Have you ever been told “No”?
Of course you have. Everyone of us have been denied at one point or another. For me, being told “No” changed my life.
I have a brother who is two years older than me. Ever since I could walk, we have been inseparable. Naturally, when he began school when I was three, he taught me everything he learned. It helped him retain the stuff he learned by teaching me. Because of this, I could read, write and do math at a grade one level when I entered kindergarten. I was light-years ahead of my fellow peers. My parents fought with the school to get me moved up a grade. But the school wanted to keep me “age-appropriate,” stating that moving me up a grade would have negative social impacts.
Fast-Forward a year and a half and my brother began to have issues with a teacher who had a disregard for the success of his students. Long-story-short, my brother and I ended up being home-schooled, and without my peers holding me back, I did two years of schooling over the course of 10 months. The following September, my parents found a suitable school for my siblings and myself. Once again, my parents fought to move me up a grade- even getting the school district involved- but I was once again denied. No matter how much my parents fought with them, the school wouldn’t back down.
I spent the next couple of years in a walking state. Unchallenged mentally by school work, apathetic towards putting any effort in and indifferent to what people thought of me. I moved one day to the next. Its peculiar, I seem to be able to picture some memories of kindergarten and the time from when I was homeschooled, but anything from grades three to seven seems an insignificant blur. Not sure if there is any correlation, but I think it is kind of odd.
When I entered high school I was still in this passive state. There where complications with my timetable and I was placed in an over-full class. I was unable to get a seat in science and social studies. I was given the option to have a spare block to do the courses online. The thing about online courses is that they are almost entirely self-driven– in the sense that you can learn about what interests you. I soon began to realize than I really love science– and in particular– Chemistry. And more importantly, I was good at it; I slowly began to realize that I might have the ability to make a difference in the world.
Fast-Forward to now, I achieved the Top Student award last year for Chemistry 11. I have competed in the Thompson River University Chemistry contest when I placed in the top 10% in BC. And I am currently enrolled in AP Chemistry– where I have one of the highest marks in my class.
Even though I still hold some contempt for those people who told me “No,” I am able to see that without their rejection, I certainty would not be where I am today. And although it took me years to find my calling, I realize that there are reasons that we are opposed when we think that we have found the right path. What truly matters is how we adapt to situations where we are denied, and how we reevaluate and move on. This is a skill that I believe is invaluable, and because of being rejected, I believe it is now one of my strengths.
Nathan Van Rumpt