The Last Day At School: A Victorious Defeat

Now that I am no longer in the university, I miss the university so much. The academic environment is one of those rare spaces in which I feel free and empowered. For as long as I can remember, I have always liked going to school and being in a classroom.

I am not one of the brightest students in all the classes I have attended in the past. In fact, I do not really consider myself to be bright or intelligent at all. Learning for me is a struggle. I have had no idea of what I was doing most of the time. Nonetheless, I enjoyed studying and learning.

I have finished my master’s degree recently and it seems that, at least in my own particular case, I have already reached the last stage of formal education. As I have said, I am not that bright and talented to pursue a PhD career. To pursue a second master’s degree seems to be Extravagant.

During my graduation last summer this year, I was filled with complex emotions. On one hand, I was happy and proud with my achievement. It is after all not very easy to achieve what I have achieved with mediocre talents and abilities in my tool box. At the same time, I was also heartbroken of the realization that because I have already reached the last stage available to me, I am no longer eligible to stay in the institution I feel most at home.  My memory of that day will always be imbued by that sense of victorious defeat so complex as it is profound.

While I was in the graduate school, I dreaded reading the texts that I have to read and study for each course. They are so difficult to understand. Perhaps, it is more accurate to say that they are so dreadful precisely because I did not understand them – at least, not immediately. One needs to have a firm foundation in order to be able to better grapple with those text, which clearly I did not have. I was not equipped.

Now that I am no longer within the that academic space, I quite miss reading difficult text and how I have struggled to understand them. Sometimes I imagine that my consciousness today can come back to the past and inhabit my body on that first day in the graduate school and then relive the whole process again, I could have been the best in the class. But then, that would be cheating.

I was so stressed when the end of each course is approaching because I needed to write a final paper. Now I really do miss writing them and if I could write them for the second time around, I would have written about different topics and I would have written them differently. One could only imagine what I felt about conducting my research project which has taken more time than necessary. It was very stressful, daunting, and difficult. Now I want to do it all over again.

6 thoughts on “The Last Day At School: A Victorious Defeat

  1. Congratulations on getting your Master’s degree. I feel that this will be me one day. I am looking at 1 1/2 years of undergraduate schooling. I love learning. I love exploring. I don’t want to think about a life where I am away from life at a university. You said it perfectly – I would do it all over again right now too, even though it has been such a challenging journey.

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  2. I hear you. It’s very overwhelming at times in university to be surrounded by kids who are more intelligent than you but believe me when I say that most of the people I know in real life who have excelled in their respective careers are the kids who were mediocre in their studies.
    I’m sure you will do the same.

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