I struggle to remember exactly what Organic Chemistry was all about. I just know that it was where I really got to know the atom, we had to “balance equations” and that I sat beside one of the smartest girls in our class (because she was very patient in teaching her other classmates.) Suffice it to say that about two-thirds of the class found Organic Chemistry difficult. Okay, make that four-fifths.

Plenty of my classmates chose to drop the subject. Perhaps it was better to study the subject during the summer or maybe some of them were afraid of failing the subject. I also considered dropping Organic Chemistry, though I had a vague idea about what “dropping” would entail. It was the first time I had considered doing something like that, my first venture into the incredibly flexible schedule of college life.

Part of me didn’t want to do it, part of me wanted to. And in the middle of my mind war, I paused and even asked my mom what she thought of my choice. She said to go on with it.

Armed with my half-conviction of finishing the subject and my Mama’s support, I pulled out the stops. I joined the tutor class, had my smart seatmate teach me, studied my notes (even if it gave me a migraine) and pretty much gave it my all.

My school had a five-point scoring system. The bare minimum was 3, with 1 as the highest and 5 as the lowest. And the end of that semester, I was the proud bearer of a 3 score.

I have never been so proud of a 3.

Yes, I was not top of my class. I was probably like a tiny fraction off from a failing mark. But, a 3 was a 3. A 3 meant I passed. A 3 meant that my migraines, my frustrations at not fully understanding, my heart palpitations while waiting for my fate have been validated. They have not been endured and experienced in vain.

Years after, this memory surfaces as a big reminder of my capacity to endure. It tells me now that if I want something, I can get it, if I was willing to work hard and sacrifice. This experience says that I can be brave and that I will be rewarded.

Perhaps, Organic Chemistry wasn’t so bad after all. =)



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