Leaving campus last Friday, I felt nothing but confident about my midterms. I had passed my Stats and French II tests. The only thing standing in between me and my break was my Foreign Government midterm. I had made numerous Quizlets that went over the 7 weeks of material we had already covered and the additional readings outside of class.
I remember even staying at the Tech Center until 2 in the morning and going back to my dorm to study even more. Even when I was taking the exam, I felt so confident about how well I did. We were allowed to skip one question per section, which I did on the ones I did not feel that confident about.
When I walked into class Monday morning, my professor announced he had our test scores. He started off with, "Scores were lower than I had expected," but already mentioned he would probably curve the test. I was nervous, but then had hope when he said, "Some of you did exceptionally well," before proceeding into the "You have to study and read," speech.
From the hard work and time put into studying, I knew I had to be one of the few who did well. He called us up in reverse alphabetical order (which only added more to my nerves since my last name starts with A). My friend and I were among the last to receive our tests, so we went up to receive our fate together. That was when I felt my world shatter.
I had gotten a 50%, and the curve only brought me up to 63%. I have failed tests in the past in AP Biology my junior year of high school, but we had worksheets and labs that balanced my grade out to a high B by the end of the year. With my Foreign Government class, on the other hand, we do nothing except take notes and have three tests.
To say I was on the verge of tears and wanting to drop out is not an exaggeration. I have never taken failure that well. Since going to public school in 8th grade, I have felt the pressure to do good. Then, when I got into honors class freshman year, there was the added pressure that I needed to be among the top of my class and bad grades were not acceptable.
This overall pressure intensified when I got into AP classes junior year and was starting to look at colleges. I thought that I had to go to the best school possible. I never get upset about getting Bs or even a high C that much anymore, but anything under a 75% is where I lose it. On top of that, I fortunately made Dean's List last semester and am determined to do it again. Now, that felt like it would be impossible.
And even back home, there are people who do hold me to a standard since I moved away. I know there are people who ended up moving back home, and that ultimately would be my failure. When I found out I failed my midterm this week, I believed I was on a direct path to my biggest fear.
I texted my mom, afraid of how she'd react after finding out about my grade. Was I overreacting? Probably. My mother reminded me that this was a lesson, and that I was inevitably going to hit a "bump in the road" in college. Mothers are always right. My first semester of college was definitely easy, but I did work really hard.
After texting my mother, I began analyzing how I actually studied. I'll be honest when I saw I might not have dedicated that much time like I originally attended. I might have crammed for the exam a couple of days before hand. Maybe I rushed during the exam? I did feel rather confident and I remember going over my answers to make sure I had enough details, but yet, maybe I didn't do it thoroughly?
I also did miss a few classes, but what college student doesn't? On top of all that, I was spending a lot more time partying and just hanging out rather than studying when I should be, which also explains why I crammed a few days prior to the exam.
At this point, my mind was spinning with anxiety, so I ended up emailing my professor. I explained my worries about potentially failing the class and what I could do to boost my grade. He mentioned an extra credit assignment where we can go through our exams and give correct answers to receive points back.
He explained that I would end up receiving 76% or 77% back, but the midterm wasn't actually a midterm. It only was a small portion and that 70% of the overall grade still needed to be accumulated through various objectives, another midterm, and a final. So technically, no, I wasn't failing.
Even during class, before passing exams, my professor did acknowledge the fact he might have made the test too hard. I knew that I did put hard work, though I obviously could have done better. It was almost a wake up call that sometimes we do have to fail in order to succeed. It is not this all-or-nothing situation where one grade decides our future.
You cannot let one little setback ruin your whole perspective. Sure, it is disappointing not to get the results you want even when you put in all the work, but you have to keep pushing for what you want most. What doesn't kill you make you stronger.