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On Repeated Academic Failures

#iRemember | Episode 326
 
“Disappointed by God” came at the right time for a good number of you. As a result, a number of you sent me personal messages to share about a personal ‘disappointment in God’ scenario that you are going through. Interestingly, a good number of them are academic.
 
As such I thought to reshare my answer to two of you for the benefit of many more…
 
Case 1: The sister had just seen virtually all her first semester results for her first year in Uni and the results are really bad. Besides failing one course, she’s got quite a number of ‘let my people go’ grades that would put her GPA at a low 2-2 or even worse. Apparently, a lecturer had mentioned to her class that your GPA at the end of your first semester may end up being your final CGPA at the end of your studies.
Below are my thoughts to her…
 
Hi Beloved.
Apologies for waiting this long before responding to your message.
 
I know what it’s like to start off in Uni on the “wrong foot” in terms of grade, but I am persuaded that with a better understanding of what works best for you in terms of study times, study patterns, and a general awareness of your limitations shaping your preparation, you will be alright.
 
You are still finding your footing. That’s what these scores are about. I also started off in OAU on a 2-2 GPA but I ended with a 2-1 CGPA so don’t believe that this is how it will always be.
 
However, there might be certain changes you’ll have to make. You may have to do some try-and-error first but at some point you will breakthrough into what works for you. Possible areas to reexamine would include:
 
1. Reading times.
2. Reading venues.
3. Reading partners.
4. Note taking in lectures.
5. Getting more helpful materials and handouts.
6. Enrolling in tutorials.
7. Shedding off some responsibilities.
 
To expatiate on the 7th point, I noticed you mentioned holding a position of responsibility in your introduction. Is that a departmental or fellowship role? In any case, I think taking up such extra-academic responsibility in your first year isn’t a wise decision. If it’s something you can shed off (and any other unnecessary commitments, too), please, do. It’s not laziness or irresponsibility; it is wisdom in preparing for a stronger future academically and otherwise.
 
In summary, the major point to make is that this is just the beginning and you still have over 75% of the time you will spend on campus right ahead of you. The past is past; the future beckons. Accept the invitation and go for it.
 
I wish you the very best.
 
And you will be in our prayers.
 
Case 2: A brother who has been out of Secondary school 6 years ago has attempted UTME countless times without being able to gain admission each of those times. That can be really perplexing and wearying. He wants to know my ‘verdict’ on this and to find out if faith is enough to bring about a miracle (since he’s released his faith again and again believing that the admission will come through but always coming short).
Below are the thoughts I shared with him…
 
Hi Beloved.
Apologies for just responding to your message.
 
Who am I to give you a verdict on this? ?
 
But let’s reason together on a few points:
 
1. Is Faith enough to bring about a miracle?
I think we both know the answer to that. Jesus did miracles where there was no faith involved (eg the man at the pool of Bethesda who when asked what he wanted kept telling stories), but again, there are miracles that did not become complete until the beneficiary had to do something (like the blind man who Jesus sent to wash his face in the pool of Siloam). So, yeah, miracles happen on either side of faith.
 
But…
 
2. What makes you think that it is a miracle that you need for your admission to come through?
I understand how desperately you’ve sought for this and worked for it in previous years without any headway but it still sounds to me like something that will happen when adequate preparation meets God’s favour. This is not to undermine your previous attempts but to charge you to refire harder at your next attempt. Great biographies are shaped in such crucibles as what you are going through.
3. What makes you think that you even need an admission/University education to become all that God intends for you to become?
I am a big proponent for getting educated to whatever level you can afford (or opportuned to). But again, I’m aware that God delights in making different melodies and painting different arts with the stories of our lives. Perhaps, there’s something else God wants to use this repeated rejection to point you to, but you’ll need to explore and process that under God. It’s not for me or anyone to say to you emphatically, but I thought to open up your horizon to that possibility.
 
In any case, your future is secure in Christ. The good thing is that you know Him already and He’s the one ordering your steps in His Will. Let Him do what He does best.
 
I understand that waiting can be painful especially when you practically see your colleagues leaving you behind (so to say), but you are not working by their clock.
 
At the end of the day, our times are in God’s hands and He makes all things beautiful in His own time.
 
It is well, my brother.
 
God’s got your back.
 
I shared these so we could find further convergence points in processing our respective disappointments in God. For example, the brother in Case 2 would do anything to be where the sister in Case 1 is. But they are both where God wants them to be.
 
Whatever may be your story, just remember that God’s not done with you, and the end of your story is glorious. That’s how He writes His stories. He can’t help it. It will always end in GLORY. Hang on.
 
I also found an old post which I will post next to further address the issue of repeated academic failures. I hope it helps.
 
May God revive His work in our lives. Amen.
 
#iRemember is a daily mentoring retrospective look at Chronicles of our past—my wife and I—drawing life lessons from past experiences. It is exclusive to members of Alive Mentorship Group—an online mentorship platform for young adults across the world that provides an avenue to learn practical life lessons across geographical barriers. If you will like to be a part, just click here and/or get added to the Telegram group here.

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