In some parts of the world, it’s time for end-of-school-year results, and final-year high school students are figuring out if they’ll get into university or not.

I was reminded of this by Kon Karapanagiotidis, a well-known Australian refugee advocate and lawyer, who shared today his own experience of coming to the Law in a round-about-way.

It seemed like such a life-changing moment, the day those results are released! Receiving those final grades that determine the next path, or, as you think at the time, *the rest of your life*!

Yet, as life-changing as it is, that decision about where and what to study, it’s not always the be-all-and-end-all. Thank god. Because we’ve all had failures along the way, jump-starts, side-tracks, delays, etc.

Mine have been many and varied.

In terms of university and school, here’s just some:

I got 51% in Public International Law at law school (my attitude was “Ps make degrees”, a P being a pass mark). But not many years passed before I ended up being appointed an international law professor while doing an MPhil and PhD in international law. Now after working for two decades on public international law issues, including with the UN, in Geneva, I mentor others on how to do the same!

And even though I failed French in high school, I now work, teach, and socialise speaking (not brilliantly, but sufficiently) while living in a French-speaking country.

And those times I failed Economics and Economic Statistics (twice, each, and was kicked out of uni as a result)? It’s never mattered at all, and actually, I think I learned more than I realised, as I have used both in my work since (although thankfully not too much. You know, for liability reasons!).

I love these often-cited stories of others’ great failures and what they’re doing now:

What are your stories of detours on the way to what you really wanted to do?