Throughout all of high school I never once came close to getting a D or failing a class altogether. I was always the student with the good grades who never had to study hard, go to tutoring sessions, or even ask questions of clarification in class.
The most amount of work I would put into studying for any of my AP or IB classes was looking over the review packet the night before a test that I would come to pass with flying colors. I knew that I had to step up my studying game once I entered my first year of college, but I didn't know just how much I had to step it up. While my study habits changed for all 15 credits I took my first semester, one class was very challenging for me.
This semester I failed my American History class. Simple as that. And I'm okay with it. While this process was tough to go through and face, I am glad it happened sooner rather than later in my college career, and here's why.
I learned how I need to operate as a student.
First and foremost, I learned what it means to be an actual student. I learned that I need to study in order to succeed. I now know that I'm going to have to put in more than just an hour's worth of work into studying for an exam. I also know that for each subject, I learn differently. While writing out vocabulary terms by hand helps me learn geology concepts, it most definitely didn't help me learn history concepts.
I had to find a study tactic that worked for me in order to successfully learn about historical events and what they were all about. I also learned that I needed to be taught the material more than one time. Because of this realization, I started going to tutoring sessions every week, asking my friends to quiz me, and taking our weekly online homework assignments more than once in order to secure information in my brain.
I discovered what my campus has to offer.
As I mentioned before, I never really had to study for classes before. Learning material came naturally and I always performed well on tests. When I started struggling in history, I spent more time in the library, tutoring offices, and other places where I could focus.
I never once stepped into the library before a group study date before our midterm so I figured out all the different study atmospheres you can immerse yourself in. I also learned about the tutoring sessions that are held throughout the week and started attending weekly so I could get clarification on anything my heart desired. I also discovered the little places within campus that aren't as populated, one being a section in our school's Union building, so I was able to set up camp and get to work with minimal distractions.
I learned how to ask for help.
I am typically a very independent person. I like being able to do things for myself and figure out my problems on my own. Even though I was studying, taking notes in lecture, and participating in discussion sections, I figured out quickly that that wasn't enough. By the time I got the results of my first exam back, I knew I needed more help than I could get by just relying on myself. I went out and found a tutor to meet with every week, found people in class that were more than willing to help me study, and I also started reaching out to my TA and asking them how I could do better. I learned how to be okay with asking for help because, through this experience I learned that I can't be sufficient in everything I do.
I figured out just how great my support system is.
Through my failing experience, I found my people. I figured out how much my friends, both enrolled and not enrolled in the course, want me to succeed and want to help me in doing so. The friends that I made within the class are amazing people who tried their absolute hardest to help me understand terminology, reasons why colonists were angry with the British monarchy, and the overall concepts that our book's content revolved around.
I know they get frustrated with me for asking so many questions, but they're always there for me and willing to help. While it's important to have friends, your family is also an important factor. Even though my parents weren't exactly thrilled to hear that I wasn't doing so well in this class, they were satisfied in the fact that I was doing everything in my power to get help and do as well as I possibly could.
In the end, failing is inevitable. You're going to fail a class, job interview, homework assignment, and so many other little things. Sometimes you'll deserve to fail and others you'll do everything in your power to prevent it from happening but yet, it happens anyway. I'm happy I failed my history course. I learned so many more valuable things about myself that will be much more useful than the information I learned about the War of 1812. After my failing experience, I ultimately learned that the things you were supposed to learn isn't what's important. What you learn about yourself during said failure is.