By Glen Burua

Getting the lowest mark in a Mathematics test out of fifty was just too painful. I was in grade nine at that time. The probability test brought me tears. I knew I was an average student.

Scoring low marks in tests and examinations is a norm for many students. However, it is not what happens to you but what you do about it that really matters.

Growing up in a Christian home helped settle certain doubts. I knew I was an average student but with God all things are possible. As a family, we went through a lot of problems in the rural areas where my parents were teaching.

Every family has problems. However, it is not the problem that is the problem, it is how we react to the problem that is the problem. As a family, we can use the problems we are facing to elevate our children to success.

My mother never gave up on me after I told her about my Mathematics result. This is what she told me: “daughter, scoring the lowest mark out of all the grade nines does not define who you are. It is how you prioritize your time, the effort, the dedication and the commitment that you give your studies that will eventually define who you will become.”

This is the story of Marceline Kaikas.

She graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Rural Health Extension officer from Divine Word University in Madang last year.

“Why did you choose to become a health worker?” I asked her.

“Seeing the struggles of rural people to access basic health needs prompted me to be a health worker”, she replied.

What is your advice to young people who might be struggling with their studies? I asked again.

“My advice to young people is to get back up even after being torn and crushed by problems. You cannot change your past but the future can be changed.” She answered.

Marceline is now doing her second year residency as a HEO up in Western Highlands Province.

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