Complacency can crush you – a TRUE story

This happened more than 7 years ago.

That year, among my group of secondary 4 students, I had one student from a neighbourhood school and another one from a top school, Hwa Chong Institution (HCI).  Due to some reasons, the Hwa Chong boy was in the O-level track instead of the Integrated Programme (IP).

The female student from Hougang Secondary was especially weak but she was assiduous and kept trying.  All she wanted was a reasonable pass for English in order to get into her desired course in Polytechnic.  She had been getting either Ds and Cs in her exams…  Despite her weakness, I had full faith in her because she tried really hard, diligently remembering and applying what had been taught.

Unsurprisingly, the HCI boy was a much stronger student; consistently getting Bs and even As.  Perhaps he was aware of that too and became rather complacent.  Despite repeated reminders never to be over-confident, it was inutile.  Looking at both the boy and girl, you could see a marked difference in attitude.

When the O level results were released, the HCI boy was the first to call.  He was crushed that he got a C5.  I was blindsided but was not totally unprepared.  The female student didn’t call me sooner & I was getting anxious.  At the back of my mind, if the HCI boy had gotten a C5, what about her…

Finally she called, and couldn’t stop sobbing.  Oh dear, my heart sank!  I comforted her and her told she had done her best and that was the most important.  I wanted her to stop crying already and tell me how she had fared.  An A2!!!  She cried because never in her wildest dream she would get a distinction for English. I can understand – coming from a weak student.

The moral of the story, it doesn’t matter if you are weak.  Keep trying and surely you will get there one day.  And to those who are complacent – it’s only a matter of time failure will come knocking.