In high school, I was an A+ student; scoring 90s and above on writing assignments, homework, tests, and quizzes was something that came to me naturally, of course, with studying and putting in the effort. Graduating with a 4.0 GPA, I thought I was prepared to face the challenges of handling college coursework. But the day I took my first college test proved me absolutely wrong.
It was a math test everyone knew they were gonna bomb, including myself. I walked in the lecture hall a nervous wreck. Luckily, I had made a promise with myself to do the very best I could; writing down a bunch of formulas, showing work, and doing the most to rack up a good amount of partial credit on each question. I left the test knowing I tried. I looked around the room and noticed everyone held the same facial expression: one filled with concentration, stress, and anxiety. It took a while for me to find at least one person who seemed confident and relaxed.
When the test scores came back, I didn't know how to react. I was not used to getting C grades, so of course, I was disappointed, but then again, I didn't expect to do well on this test, knowing that it was quite challenging. I just decided this was the grade I well earned. The class average ended up being an astounding 40%, which made my score of 70% seem not so bad by comparison. After talking about our results and thoughts on the test with other fellow classmates, I realized my grade wasn't a big deal; technically, I didn't fail, so I shouldn't let it bum me out for the rest of the day.
But to those who weren't so lucky to get a C grade, those former A+ students who faced reality with a harder knock than me: this is college, it happens. I know that sounds like a terrible, unhelpful thing to say, but the meaning behind it is much deeper. It's okay, normal even, to fail once, or twice, or three times. You don't always have to understand everything and that doesn't make you dumb, it just means you have to work harder the next time.
I think, once people realize this, they won't put so much pressure on themselves to be some perfect student. There's no perfect student, everyone is bound to fail at some point in their academic lives. And this sounds corny, but, no great success was ever achieved without failure.
So good luck. It's so important to remember that you're still the intelligent person you were before the bad grade. As college students, we will all understand your pain when dealing with an ugly grade, but don't forget about your ambitions. In the end, you will graduate, and that one failing grade will be history.