Mompreneur Parenting Tips

How I Failed My Degree in My Dream University and What I’ve learned from it





I was barely 18 years old. My baccalaureate in the pocket, I experienced effervescency. I was so happy to be able to choose my university by my own. It was my first real choice! I hesitated for a long time between a Communication School to get a more technical diploma, the Journalism School or the study of Art History at the famous French university La Sorbonne.

Everything happened during the month of March preceding the baccalaureate which occured in June. In high school I had lots of friends. All were preparing to study at universities near their home. Many of them thought that less transport meant more time for homeworks.

I wanted to do something different! I decided to go to Paris every day and enrolled in the prestigious Sorbonne. I was proud to be accepted in this high place of knowledge.

I always wanted to do better than others and to get the best. When I was young, I was very focused on the physical side, the material aspect and the beautiful and glamourous things. I only dated blond, blue-eyed boys. I liked the flashy style. I had, in front of me, my perfect soul mate. But I missed him as you miss the bus on a rainy day, I didn’t see him, as I was launched at full speed in a race for success and success demonstrations…

I had not even inquired about the conditions for validating the famous exam!

I was proud to go to a college far away when others went close to home. I went to class and took a few notes ficklely. I had the feeling that I would only have to understand the courses and write a lot to pass my exams. I had not even inquired about the conditions for validating the famous exam.

In all the other Art Universities, there were regular exams. That was about ten grades by trimester. But at La Sorbonne in the section I was enrolled in, we had only two grades by year! A final exam whose topic could relate to any part of the program plus a language grade.

I finished my year with a 09/20 for having come across a subject that I had not studied that much: Medieval Art (It is at the same time quite funny because today I own a historical place! I bought a 14th century tower in which I offer unusual rentals). Barely time for a breath and my year of university was already over! One mark, only one by year!

I had chosen prestige and I was paying full price

Some of my friends, who were less good at learning than I was, had an easy year at a less reputable faculty that offered a more flexible grading system and more regular exams. I had chosen prestige and I was paying full price…

But that’s not all! At the beginning of the year we were 300 in the amphitheater. Halfway through the year there was about half left. What I didn’t know was that only 20 of us would have the chance to go to a second year! A drop of water in the ocean… In my small group of friends (a dozen people), no one got through to the second year! Nobody wanted to repeat and try again because we all knew some repeaters who had not yet obtained the precious second year…

All of them were looking for a new start in other studies, totally disappointed with this elitist university which allowed itself to offer a grading system with so few marks per year!

I had made revision sheets, spent time studying outside of class hours. I didn’t feel like I screwed up. Everything happened very quickly like in a bad dream. The group, the girlfriends, the beauty of the place, the fun, the university atmosphere, the campus and then everything stopped in one minute for all of us! A huge disappointment! I spent a mixed summer in the USA, filled with the hope of having a kind of revelation there. This hope God would tell me what to do, which way to go now. But nothing happened. So I enrolled in a classic course in Advertising and Communication. I resumed the year on the hats of wheels. Ready to do anything to succeed. In fact, the failure of La Sorbonne had made me a perfectionist. I got my degree in advertising within two years. I was the top of my prom. My file was impeccable. I even excelled in math where I got a 16/20, what was absolutly unthinkable before…

But this adventure forced me to have shorter studies than I thought. After a technical degree, it was very hard to go back to university in France. It wasn’t until I was 27 that I went back there for a much more demanding course: Theology.

One more time I was the best of my prom. My average in Biblical Hebrew was… 20/20! What else?

I learned a huge lesson the year I failed at university: you should never choose a direction or build an emotional bond on appearances…

I learned a huge lesson the year I failed at university: you should never choose a direction or build an emotional bond on appearances. As I had in front of me my soulmate without seeing him for years (probably because he was not fashionable enough for me…), I also had the easy university where I could have excelled. But I chose complexity…

I would like to add that if I had gone to the local college I would have continued to hang out with my high school friends. That’s what other people did. For my part I suddenly lost everything, my studies and my old friends, to quench my thirst for prestige… Error or lesson? Horror or new life benchmark for the following?

Today I only opt for simplicity. I have never really stopped my studies because my job as a therapist requires constant updates. I am passionate about my profession, which is very humanizing, but if I know people so well and enjoy working with them, it’s probably because I have studied Communication (and also psychology) instead of Arts. I’m not sure knowing how to handle a shovel and a brush in medieval ruins or knowing by heart the dimensions of the eardrums of a neo-Romanesque church is something that helps people…

If I could turn back time, I would choose simple things

Today I’m not sure that Art studies would have taken me so far. I might have worked in a museum. I would have been an assistant archaeologist, an archaeologist at best. This was not compatible with my family life and what I place at the center of my life: love of the living and respect for the dead. I am a very spiritual person who believes that death does not really exist. Consciousness survives. It is one of the bases of my existence. Move and Evolution. Love is what we should share more than status or work. The end of a state or the end of a person’s life always teaches us a lesson. Life is short. Let’s love, help, laugh, appreciate the good times, create the good memories…

If I could start this stage of my life over again, I would marry my first soul mate, such a cheerful, easy-going boy, and go to the college next door (It took me 15 years to find the right husband and 20 to find the good job). I would also remove the subway, the wait, the costs, the ego, the glitters…

This failure has been a new life lesson to me. My inability to pass this final and unique exam in my dream university allowed me to have a complex relationship with studies and therefore to do it all my life! Perhaps to prove to myself that failure was far behind. Today I feel more cultured than most people I meet and they question me a lot when they have an important decision to make. This is something to take into account in the balance sheet. Becoming an example of success when yourself have gone through failures, that’s something huge (and also fragile). Let’s learn the right lessons without judging. The things that must be are! Doors that close open others. This is perhaps what should be remembered from this adventure.

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