To The College Students Who Got Their First 'Bad Grade'

To those who just received your first "bad grade" of your life at the end of the semester, this is for you.

Maybe you have seen nothing but As on your report card since the beginning, so a B+ comes as a devastating shock. Maybe you have had a long-enduring struggle to pass a class, only to find out you came up short and failed. Maybe you have just seen a grade lower than what you are used to, which is a demoralizing blemish on your transcript.

Whichever way, it is always difficult to accept your first "bad grade." And I know how it feels because I am suffering my first as well. So here are a few things you should remember.

A low grade does not directly correlate with low aptitude.

In high school, I aced math in the classroom and on national exams, so it was pretty disappointing to bomb my first math class of college. The class was taught by a student rather than a professor and for whatever reason, I just could not follow along with the lectures and I knew that I was not destined to ace the class. I was not destined to ace THE CLASS, not math in general.

You may not like the grade, but that doesn't mean you didn't work hard or do enough.

When I was not learning in the lectures, I had to learn on my own and rely on undergraduate student tutors to help me. I know, in hindsight, that I was doing everything that I needed to do in order to pass the class. But the truth is that outside help cannot fully replace classroom instruction. I did all that I could and still ended up disappointed.

The world is not going to collapse, and you will find a way to make it work with the grade.

Even though my grade is not "good" by many standards, I did not end up losing anything at all, except a few hundredths of a point on my GPA. I know people who have failed entire classes and still can find ways to stay afloat in college and make it work with the grades they have. You can survive and you can recover from this blow.

Most importantly, you're a college student and therefore you're not perfect.

None of us are. We are still trying to live on our own, navigate adulthood, and not to mention take some of the most challenging courses we have ever taken (with instructors who may not instruct very well). As I have learned, many companies for internships are not expecting candidates with a 4.0 (or even a 3.0). These four years are years for learning, not trying to be perfect.

So as we all try to come to terms with our "bad grades," it's important to remember how in the long run, it is the skills we acquire and the experiences we have that will define our future. Not a single letter on a transcript.

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