From an Honor Student in High School to an Average Student in Engineering

Disclaimer: This is rehashed from an article I wrote in February 2016 for GineersNow. Some parts are added or edited for clarity.

I stepped into engineering school with a solid grasp that I will conquer every subject that I will be dealing with. I came in with a conviction that I will get out of the university with flying colors, just like how I ended my high school being the class valedictorian. But as the first few weeks of my first semester came by, I was startled.

In the hundreds of engineering freshmen with me, there were many valedictorians, salutatorians, and honor students that I have met coming from different high schools. Basically, the college I enrolled in was a congregation of brilliant but still raw minds.

In every engineering class I was in, many others were always better performing than I am. Many others were smarter than I am. Many others were the teachers’ apples of the eye. I failed to level with them because, apparently, I was not good enough.

There were a couple of times that I had the chance to prove myself in class that I belong to the ranks of the honor students, or in the dean’s list; but sadly, I didn’t deliver. The toughness of the civil engineering course may be a factor; but mostly, it depended on my capacity.

I felt that my star already lost its spark. My insecurity had swallowed me whole. I was one of the better students in my high school and it all changed when I pursued engineering. I was just a regular engineering freshman. That was a bitter pill to swallow for me.

It took me the whole first semester to find out what was wrong with the way I was thinking: I had a complex that was hungry for attention; I felt a longing to be noticed by others.  As soon as I realized that, I took it out of my system as it was toxic to my studies and my life. All I did then was study engineering one semester at a time; I carried on, still with the conviction that I will become a civil engineer someday.

I failed in my exams and quizzes once in a while like regular students do. But I aced some of them too, although it only happened on a few episodes. Needless to say, I was inconsistent.

Somehow, I finished my civil engineering course in the minimum time possible.  I was able to survive the wrath of engineering with that critical shift of perspective when I was a freshman. I walked through my commencement exercise with the confidence of an honor student but minus the honor.

Now, I’m a licensed civil engineer. Looking back to my engineering freshman crisis, I came to realize a golden lesson that I will cherish in my lifetime: in engineering, or in any part of life, I do not need to be the best – what’s important is I am doing my best, and that’s more than enough.

12 thoughts on “From an Honor Student in High School to an Average Student in Engineering”

  1. Bro, i think you’re from cpu & i’m from wit wherein ce is very tough course. In college, I’m just contented in getting 3’s especially in major subjects. But what i’m proud of was i stopped for 1 semester due to financial problem but still i graduated in 5years with just 2 summers and no drops or failures. Taking the board exam in 4times before i passed. My secret is i never give up and the rest is history. Hehe

  2. i’m very related to this story because i’m a valedictorian student in senior high and honor student since elementary until but when i am now in college life it’s to hard specially the course i enrolled which is civil engineering. i expect that i’m will do the same but what i see is very complicated, i promise to myself that i will do my best what ever happened because i realize that there’s no perfect person, we are encountered any struggles but we are doing everything to overcome it. it is sad for me to know that from the top 1 i failed to this level now😥😥 i’m very disapointed that i’m always now for the average😥but i’m thankful for the blessings that i’m recieving everyday💕

  3. This is also what I am being anxious for. I am an incoming freshman this SY 2020-2021. I am afraid that I’m not going to have a good performance, to make my family proud of, especially that I am taking an engineering course I am not passionate into. 🙁

  4. Yeah indeed, I experience this now. It comes to a point that 3.0 is already my happiness like what 75 I didn’t experience this in high school. It is still worth it even though the subjects are hard. I think our knowledge really matters on how studious student we are. Just spend a lot of time in solving, it will help enhance and master your brain and solving skills.

  5. Failed 4 subjects in total and had to repeat 1 subject more than once. Still graduated within 5 years in engineering (plus 1 year, shiftee from accountancy). Sometimes it’s not about what’s going on around you but how much you long for something, that future, that license. Setting priorities and making decisions based on them. Fall down twice get up thrice, do what you have to do.

  6. Hi.

    I’m a second year CE student and I am experiencing like what you’ve experienced. I agree with you, being in the middle is definitely hard because you will always doubt your capabilities, yourself. Also, the urge of proving yourself to others is there until it frustrates you and lose all of your confidence, but I’ve realized that there’s nothing wrong being an average student. Although, the struggle is there but you don’t have to be trying hard if in the end you will lose yourself. Instead of proving yourself to others, improve what you can do. For me, a key to every success is the willingness to learn and accept temporary loss. I’ve learned that just this now and it such a relief. I feel less inferior now. You don’t need to be in the top to feel that kind of ‘ecstasy’. Being in the middle is enough as long as your doing your very best!

  7. Freshmen here computer engineering student🙂 daming matatalino sa section Namin while ako kaylangan pang mag mag aral every night tas iniintindi Kung bakit ganun Yung answer sa exam Namin last time sa calculus hays

  8. I never believed in being at the top of the class… from grade school to graduate school… but I believed in being smart… & I’d rather be smart in life…

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