Charles Darwin: The Man Who was Considered a Failure at School and University


Charles Darwin was a British naturalist who is best-known as one of the most famous and influential scientists of 19th century. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and created the scientific theory where he explained the branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process of natural selection.

In 1818, Darwin was enrolled at Dr. Butler’s Shrewsbury School but he showed least interest in studies. He wrote his experience on school education, “The school as a means of education to me was simply a blank. I learned absolutely nothing except by amusing myself reading and experimenting with chemistry.” Later, he could not complete his study in medicine and was terminated. After giving up his medical career, his father told him, “You care for nothing but shooting dogs and catching rat and and you will be nothing but a disgrace to yourself and all of your family.” After his failure in finishing his studies in medicine, he was sent to the Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1827 to study theology with a view to be intended as a clergyman and he could not concentrate and returned home in 1831. In his autobiography, he stated, “I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect.”

Finally, Darwin chose to pursue his dream, exploring nature and understanding species. According to Julian Huxley, Darwin’s idea “is the most powerful and most comprehensive idea that has ever arisen on earth. It helps us understand our origins…We are part of a total process, made of the same matter and operating by the same energy as the rest of the cosmos, maintaining and reproducing by the same type of mechanism on the rest of life.”