I knew when I took my first ever physics test that I was going to fail it. I hadn't had enough time to adequately prepare for it and I was so stressed that my mind had turned to mush. There were a lot of upset phone calls to my mom the days leading up to that test in which I bawled my eyes out because I didn't feel smart enough to be at college. The usual stuff. I fully believed I wouldn't get over a 50% on the test. I was wrong. I got a 55%.
Of course I was upset about it. All of my friends did better than me. Almost everyone I had talked to about it did better than me. People thought the test was easy. People thought the class was easy. It was driving me insane. What was I doing wrong? Sure, there had to have been others who made similar grades as me. There had to be people who didn't understand anything either, but where were they? It was like I was stuck in fog. I couldn't see out, others couldn't see in, and I couldn't even see the people who were stuck in the fog with me. I was feeling very lost and very confused. I felt that I was completely on my own with my confusion.
The feelings I felt in those dark times were very irrational. I wasn't alone. There were others who weren't getting it. I wasn't stupid. I was mad though. I failed once and it really opened my eyes. I wasn't going to let it happen again. So, with that fresh determination boiling inside of me, I set into motion a plan of action.
What was I going to do about my declining grades? Well, I wasn't just going to let them keep slipping. I decided that I would ask every question that popped up in my head during lectures. I would go to office hours whenever I could. I would use the tutorial services and other resources around campus. I would start eating better, getting good sleep, and overall take better care of myself. And most importantly, I decided to ask for help.
Let this serve as a lesson to all of you college or college-bound folk. You're going to fail at something. It will hurt your pride and it will put you down, but you cannot let it stop you. Learn from it and improve yourself. Ask for help when you need it. Use resources like crazy because they're there for a reason (and you've technically spent money on them through your tuition). Don't let yourself get even more behind when you feel like you're not getting anywhere. Don't get discouraged when something doesn't go your way. Instead, let it fuel your fire.
College is hard. It's ok to make lower grades than usual. That means you're being challenged. You're growing. You're learning. And that's what college is for.