It finally happened (or at least I think it did): I failed my first exam. And honestly, I guess I'm glad it happened now. Well, I'm not glad it happened. I'm not sure anyone could be happy about that (unless you're trying to fail, and in that case, who are you helping?). My professor bumped back our exam by a week, a decision that was applauded by all, only for the class to arrive two days later to see blue books on our desks. Unannounced. Unexpected. I felt my stomach drop. Had I been studying? Absolutely. Was I prepared? Ha. I threw random pinpoints on the map, wrote dates that were probably a century or two off and made up every political party I mentioned in my essay. Yes, it was that bad. So am I sure I failed? I didn't get the grade back, but I tallied all the possible points I could have gotten, and it's looking like, if he's kind and the Plaid Kilt party is an actual thing, I may have gotten a high fail. And, considering I just googled "Plaid Kilt party" and got a Party City advertisement, I'm pretty sure it wasn't a high fail, but a hard fail. R.I.P. GPA.
So, I'm not actually glad I failed my first exam. I walked out of the room with one of my classmates, who was trying to console me with the fact that there was a lot of extra credit ahead of us. But considering he added the fact that the professor was known for reading all the grades out loud, it didn't help. I stalked off to the library in a full-fledged panic over what this one test would do to my GPA.
And then I thought about it. What would this one test do to my GPA? One test. Was I really getting myself this panicked over one test? That was when I realized my perfectionism was running at an unhealthy level. It wasn't like I had neglected to study. I had adjusted my timeline to fit the general consensus on the exam date. The general consensus on the exam date had changed. I had failed. I was beating myself up for something I couldn't have even controlled.
Am I still thrilled about the game of catch up I'm going to have to play for the rest of the semester? Oh no. Am I at peace with what happened? Not really. Is there anything I can really do about it? No. There isn't. And that's where I'm drawing the line. Stress and worry are sometimes good things: they push us to execute our responsibilities and to strive for new heights. But, like everything else, they're only good in moderation. I easily got caught up in a mindset all too prevalent on college campuses. And what did I realize? Despite what you might think, one bad grade isn't going to kill you or ruin your future.
I'm saying that now, though.