PETALING JAYA, Oct 4 — If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again is a motto that has served law student Muhammad Rafiq Izzat Zaidi well.

After failing his degree 18 times, the self-described slow learner revealed that it would take him three attempts to pass one subject at university.

“But the more I failed, the longer a subject would stick in my head even though it took me 11 semesters.

“I failed as many as 18 times when I completed my studies,” he confessed on a now-viral tweet.


The 25-year-old said he took up a Bachelor of Law degree at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) at Shah Alam, Selangor in 2013.

Rafiq explained that he was not diagnosed as a slow learner but instead had difficulties adjusting to new learning environments and it would take him a long time to understand a subject.

“In my first semester, I failed four subjects,” he told mStar.

The Kuantan native said that failure meant that he had to endure an additional three semesters before he could graduate.

“When my friends studied up to all eight semesters which is four years, I was still not finished. Seeing them start careers in the legal world put a lot of pressure on me.

“And then relatives would ask ‘Rafiq, when are you going to finish studying? You’ve been in uni for so long,” he said.

Rafiq also revealed he was almost expelled for failing a subject three times but was grateful he was given a second chance after an appeal.

The eldest of four siblings never let failure stand in his way of obtaining a law degree.

“There was a time I considered suicide. I was driving and felt like crashing my car into opposing traffic to release tension.

“But I didn’t do it because I thought what’s the point, it wasn’t going to solve my problem,” he said.

Rafiq said he owed it to his parents and lecturers who gave him the strength to carry on.

After all, it has always been his dream to become a lawyer since he was in primary school.

He completed his studies earlier this year and currently works as a chamber’s trainee.

“I’m thankful for finally finishing my studies after so long. I will work hard to become a lawyer and own my own law firm.

“Remember, if you fail seven times, you have to get up for the eighth. Hard work pays off,” he said.

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