Sunday, September 20, 2015

Life Lessons: Learning From Mistakes

Yesterday, I was supposed to take the TOEFL exam. I've already registered last August, paid the $200 testing fee, reviewed for some time, booked a hotel for my overnight stay before the exam. Essentially, I was prepared. Or so I thought.

On the day of the test, as I was undergoing the usual checking of identification, the person in-charge told me that my passport was invalid (I renewed my passport two weeks ago, the old one was punched with holes already, the new one hasn't arrived yet) so she then asked me to present two government issued IDs. I gave her my UM-ID and she accepted it. However, my employee ID wasn't accepted and I don't have any more gov't issued IDs at hand. She then told me to just contact the ETS. In short, I wasn't able to take the test.

Numb. Lost for words. Unbelief. Those were the things that I felt. All along I was just thinking of the problems I would encounter in the test  - whether I would be able to answer correctly and completely in the different sections. But I wasn't prepared for what had just happened. Had I known that they were that strict, I would have done things differently. I should have not let the officer punched holes in my passport. Or maybe I should not have renewed my passport at all. I should have made sure I have all the other government issued IDs. I should have done this. I should have done that.

I went back to the hotel feeling defeated, disappointed with myself. I should have done a number of things but I haven't. It all boils down to me being so irresponsible. At that point in time, I just simply hate myself. I even felt that maybe studying in the US is not meant for me.

After sending an email to ETS, I called a number of people (two of my friends and my mom) because I just can't sit there the whole time, hating myself, sulking at what had just happened. I can't just take it all in. I need to let it out. And I'm thankful the people I talked to are so understanding, especially my mom. My mom has always been there for me. She has always supported me with my decisions. And with what happened, I felt like I've not only disappointed myself, I also let her down. But instead of blaming me, she told me that I should take it as a lesson and to not give up on my dreams. And in that moment, I know I'm the luckiest daughter to have a mother like her. I'm just so grateful to have a strong support system with my family and friends.

After that, I went to the lounge area in the 7th floor. It's a veranda where you can just sit and relax. The area is peaceful and very calming. And it's perfect to let all my emotions out. I sat there, staring at the vast open space, listening to some music, with tears falling from my eyes. Good thing there's nobody there (because what would they think of me? That I'm a drama queen?). Well, it's just nice to be there. I was able to clear my thoughts and kind of forgive myself.
the veranda that has witnessed my emo moment

Life is really full of surprises. There are times when things would not go as planned. There are times when you blame yourself. There are times when you hate yourself. But these are also the times you learn from your mistakes and realize the people who value and support you. And I just learned my lesson the hard the expense of my forfeited $200 testing fee. But as what my mom told me, it's just money. I can still have it back. What's important is that next time, I would come to the testing center prepared (prepared with all the requirements and IDs in particular).

At the end of the day, I may feel defeated but I will definitely go on and carry on.

When life gives you lemons, you get to learn to make lemonades. =)

P.S. I will see you again TOEFL! I will see you and I will conquer you!

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