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Managing Oneself Essay

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Victor K. Wanjiku
ENGR 4510
Essay: Managing Oneself
March 1, 2011
I think I probably learned of my first weakness when I was six years old. I started nursery
school (I think it’s called kindergarten here) when I was five years and four months old. My class
had about 100 kids, and only 80 out of those would make it to the first grade. At the end of the
year, I was ranked 77
th
; just three spots away from having to repeat the class. There school
curriculum was divided into trimesters, and we took tests at the end of each trimester. Our
parents would come to school on the last day of the trimester and all the students, from first to
eighth grade, would sit in a big hall and listen to their names being called, class after class, from
the top performer to the worst performer. The top three performers always got gifts and would
stand up to be seen by everyone. The pride on their parents’ faces was undeniable.
Coincidentally, after the first trimester in first grade, I was ranked 77
th
out of 102 kids (since
some kids had had to repeat first grade). My mother did not make it to the ceremony, and
somehow my older brother heard that I was 29
th
, not 77
th
. I went along with what he heard
because it made me look better, although I knew it wasn’t true. He was ranked 3
rd
in his class,
and a cousin who was in the same class as him was ranked 1
st
. That’s when I decided to make
them my best friends and learn from them. I knew all along, even at such a young age, that I’m
a very competitive person a quality that I see in my 5-year-old son now. I just didn’t have the
tools to compete, which was heartbreaking.
After forming collaboration with my brother and my cousin and refusing to give up, I
realized that I function very well under pressure, or when people tell me I cannot do something.
I would try to do their third grade homework when I was in first grade, not because I cared so
much about their homework, but because they were convinced that I could not do it. I became
quite the reader, reading anything I came across. At the end of the second trimester in first
grade, to the surprise of my teachers and all friends and cousins, I was ranked 2
nd
out of 102
kids. I would later be told by my teacher that I was actually supposed to be first but there was
an error in adding up the points. And just like that, I knew what my strengths were academically
and it became apparent to all my classmates that I was always going to be at the top of the
class. Well, that happened until a new kid joined from my school and set the largest gap
between the top and the second student that I had ever seen. It just so happened that I was the
second best. I became a subject of ridicule to my peers because there was finally someone who
could beat me and he did beat me for three trimesters in a row. The only difference was that
whereas he beat me by 115 points in the first trimester (we did seven tests and our
performance was out of 700. He had 554/700 and I had 439/700), he only beat me by two
points at the end of the third one. I got the award for the student of the year in my class
because even though I hadn’t been the best student, I had made an incredible improvement.

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Victor K. Wanjiku ENGR 4510 Essay: Managing Oneself March 1, 2011 I think I probably learned of my first weakness when I was six years old. I started nursery school (I think it’s called kindergarten here) when I was five years and four months old. My class had about 100 kids, and only 80 out of those would make it to the first grade. At the end of the year, I was ranked 77th; just three spots away from having to repeat the class. There school curriculum was divided into trimesters, and we took tests at the end of each trimester. Our parents would come to school on the last day of the trimest ...
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