Coasting student to national young entrepreneur of the year

The word ‘coasting’ perfectly sums up the majority of my secondary school experience. Coasting is when an individual knows what they are capable of (let’s call that a 10 out of 10) whilst also being aware of the failing criteria (let’s call that a 2 out of 10) so sits perfectly in the middle where it is both safe and not too difficult (a comfortable 6 or 7).

I tended to do ‘just enough’, this meant that I would always put in just enough effort to stay out of trouble whilst not stepping too far out of my comfort zone and stretching myself. For a period of time I was absolutely fine with this; it meant that I did not have to work overly hard and knew that my results would most likely be just enough to pass.

This attitude changed one day after a conversation with my Dad after what I had thought was a successful parents evening. I had approached the evening with the same tactical mind as always; this meant planning the order I would see teachers in, to ensure that the teachers whom I knew would be kind to me where at the beginning and the end of the evening with the bad reports spaced out in the middle. Of course I had also been working extra hard in the approaching week which in my mind meant that the teachers wouldn’t be too harsh. Each meeting was generally the same, “Kamal has a lot of potential but…” followed by a list of things that were not so positive such as talking too much, getting distracted or not completing homework on time. I was happy with this as the word ‘potential’ to me meant that I was able to succeed even if I wasn’t right now! However once I got home the very opposite was to be expected, my Dad told me that when I “hear the word potential” I should start “worrying”. I was encouraged to learn the meaning of the word so after grabbing a dictionary I found out the true meaning. Potential – Capable of being, but not yet in existence.


It was like a slap in the face! This whole time I thought teachers were voicing their confidence in my natural ability whilst actually they were telling me I need to get my backside in gear! Just in case that wasn’t enough I also got my mock results back which fell far below what I expected and I remember being extremely disappointed and upset with the results!

I brought these results home to my parents who were not impressed. My Dad told me to sit down and said “from now on, C stands for Crap!” I was shocked! I nervously asked what B stood for and he said “better”. Better?! Better?! I was baffled, better than crap? That’s just average! I thought there would be a saving grace with the A grade. I thought he would say amazing, awesome maybe even astounding. I asked what A stood for… his answer shocked me even more and changed my whole attitude towards grades from that day. “Acceptable”.
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