Refuse to stay down, stand up to succeed

Eric Arumugam

The famous actress Mary Pickford once said, “You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” This past semester I had to come to terms with that since I was placed on academic suspension.

Failure is hard to deal with for anyone, but in my case, I was devastated. A series of unfortunate events led me to screw up big time, and I felt helpless for awhile. All I ever wanted was to work hard and succeed, but I didn’t do enough when I felt like I put in my all.

I felt a heavy amount of stress worrying about what I should do next, what my friends and family thought and if I’d be able to come back to school. There were a lot of thoughts and emotions I had to deal with that I was not prepared for at all.

Thoughts such as, “do I take the whole year off in attempts to recuperate, work and save up, but potentially never go back to school?” and “do I push myself to come back full force as soon as possible and ready to get my degree?” entered my mind, but I knew what I had to do.

I obviously chose the latter. Being a first-generation college student, I had a lot placed on my shoulders to succeed after all the sacrifices my parents had made to raise me in the U.S.

After an all-to-real conversation with my parents about my situation, I told myself I was done being passive and decided to take charge of my life. I was ready to push myself to succeed when I realized that pitying myself would never get me to the places I wanted to go.

I readied myself to make sacrifices and develop habits that will ensure that I don’t land in the same situation again. I know what I want in life, and I know that my education is the answer. My girlfriend, my best friends and my family all supported me in my personal struggle to get back into school and fight for a better future for myself.

As the spring semester creeps closer, I look back at the past few months to what I believe to be a crucible. I had gone through one of the toughest events of my life and came out okay. I’ve learned the necessary lessons for me to get (and also keep) my act together. Of course things aren’t going to get easier from here on out, but I stand prepared for anything that comes next.

Ultimately, my message to anyone who fails is this: whether it be a test, class or even anything outside of school, it will only be a failure if you don’t try to pick yourself up again.

Eric Arumugam is a former student.

Comments

  1. Chloe Phillips says:

    Thank you for writing this, Eric! I really needed to see this.