WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER by Bridget, Tunisia

They say that time heals all scars, but I believe that time only makes the pain feel a bit less painful. However, the scar will always be hidden somewhere in your heart, and you will only notice it when an event or a memory triggers it. This is what I learned during the summer of 2015.

Before starting, I should paint you the landscape of my life, so you can understand the following words. In Tunisia, you finish your last year of high school with a national exam called  baccalauréat. This review is pretty much a huge factor in deciding your future, your career and even the field you want to study later on. You prepare for it during your whole last year of high school, and it is a pretty big deal. After all, it is the fruit of all of your previous years of hard work.  I am a good student and I always am the first or second of my class getting very high marks and working hard to reach my dream. That dream is to be an astronaut. It has been with me since I learned how to write and read . Being an astronaut is the reason I breathe every day, and I surely did my best to get there. This exam was going to decide that. I needed a magnificent score to study aerospace and astrophysics abroad. Unfortunately, these majors are not even offered in Tunisia!

I can still feel every minute of that day, and it has been more than a year now. We get the results by a text message on the phone which quite honestly I think is the worst way to deliver such news. Anyway, it was a scalding summer day, in June to be precise. I remember looking at the clock and seeing 9 am; I was in my bedroom. I held the phone in my hand with a shaking rhythm and I was in a very worried mindset. My mum kept calling me every fifteen minutes and was  even more worried than I was.

Every bone in my body felt exhausted; I could not move or even describe how stressed I was! I knew that this was the moment, this was the day that will change my life forever. More than an hour passed , and I was still sitting on my bed not being able to move. I can recall my heart racing so fast that day it still hurts my chest when I think about it. I was feeling like there was a tornado inside me. A few minutes later, the text message came. I heard the ring of the phone, but I could not open it. How can you face the moment that will change your destiny? How can you deal with such fact knowing that a minute from now, life as you know is never the same?


I said to myself  “Oh Lord, don’t let me down,” and I opened the text message. That moment, and even if it is not possible, I am 100% sure that my heart stopped for a brief second. I fell on the ground sobbing, and yelled out to my mum. She did not hear me, so I had to pick myself up and tell her my scores. I picked myself up and dragged my legs to go downstairs.“It is four points lower than what we have expected”  I said to her, as I gave her the phone and went upstairs. I have no idea what my mum did at that point, but I know I closed the door of my room and went to my bed. I did not react at first; I stopped crying, and I just stared at the ceiling. I was in a shock, I could not move.

Then suddenly I started crying again. How can you work so hard for something, and be good enough but yet get such disappointing  results? I thought that there was a mistake, those cannot possibly be my marks. That is NO WAY it was possible. My heart was burning. I threw up two times that day, and every time I looked at my Neil Armstrong’s Poster hanging on my wall, I cried even more. I even had trouble breathing, it felt like my heart was breaking into millions of pieces.

The world ended briefly at that moment, time stopped, and all I could feel was my chest being ripped open, and  my dreams saying goodbye. My mum came in but I refused to talk to her, I refused to talk to everyone. My teachers kept calling me in shock and refused to believe the score as well, but I did not answer them either. I could not face reality. The only thing which made me stop crying was seeing my sister bursting into tears because of the state I was in. The rest of the day was a living hell. 

They kept saying that even if it was not as good as I wanted, I will succeed in another career. I do not see it as a minor success now; I see it as a downfall before my big achievement. I see it as a strengthening point in my life. What I learned  most out of this experience is that life is harsh, sometimes it is unfair and often it is very likely that you do not get what you hope for no matter how much you work for it.

What I learned  and hopefully will inspire other people as well, is that life is all about trying again and again, handling the obstacles, facing hardships, and becoming  stronger after those types of experiences. If you want something bad enough, then you must be ready to obtain it at any price! This disappointment made  me understand that I must try again and again because that is how, at least, I can say I tried! There is a beautiful quote which says “Everybody wants happiness, nobody wants pain, but you cannot have the rainbow without a little rain.” This quote  sums it all up!

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