The Ups-and-Downs of Master’s Degree Journey: Failures Make Me Stronger

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Dewi Iriani

Studying abroad may be the dream of many, while completing it is another challenge to face. Dewi Iriani, the contributor for Indonesia Mengglobal, felt all the discomfort and pressure of finishing her study at a joint program at Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and University of Pisa, Italy. In this article, Dewi talks about her roller-coaster journey to getting an MSc in Economics.   

In 2017, I got a scholarship to pursue my master degree in Italy. I was overwhelmed with the excitement that my dream finally came true without realizing that the challenges were also coming the way.

Me and my friends in Italy

Since the first day, I struggled a lot to adapt to university’s life in Italy, and things got worse because most of the time, I looked small to myself. From 3 exams in my first semester, I passed only one exam and it was the easiest one, which meant I would have two extra exams to take in the next semester. Unfortunately, I kept failing myself during the exams. It stressed me out and made me about to give up on the university. I failed the exams not only two times but five times. I started to think that I may have made the wrong decision to study abroad.

A year passed by; I only passed three exams in total. The pressure increased since the scholarship would end in the 24th month, which was only 12 months to go. That time I was sitting in my room and crying, thinking what I should do to finish all the rest exams and graduate. I remembered all things I had been through to get to Italy and all the motivation I had when trying to get the scholarship. The sentence that came up in my mind was that I will finish it if I have started.

Since that day, I made a strategy to study more efficiently. I asked for help from some friends to teach me some subjects and put all the effort to do my best. Of course, things did not change in one night. Although I still failed in some exams, I kept telling myself on the way home that I failed this time next time I would make it. And all the efforts paid off. I finished all the exams, even in some classes, I got unexpected scores. I was so happy that I understood that failure is not the end of everything. It is just the beginning to be stronger. Luckily, I was surrounded by supportive people. Whenever I needed someone to talk to, they always gave ears to my story and helped me put my mind together. I would like to thank them for being so helpful and reliable during that time.

After all the episodes, I started to write my thesis. There was an announcement that the university will give a grant for selected students from each faculty during that time. I started to prepare for all the requirements and followed all the tests without any hesitation. Three weeks after that friend of mine sent me messages that my name was on the list of grant receivers. Once again, I was astonished. I did not expect that I would get the grant and had the opportunity to work with a professor who specializes in economic development, which is my interest. In December of 2020, I graduated from the university and was granted a Master of Science in Economics. The thing that I considered impossible after many times failing in exams and about to give up. This journey taught me a lot, especially not to give up easily. It shaped me to be a stronger and more determined person. Another additional reward that I got was some female family members saying that I became the role model for them. So happy to know what I have done could inspire others.

Taking a group selfie with my classmates

*All photos are provided by the author

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