Throughout my soon-ending school experience, I always thought that getting good grades was the only way to learn. I hadn’t had trouble with that until 2012, the year I became a University student. My grades dropped, I started failing subjects, my scholarship was reduced and, consequently, I had a personal crisis. It seemed obvious to me that I was becoming a failure and my life would suck forever because I just couldn’t get my average to what I wanted. My brain was going into shock and I couldn’t soak in any knowledge. I can summarize said experience with this song:
Many students believe that their grades define who they are and who they will become. If you have good grades you’ll be successful and get a good job, if they aren’t you suck. Thus, “I Must Impress My Professor” becomes a hymn.
It wasn’t until less than a year ago that I started seeing things differently. I started loving my degree and my subjects, I began feeling happy about myself and what I had accomplished. Who cares about grades when I have so much more to offer? I clearly remember a few months ago when I called my mum and told her “I think I’m finally getting the hang of school”. She laughed and said “Well, better late than never!”. It literally took me 19 years to understand what school was all about, or at least what it should be about.
A huge part of this change of mind I had, I owe to Ken Bauer and every other teacher that focused on helping students learn instead of showing off and acting as a deity. It’s because of you that I understood that everyone has their own learning process and it’s OK to take longer to understand something and it’s OK not
For our second session, we had guest speakers come in and talk to us about different experiences they have had in their careers, predominantly with a focus on hacking and security of course.
Maggie shared with us her experience speaking in front of 2000+ people at Defcon about her studies regarding GFCIs, disabling hairdryers using signals from a walkie-talkie. She shared with us how she got her internship at Intel, how she worked with amazing people and how she was fortunate enough to transition to a job in the US under Intel as well. She even shared a bit of humorous personal experiences that related to her work and inspired her to continue to work on what she loved.
The only fault I found in her talk was that it was hard for me to relate, her story seemed like a fairy tale and I’m sitting over here like “wow it must be cool to have your life together”. So I started thinking, why would the teacher ask us to stand up and scream “It’s okay to fail”, and follow it up with a story of success?
In the q&a session, I decided to take the opportunity to ask her to share a story of failure, so that an underachiever such as myself could relate. I think my delivery of such request came off a little more coarse than I intended. It wasn’t my intention to come off as such a Debbie downer, but it kind of comes natural to me. Hopefully my question wasn’t as memorable.
In response to my request she spoke about how it’s okay to feel like a failure because it means you are constantly improving and shows your will to keep learning and bettering yourself. I had never thought