You've studied for weeks, you've color-coded all of your notes, you've used up all of your flashcards, you've attended every office hour, and gone to every possible study group. You feel prepared for exam day. It's the day of the test, you finish it with time to spare and you're confident that you performed well. Fast forward to a couple of days later. You receive your grade, you eagerly look at the first page and to your despair, a fat F looms in the top corner of the test that you poured late nights and gallons of coffee into. There's a sea of red pen marks that make your head spin so much that you can't be bothered to even read your professor's comments. You feel defeated, you feel like all of your efforts were in vain, and most of all you just feel flat out dumb.
I'm sure that we can all relate to having a couple of seasons like this during our time in college. Failure, not just academically speaking, is one of the most horrible feelings in the world. Over the years I have learned how to cope with my failure and rise from it, without allowing it to weigh me down. I always receive comments about how I can be so joyful or calm during tough times and here are some ways that I am able to do that:
1. I find perspective
Whenever I am stressed about how I performed on a test, I remind myself that it is not the end of the world. It sounds cliché, but it is true. Despite the grade that I received, I am still thriving, I still have my health and a wealth of opportunities.
2. I remind myself of my worth
I remind myself that my worth as a person, or how smart I am, is not measured or defined by a single grade in a single class given by a single professor. Rather, it is defined by who God created me to be. The Bible says in Psalms 139:14 "I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." God made all of us with a specific purpose and has already told us that we are worth more than what any grade says about us.
3. Moving on and moving up
Usually, this consists of taking a nap, screaming into the void that is my pillow, and pretending that it never happened. I really try to think about what I did wrong and what I can do differently next time in order to do better. After this, I rant a little bit to my friends, then try to put it out of my mind (to the best of my ability) and focus my attention on other things; getting ice cream, hanging out with friends, or watching a movie.
While this formula for dealing with failure is not for everyone, I can confidently say that it has worked for me time and time again. However, don't be fooled, I am still working on dealing with my failure every single day. I'm not going to lie it is really hard to deal with your failure, but I hope that this encourages you in some way. Keep your head up because you are worth it and you will succeed!