Several times in my life I have experienced help in a way that was inexplicable to me at the time, but which with the knowledge of now must clearly have been the work of my guides. Apparently my counselors felt it necessary to help me take the next step on my life path more quickly.
I tell you this story to encourage you to work more closely with your guides. I myself was completely unaware of that possibility, but it might have saved me a lot of stress and misery if I had known then what I know now.
When I graduated from high school in 1965, I was convinced that I would fail. I hated it so much at that school that learning suffered greatly. So I wasn’t exactly rosy. I attended the Lyceum (VWO). There I did HBS A, because I was too bad for B in mathematics and physics.
But I did get bookkeeping and commercial calculations and I was very bad at that too, I usually had insufficient marks for it. Languages weren’t a problem, but subjects like history, economics and law, which mainly involved memorizing extremely boring books, weren’t a strong point either. I got six at most.
I spent the weeks that I had to study at home for the final exams, staring out the window above my books, I couldn’t concentrate on the material at all. Actually, I was quite desperate. To do another year seemed disastrous, I couldn’t bear to think about it. But leaving school without a diploma was not really an option either, my parents would have great objections to that.
An unbelievable list of grades
Strange things happened during the exam, the full extent of which I didn’t realize until I learned I had passed and saw my rather unbelievable list of marks: all sevens and eights and a three for commercial arithmetic; yes. I realized that one five more would have been fatal. Then I had failed.
The bookkeeping exam went in a kind of daze: I was sure I hadn’t baked anything, because I had just written something down, without any understanding of what I was doing. It turned out later that it had been a difficult exam that even the good students had struggled with, but I got an eight! I didn’t understand it at all and of course I wasn’t the only one… I had handed in Trade Accounts halfway through, because I couldn’t tie a rope to it.
So I had a three for that. But with history, an oral exam, I was lucky: the teacher was sick and the commissioner didn’t want to make it too difficult for us and asked: ‘What do you want to talk about?’I chose a topic that didn’t really come down to exact data and that I could talk about a long way off, something I could do quite well. I got an eight for that too! in economics, which was also oral, something curious also happened.
The examiner asked me a question saying that I couldn’t really know the answer because it wasn’t part of the course material, but he was just curious if I might know anyway. And yes, the correct answer popped out without my thinking about it and that made a big impression, after which it couldn’t go wrong.
In this way the guides saved me from another year of misery and I could start my education at the art academy.
More important on a world trip than passing the exam on your own
There, too, I was helped in the final exam in a rather spectacular way.
I found art history quite interesting, but I had left that thick book that we had to learn by heart. We had no books about the art of the twentieth century, so we had to make notes on the slides in class, but I had never done that. To have the feeling that I was not completely unprepared for the exam, I went to a classmate whose father was an artist.
He had a library full of art books, and by chance I’d pulled out a book on twentieth-century art that consisted mostly of large color photos with captions. I could still go through that night. The next day, as an exam, I was given a series of slides that, you know, were all from that book! I got a very undeserved nine.
Why I was helped in this way and someone else under apparently the same circumstances not will undoubtedly have to do with the soul plan and how important it is for your further life that you pass that exam and not take another year.
But it’s also about the experiences you need. Perhaps it hadn’t been a meaningful experience for me to finish school so reluctantly. It probably wouldn’t have contributed to my development. The art academy, which should have been much more fun than secondary school, was still very schooly at that time and felt like a straitjacket.
I was so happy when I was finally freed from any form of education and could travel the world! I was gone for two years and came back as a different person, or rather, as myself at last. Something that was undoubtedly much more important for my development than obtaining my diplomas entirely on my own.