Overcoming Obstacles

Getting out of our own way

It was my first year in Engineering School and the first semester was rapidly coming to an end. I was not looking forward to finals. My most important course was Mechanics of Materials, a basic Civil Engineering course that I did not really understand. I stayed up late the night before the final, studied as much as I could and prepared for the worst, hoping for a passing grade.

The grades were posted within a couple of days. As I checked the grade list a big F jumped out next to my name. I froze, what was I to do? My first call was to my advisor who happened to be the instructor for my class. I knew him and was hoping that he would be sympathetic. We had a meeting about my grade the next day. After I told him that I was sick the day of the final and wanted a retest, he just about threw me out of his office. I still can hear his last words as I walked down the hallway. “Take the course over next semester.”

I didn’t sleep much that night. I was up formulating a set of plans hopefully leading to a retest. I just could not accept a failed grade in my core program.

Early the next morning I posted myself outside my professor’s office and started following him around as he went about his business. Needless to say he was very annoyed and my pleading for a retest was just fanning the flames. In order to add a little bit more to my pleading, I acted as if I was still sick constantly blowing my nose. I even called him at his house one evening begging for a retest.

Finally he gave in and agreed to the retest. I had two days in which to bring my studies up to par. Realizing that I was in a tough spot, I recruited my fraternity brother to tutor me. With his help I scored a B+ on the retest. My professor could not believe it, and really did throw me out of his office when I requested he raise my F grade to B+. He gave me a C in the course.

After this episode I really did contract the flu and spent the next couple of days in bed pondering the situation I had gotten myself into.

We all have mountains to climb and obstacles to face. It is the way we view these impediments that shapes our lives. It was many years before I was even able to realize that I was my own worst enemy. I always got into my own way. For me this was a spiritual awakening. Thru awareness and long practice my ego gradually faded into the past and left me with the proper tools to navigate the present. With proper insight I could have studied with my fraternity brother before I took the original final and saved myself all that agony.

Practice calming the mind thru a modality similar to meditation or Tai Chi. Gradually you will be drawn inward and your path will be revealed.