Around second year in college (2002), I discovered that some of my professors were giving me a separate set of exams.
It was totally different from the exams they were giving to my classmates.
I only knew about it when one of my professors took back the test papers he handed over to me.
When my professor handed over a new set of papers, I immediately recognized that it was totally different from the previous set.
Ten minutes later, I was still stuck working on equation # 3.
It frustrated me maybe because I had points for comparison already.
I saw the questions in the first set.
Comparing the questions in the second set, I could tell that the problems in the second set were crazy difficult.
In my frustration, I stood up and approached my professor in front of his desk.
I gently asked, “Sir, I hope you don’t mind. May I confirm if this is really my test paper? I saw the questions in the first set of papers. We discussed those topics in the class, but not the questions in the second set of papers. I have an idea about those topics but that’s only because I managed to study in advance, and I am not sure if I understood correctly what I self-studied. I was just thinking maybe you mistakenly handed over to me the test papers for the finals. Would you mind checking if I got the right test papers, Sir?”
My professor stood up, approached the door, and said, “Come.”
“Did I say something wrong, Sir? I’m sorry,” I proactively uttered as soon as I stepped outside the door.
“No, no, no,” he said. “You didn’t say anything wrong. Listen. Some of us at the faculty, with the approval of the Dean, have agreed that we will give you a separate set of exams.
Confused, I asked, “But why, Sir?”
“We would like to see how far you can go,” my professor said seriously while repeatedly nodding his head.
More confused than before, I only said two words, “Okay, Sir.”
“Okay, then. You may now go back to your seat,” he said.
The frustration started to sync in a few minutes after the exams.
I was like, “This is unfair. Why would they do that? Am I being set up to lose my scholarship? Is this a prank? I’ve never heard of anything like this.”
Restless about what just happened, I went to the Faculty Lounge to talk to my professor.
He was checking papers.
“Excuse me, Sir. May I talk to you for a minute or two?” I asked.
“Sure. What about?” he replied.
“Sir, it’s about the exams. Forgive my honest opinion, but it sorts of feel weird to have a more difficult test than the rest. We’re attending the same class. Sir, why do I need to have a different set of exams?” I politely asked.
He answered my question with a question, too, “What did I tell you when you asked me the same question a while back?”
“You wanted to see how far I could go?” I asked hesitantly.
“Sharp memory!” he said.
“Jaycee, did you watch Spider-Man already?” he asked.
Without understanding the relevance of his question with my concern, I replied, “Yes, Sir. Why, Sir?”
“Fill in the blank. ‘With great ____, comes great responsibility.'” he said.
Now, even more confused, I responded, “Power?”
“That’s right. Jaycee, we want to see if you can teach difficult IT subjects right after graduation two years from now. Now, I’m sorry to cut this short, but I have another class in 2 minutes,” he said.
What I heard was supposed to be an ego-booster.
But being “different”, I wasn’t having it.
Instead of leaving the Faculty Lounge with a smile from ear to ear, I left with a furrowed brow. I couldn’t reconcile what I just heard. All I knew is that it was unfair.
It took several years for the morale of the story to sync in.
When I worked in the corporate world as a rank-and-file employee, my supervisor gave me responsibilities bigger than my colleagues’.
I’ve learned in life that if you will keep on asking for and expecting the exact same responsibilities that are given to everyone around you, you will never go far in life.
You need to be stretched. You need to consciously want to be stretched.
In life, you can choose your battles. Sometimes, the battle chooses you.
What are you going to do when you receive a challenge that feels like it’s more than what you can bear?
What are you going to do when life gives you something that feels unfair?
Remember, those who can do more are given more.
When you’re being prepared for a promotion, doesn’t your boss give you more and heavier responsibilities than your colleagues?
Preparation comes before the promotion.
There are many times in life when “preparations” are left and right and they look like pranks more than preparations for a promotion.
Today, whenever I face a more challenging situation, I choose to believe that I am about to be “promoted”.
There are times that it’s still difficult to choose to believe that way.
But, so far, God has never failed to turn my furrowed brow into an ear-to-ear smile when He starts to help me connect the dots between the “preparation” and the “promotion”.
I’m telling you, sheer intellect doesn’t make you complete. Only God can complete you.
Trust yourself just like how God trusts you.
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