Motivational Matters

Getting through your exams can be hard and sometimes your course seems to go on forever. The majority of people start off the year with an extremely positive attitude towards studying, but come the mid-way point, they just want it to end.

In the case that this is exactly how you are feeling, I’ve written about a few truly inspirational stories of students who have overcome many obstacles to get through school and receive their qualifications. I hope these help to get you inspired and motivated, I know that they had an impact on me.

Tiffany Chan

Whilst on a pre-med course in college, Tiffany started to notice odd muscular contractions occurring in various parts of her body. They started in her hand, but as time went on they appeared in her jaw and legs too.

After receiving little help from her GP, she finally demanded to be seen by a neurologist. Good move too, seeing as an MRI scan found a brain tumour in the left inferior temporal lobe.

She underwent surgery a couple of weeks later, but experienced severe subsequent problems, mainly to do with her memory, or lack of. She was incapable of recalling names, phone numbers, amongst other information and so came to the conclusion that she was unfit to finish her course.

Tiffany never lost her drive to succeed though and went on to study anything she was able to. She held down jobs where a good memory wasn’t essential, whilst she pushed herself to increase it, by learning languages, reading and studying medical definitions.

Finally, eight years after her surgery she was accepted into the George Washington Medical school.

Marjorie Elliot

I imagine a lot of you, like myself, had to take some time out between college and university, so as to save money to be able to afford the courses. Do you remember that feeling you used to get when you thought about how old you would be when you finally got your degree? It shocks me every time I think about the fact that I’ll be in my late twenties by the time I am finished with school. Now imagine waiting a lifetime for that moment to arrive.

Marjorie Elliot is an incredible woman, who is known for being one of the oldest people ever to receive a high school diploma. After being pulled out of classes at age fourteen, to help support her family, she continually found reasons to not go back to school. Children to raise, a husband to take care of and jobs to hold down are only a few of the reasons why Marjorie was always kept too busy to even think about returning to the books.

Finally, in 2008, she was laid off her job. By this point her daughters had grown up and no longer needed her constant presence and so she returned to school. She found it extremely difficult at first, not being as adept in certain skills, as her younger, fellow classmates. Skills such as managing a computer, which young people today find second nature, are techniques that Marjorie had to learn from square one.

Her hard work and perseverance paid off though, as she graduated and received her diploma, as she’d always dreamed of doing.

Gilles-Arnaud Bleu-Laine

The first obstacle that this eighteen year old had to overcome was the language barrier, after he emigrated to the United States from Ivory Coast in Africa. However his family supported him, both morally and financially, so that he could receive a better eduction than the one available to him in his home town.

Though, when civil war broke out back home, he soon discovered that rebels had vandalised his home and that his family were hiding out, causing them to discontinue Gilles’ financial support. Worried that he would be forced to give up his studies and return home, Gilles sought guidance and was told to apply for a scholarship. The university felt that he deserved to continue with his studies and paid for his last semester.

Gilles eventually graduated and had dreams of being accepted into MIT.

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