Many people fear taking risks, especially when there is something to lose. This goes on to become a hindrance in developing an ability that could have helped us positively in our lives. I could have been grouped into that category of people if not for my Literature teacher in secondary school. I was always that student in class that rarely spoke up and participated in sharing the work I had done in front of my class. In my second year in secondary school, we had to pick our subjects for our GCE O levels examinations.
At that point in my life, being only fourteen, I was not really sure of which subjects were my strengths and which subjects were my weaknesses. I was offered Literature as a full subject and I was extremely terrified because Literature was a subject that I had little knowledge about. Seniors had warned us about how the subject was extremely tough to score in and it was also a subject that could not really be studied for unlike Math or Chemistry. I was lost and confused.
I did not want to take up a subject that I had doubted my ability in and especially not for a major examination like the GCE O levels. I consulted my literature teacher in my school and till today, that consultation will always be a memorable one, which is very close to my heart. Just like most teachers out there, he was very encouraging and optimistic during my consultation with him about taking up Literature. I discussed my fears with him. They ranged from not doing well in the subject to the results affecting where I was going to apply after my GCE O levels examinations.
He told me to take a chance. His exact words were, “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. ” and he looked at me with a wide grin on his face. I looked at him feeling reassured and inspired simultaneously. He went on to reiterate what he had just quoted by saying “Look Kiran, Literature is a subject that encourages you to express and explain your thoughts. It could help you mature as a person and look at issues with different perspectives. ” I was definitely persuaded into doing Literature and it was also a plus point that I enjoyed reading and writing.
Literature was a very different subject from the common subjects we took in school like Math and Science which were given more emphasis in school. Humanities subjects like Geography, History and Literature were usually given secondary priority. I was not very fond of Math and Science and put great thought into taking Literature as a subject. Eventually, I told my Literature teacher that I was going to take a chance by doing Literature as a subject. I was thrilled yet nervous. The worst of my fears of taking up Literature came true in my first semester.
I failed my first Literature test. I felt defeated and once again I felt lost. I really did not know what had gone wrong. My teacher sat me down after school one day and told me that I was too rigid in my essay writing. He felt that I should be more expressive instead of being too specific. Many of my peers were also facing the same problem as me. There were only twelve of us in that Literature class so we decided to help each other out by getting into pairs and analyzing the text we were studying in class.
This was an effective way of studying as we learnt different ways of understanding the text and expressing our thoughts in a freer manner. My essay writing improved over a span of a few months due to my persistent efforts. I became less rigid in my writing and expressed my thoughts in a better way. My grade in Literature improved from an F to a B within a year. It was really comforting to see the progress I made in the subject. Not only did I improve in the subject; I also felt that I had matured as a person. I started to become more sensitive towards issues occurring around me.
I started to think deeper and question why certain things happened a certain way. Previously, I never used to see the bigger picture whenever something happened in my life. I used to be selfish and only think about how one thing would be only to my advantage. Basically, I was the epitome of a narcissist. However, by taking Literature, I changed so much as a person. People who spoke to me on a daily basis also saw the change in me. I had become less selfish and I started showing more concern towards the people around me.
It never occurred to me that a subject like Literature could change me positively as a person. My teacher also saw the positive change not only in me but also in my writing, which delighted him greatly. In the end, for my GCE O levels examination, I scored a distinction for Literature. I was shocked but contented with my grade for Literature. After all, “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. ” I took a chance by trying out something that I was unsure about. I had grown to be a better person while achieving success just by simply taking a chance.