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Embracing Challenges in College: Lessons for Success

Jul 12, 2023 | 0 comments

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Jul 12, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

Challenges or failures are part of life and they do contribute to one’s success. No one embraces failure, but the good thing about it is that there are always lessons to be picked from one challenge to another. A quote by Henry Ford says “Failure is an opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently”. From this quote we can clearly see how a challenge can be a stepping stone to success. Obstacles in life are for everyone, college students not exempted. I will share my experience of how I encountered challenges, its effect on my life and the lessons I learnt that make me a better person.


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When a person joins college from high school, young and ambitious, there are certain expectations from parents, society and even yourself. Many students expect a relief in terms of studies work load. I remember our academic master in high school telling us to work hard in high school and obtain good grades to join college and that the rest is a walk over. As young people such phrases or advises stick to our heads, little did I know that he was just telling us so that we can work extra harder.

We started our classes on the second week after admission. As an ambitious young person ready to make a mark on this world, I could not wait to start acquiring knowledge, I was so excited. First of all, what caught my attention was the number credit or units that I was supposed to undertake per semester and the reading spiritual and vocational books, praying and mediating early mornings. Upon realization of my true calling, God sent Holy Cross Sister whom I felt attracted to and felt very content to be covered. It was nothing close to what we did in high school. In the back of my mind I convinced myself that all was well and there was nothing to worry about.

Here came the timetable, the classes were so close together, there was very little time to rest between classes. I never missed a class and sacrificed my resting time and even during the weekends to do my studies. I made good use of the college facilities such as the library and the computer laboratory to do my research work. We formed groups that we assisted each other where we had any difficulty. By then I had realized how different it was in terms of content delivery by the lecturers compared to high school. They gave us about 25% of information only and the rest was up to us and on top of that their availability for enquiries was wanting.

After the first month in college, I was starting to lose hope of being one of the top performers in class. I started having difficulty in mastering content in some of the units due to the pressure I had. We undertook our first Continuous Assessment Test and when the results came I was so disappointed, I mostly scored Cs and Ds contrary to my expectation. All was not lost I continued studying hard with the hope of doing better in my final exams. This time I did not even have time for any other activities even sports or social events; my mind was buried in books. After the exams when the exams came I had performed poorly than the previous time. This came as a surprise, I did not expect this, it felt like a big blow on my face.

As days and weeks went by, I started eating less hence looking thinner, could not get enough sleep so I always looked tired, I could sometimes sleep in class in the middle of a lecture. I hardly talked to anyone; I completely withdrew from social life. Avoiding my friends with the excuse that I was studying spending all my evenings and weekends in the library. I could not get myself to understand why I was struggling while others were easily scoring As. I felt worthless and could cry myself to sleep every night.

One of my roommates noticed my change of personality, how unusually quite I became and informed the college counseling service director who approached me. I opened up about my feelings and what I was going through. I went for therapy twice a week until I started feeling better. I was shown a different approach to studies and the strategies I can put across for better performance.

I could not let what I went through define me; I collected myself and faced my challenges head on. I put into use the counseling I got and within no time I was back to my old self. This experience taught me a number of lessons that are contributing to my stability and wellbeing here in school. First of all, there should be a balance when setting goals in life. They should be realistic, attainable and according to our ability. Secondly, we should learn to always take one step at a time and never allow pressure to veer us from the path of success. Lastly, do not let one failure in life lead you to your downfall and give up instead let a challenge be an eye opener for a better tomorrow. I conclude with a quote by Robert F. Kennedy that says “only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly”.

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