I am really happy to announce that my little brother and cousin passed their WAEC exams! Yay! Time does fly by. I remember getting my WAEC results about 13 years ago. The mix of joy and disappointment at my grades are still fresh in my mind. I remember being told to shelve the disappointment away and be grateful for my result. Now, the results for this year are out and I find myself wondering how other students are processing their results.
I have a really high regard for the Secondary School Leaving Exams, particularly for WAEC which is the predominant admissions requirement in Nigeria. Among other reasons, I feel like ‘WAEC’, as we call it, is a fair test of attributes that are necessary for a successful life, such as discipline, consistency, endurance and resilience. In going through these old feelings, I realised a few things:
Failure is not the end of the world
That said, failing at WAEC is not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean the student who fails is less valuable than others or lacking in perseverance. It could be as a result of a combination of factors including but not limited to struggles with conventional teaching and learning methods. Lack of confidence may also play a role. Thankfully, there are many available resources to handle such issues.
Regardless of the reason, failure is a great learning opportunity if it is well understood and utilised. In addition to other valuable lessons, the student learns the value of discipline first hand. This is a major and invaluable lesson to learn at a young age, especially because there is less collateral damage without being responsible for others yet.
It’s not over until you win!
If you are a student who passed your WAEC, or a parent/guardian whose child/ward passed WAEC, congratulations to you and yours. If you or yours did not quite make it or perform up to your expectations, please take it easy and be kind. It is tough, but it is not over. I say this as someone who has had her fair share of failure.
If you are an adult, seize the opportunity to teach your child/ward that life is bigger than failure. Show them that you don’t think less of them, and that they are precious to you no matter what. Then give them your support as they build resilience. Naturally, this should push them to try again. They will need it, and in the years to come, they will be immensely grateful for it.
If you are a young student, don’t be discouraged. You are not dumb and you are not useless. Everyone has experienced or will experience failure at some point in their lives, academically or otherwise. What matters is how you learn from the experience, and how you apply the lessons learned in your future endeavours. With the right attitude, you will look back on this time and laugh as you celebrate more wins and successes.