“Scores and marks are irrelevant in the larger scheme of things!”


Academic failures don’t matter if one is determined.


Ms. Akhila Krishnamurthy


Many times it happens that we fail to succeed, fail to score decent marks or fail to get into a good college, life seems to have come to an end. We give up. Get into depression, some even think of taking extreme steps. At that point of time we seldom realise that – life is a long race. One failure or for that matter multiple failures may not matter once you taste success in life if you keep chasing your dreams. 

All one needs to do is …


Get Up. Show Up. Face Up. Don’t Give Up. 



Here goes the story of Ms. Akhila Krishnamurthy… 


Director of Communications at Krea University, currently, has always been a good student and was amongst the toppers in her classes. However, during her Masters she failed in one of the papers and found she was the only one who could not achieve the Master Degree for her entire batch! She was devastated for the next few weeks. 


We dedicate this story to the girl student who called us up a few days back as she failed to get admissions in one of her preferred colleges and to all those students who have failed in life at some point or the other and were determined to overcome.  



Team Campusutra is grateful to Ms. Akhila for sharing this story of her life with us. We wish her the very best in her life and career path. And hope this helps many of our readers who may be at a struggling phase of their lives.

In June 2001, when I completed my Master’s programme in Communications and Journalism, at MOP Vaishnav College for Women, Chennai, I was in for a huge shock!  


In the afternoon the results were announced, a friend and I made plans to go to college together, and get a cup of coffee thereafter, to celebrate. We dressed smart and met at the parking lot and headed to the bulletin board where the results were usually announced. 

I had no idea what was waiting for me!

Against my name, a four-letter word stared – harshly – at me. FAIL!

It took me several rounds of running my finger against my name on the glass board, through the entire row to double check, triple check, check ten times to finally conclude and come to terms with the fact that I had indeed failed a paper called Film Studies. 

What made the hurt just a little more severe was the fact that I was the only student that year to have not made it through the Master’s programme! The blow was real! 

It was unbelievable. I was only 20 years old then and this seemed like the biggest failure of my life! 

How could I – always amongst the toppers, with a Distinction in my UG from one of the most prestigious institutions in Chennai, Stella Maris College – actually fail, that too, in one of my most favourite subjects? 


The agony of it tormented me for several weeks! I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat and lost interest in life absolutely. But I knew I had to investigate what had gone wrong. 


Every morning, for the next four weeks, I spent the day knocking at admin offices and windows of the Madras University begging authorities to consider a re-evaluation of my paper.


Every night when I went to bed, a myriad of conspiracy theories engulfed my senses. What could have gone wrong? Did I not staple my sheets properly? 

Had some sheets gone missing from my final set of papers? Has someone played dirty politics? I knew one particular professor wasn’t particularly fond of me! Was there some vendetta? Had I really done so badly?


I was angry, miserable, and I felt the institution had let me down. 

A few weeks later…

The tears stopped, and I’d landed myself a job – my employer (a small news aggregator called webduniya,com) knew I didn’t have a degree but didn’t seem to care – I re-wrote the paper and finally earned my Master’s degree.


For the longest time, I had a love-hate relationship with MOP Vaishnav College for Women; I wasn’t able to remember the good things in college without being able to think of that afternoon that I thought had put a spoke in my academic wheel!

Eight years later, when I became the Editor of Supplements at The Times of India in Chennai, I was invited to be a guest faculty and teach the basics and nuances of journalism for the Master’s programme! A few years later, as an independent journalist, I also became a film critic for India’s national magazine, Outlook. 


Life, they say, comes a full circle and time is a great healer!


A few weeks ago, with a group of faculty and students of MOP Vaishnav College for Women, who had huddled in the auditorium to mark 25 years of the institution, I began my talk – where I shared my journey as an arts entrepreneur through the prism of communication – remembering this story and acknowledged the institution for teaching me some of the greatest lessons in life:


1. Failures make you stronger.

2. When s&%$ hits the roof, you will often have only a handful by your side; even if you have just one, it’s okay; as an adult now, I will tell you to hold on to that person, close and tight!

3. Academic scores and marks are irrelevant in the larger scheme of things! What matters is what you do with your learnings!

4. You don’t always get answers to the questions that bother you; what is important is dusting it off, dressing up and moving forward, no matter what.

5. Experience is a great teacher.

6. Hard work, discipline, passion and honesty are uncompromising values that will never let you down

7. Amidst the madness of life, there will always be Good Samaritans who will recognise that your marks don’t matter. Trust them, and always be grateful for people like them.


Honestly. I also realised while writing this that it’s often easy to share your so-called success story – and what is success is fodder for another story – but it’s liberating to acknowledge the stories where you have failed! 

About the Author : Ms. Akhila Krishnamurthy is presently the Director – Communications at Krea University and an Independent Journalist, Arts Entrepreneur, Writer.

She was the Editor of Supplements in Times of India, chennai and is also  founder of a boutique arts management company, Aalaap with an intent to create professional working systems and processes in the space of the Indian classical arts. Aalaap won the Original Idea of the Year award from Femina in 2017. 

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