Studying for the Knowledge or for the Degree?

Ever since I started studying, my father used to tell me, Son, you should study for the knowledge not the degree and always depend on yourself in getting the knowledge the best way you can. I wasn’t a straight A’s student but I tried my best and became a B student. I remember when I was in high school, our math teacher used to give us below the minimum requirement at school so we go and take private lessons at his house with ridiculous amount of money. So, I went to my father and told him, “Dad, listen I need some money so I can take the private lessons and enhance my overall performance as math had a big impact on the overall score” and he replied, “I’d rather have you as a D student with your own effort, than an A student with the help of others”. Back then, it seemed like that was the best excuse for me to not get a good score. But then I said to myself, why would my father say such thing in a very important phase in my life? It was that point when I decided that I take this as a challenge and show my father that I can depend on myself and achieve the best score I can. During the final exams, I’ve done pretty well, in fact, I scored the highest marks in all subjects except two; Math and Arabic. These two subjects were weighted heavily on the overall score and that’s why I go a B+. It was then I realized that my potentials are very high only if I believe in myself and perform accordingly. I took this mentality and applied it in College, however, it was a different system and there were a multiple variables that were unclear to me in the beginning. I was an A student in the first year and it was great. However, in the second year, one of the final exams I received a zero out of a hundred because somebody was cheating from me! The instructor didn’t inform me of that during the exam, but after a week when we received the papers. Despite all my efforts to convince them that I was not an accomplice in this situation, they just didn’t care. Anyways, I learned a hard lesson that day that no matter what you do, there will always be obstacles and struggles that will depress you and slow your progress down. Some people might take this in a negative way and drop out or don’t put in all the effort required. Nonetheless, I remembered what my father used to tell me and that these situations will only make you stronger if you take them as a challenge. Similar situations to this situation have been reoccurred to me in college like 30 times during my study at college. Not in the same exact scenario but similar injustice and depressive action. In fact, I remember in my Junior year, I came to my father and said “Dad, I will quit, I can’t take this injustice anymore, you keep on studying hard and you’re not getting good grades due to irrelative issues!” my father just looked at me quietly with a face full of wisdom, playing with his beard that became white after it took its toll from all the experience he had in his life, and he said “Son, if you are studying for the degree, you will never achieve the proper knowledge and in the real life, you might work but you will never progress. However, if you are studying for the knowledge and pursuing your passion, you will do so great in real life that everybody will start hating on you. You will see these students who have high marks due to cheating are in a standing still situation in the real life and you will see the students who are studying only for the degree will also be stagnant in the real world. It is up to you whether to be stagnant in life and roll down the stream or you can be a leader who can swim against any stream and move up the ladder of society. If you don’t see it, just man up and face your obstacles like a man and you will eventually see it”. Needless to say, from that moment on, I decided to overcome any obstacle and graduate with a proper knowledge base rather than with only a degree and an empty base. I did graduate but with a low score 2.24 CGPA. However, since I started working, I have achieved a level of senior engineer in 3 years and all the guys who have graduated with me still in the training program even though they achieved higher scores back in college. The look on my father’s face when I told him about all of this is priceless. I am glad that I have achieved what I have achieved and I will never stop learning and progressing in my life.