My Physics teacher in High School taught college before settling down to teach in our school. Formulae for different physical concepts were given to us in class and then sample problems were solved. Whatever we were unable to finish in school were given as reading assignment. The way that the subject was taught did not appeal to me and I saw this approach as a disinterest to teach us on the teacher’s part. This, coupled with the confusion I generally felt during our classes, caused me to become lazy in the subject. I was able to pass it, though I could have performed better had I tried harder.
When I went off to college, I brought with me my previous notions and attitudes about the subject that I struggled in my Physics 21 class. I took down notes in class and tried my best to understand the lesson but I never really bothered to answer any of the problem sets given to us because, like I was in high school, I was too lazy to. By the end of the semester, I found my name on the list of students who needed to take removal exams. This meant that I’d get a 3 on my class card (a passing grade) if I passed the test or a 5 (a failing grade) if I fail.
I had never failed a subject in my life so I was naturally anxious. The day of the exam, I went to school very early (the exam was scheduled at 3 PM but I was in school at 7 AM). I sat on the less frequented part of the hallways with all my notes and unanswered problem sets and did my best to absorb everything my professor had been teaching us in the semester in the remaining hours. The need to get a passing grade burned in my mind and I went through the different formulae for computing torque, velocity and everything else three times. My motivation to pass couldn’t have been more extrinsic that time. Finally, by the last hour, I was able to have a sort of “Eureka!” moment when everything clicked. Then it was time to take the test.
I remembered thinking to myself while taking the exam, “Why didn’t I try to read my notes before?” as I answered every word problem in the test. Needless to say, I passed! Though that was the only Physics subject I needed to take for my course (I shifted to Diliman after a year), I learned that not trying will most certainly cause you to fail. I was just thankful that I did have the sense to try and be rewarded for it. 🙂