After final marks were released…


“Hey, how come you look so tired today?”

“Eh?” Startled, I turned to my friend, who was wearing a rather concerned frown on her face.

Well, this just won’t do. It’s one thing to know deep down that you’re in ten kinds of trouble, but quite another to know that everyone around you are starting to notice it as well. Better start pull myself together then. After all, all I got to do is blot out the memory of seeing the results of that final exam and focus on the new semester, easy as pie, right?

“It’s nothing, I’m alright.” I said as nonchalantly as I could, though judging by the that concerned expression on her face, I suppose I wasn’t exactly convincing.

Sighing deeply, I finally admitted with some reluctance.“Fine, I got flattened on that last final exam.” Even saying this much took more effort than I expected. “That last final was fiendishly difficult – one of worst I’ve the misfortune to write as an undergrad”.

“But…” My friend trailed off, apparently about the saying something but thought better of it at the last second.

“Just say it.” I sighed impatiently. “I’ve already been traumatized from seeing my posted grade, whatever you were going to say can’t be worse than that.”

“Well…” She gave me a doubtful look. But under my insistent glance, she had little choice but to go on, “it’s just that are you sure we’re talking about the same exam? Because I thought it was alright, you know, as far as finals go.”

Ouch. And here I thought my mood couldn’t sour anymore.

I gave her an incredulous look, although my poor friend had done little to deserve it. Then I turned towards the window with what I hoped was an air of affronted dignity. The uncomfortable silence stretch on, but I was too busy staring outside and brooding in my own dark thoughts to break the silence.

I had admitted my stark defeat on that final exam desperately hoping to find a comrade to commiserate with, but it seems that hope was now nothing but cinder and ashes.

I can feel the dark corner of my mind sneering at myself; after all, if not for my academic abilities and grades, what do I have left? I messed up the course, which might mean I messed up my GPA, which is about as bad as I’ve just messed up my future… really now, for the one time I couldn’t afford to make mistakes, why did I just have to go ahead and mess up my last four years of hard work?

Disappointment at my lackluster academic performance, helplessness at my inability to do better, and fear at a future that is becoming increasingly more uncertain. They all whirled around and around in my mind like the howling wind, and I lost myself in the midst of this turmoil of bitterness and frustration.

I sighed heavily and finally tuned back to reality. I slowly looked around me, half expecting my friend to be gone by now. (Really, well done, not only did I managed to mess up the grades, now my I was turning my friends away too.) But to my surprise she was still there, with the same concerned expression on her face.

“Well, if you’re done brooding now, care to grab bag of chips with me?” She asked lightly.

I couldn’t help but feel the corners of my mouth tugging up. Chips are one of my greatest weaknesses, and we both knew it.

So we walked outside together, side-by-side. The weather was unusually warm considering it’s January, and feeling the rays of sunlight warming against my face, I realized my life wasn’t too bad; after all, at the end of the day, there are much more precious things in life than grades.


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