"GETTING A F IN CALCULUS AP IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS TO EVER HAPPEN TO ME!"

When I took Calculus AP as a senior in high school, after every test my teacher posted print outs of all our results on the wall, and ranked us based on our overall grade. This sucked for me ‘cause I was always at the very bottom of the list. I got an F in the class, but it’s actually one of the best things to ever happen to me because it influenced who I am today.

I was recently invited as a guest speaker to talk to the new generation of high school calculus students about my college experiences and to tell my story:

Back in high school I was far from being the brightest student. Overall GPA-3.17, SAT score-1640, and Calculus AP class ranking- dead last. I was even farther from being the most popular. What I am proud of is getting a 5 on the Calculus AP test.

Patrick Dang Mark Keppel

Even though I was the absolute worst student in the class, I proved with determination I could earn that 5. Getting a 5 is more than just a test score; it represents my hopes and aspirations. From this experience, I developed a mentality where “everything is possible” as long as I believed in myself and worked hard. This mentality stuck as I entered U.C. Riverside (the only university to accept me at the time) as a freshman.

I went H.A.M. at UCR to get straight A’s and transferred to the University of Southern California after a year. Fast forward to the present and I’m a senior in the Marshall School of Business graduating with honors, earned a fashion scholarship, and won a pitch competition to earn seed funding in the thousands for my technology start up as founder and CEO.

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