One of the worst things that can happen to someone in college happened to me this past week. I got a C on a paper. The week before I had gotten a low B and I was freaking out over that. You see, I haven't gotten a B or a C for that matter since 9th grade in high school. I have always been a straight A student and being a junior in college getting A's was my proud moment. I was smart and clever. I am an English major who always gets A's. I took that C really bad. The worst part was, I was so confident in that paper. I felt I nailed it. I bawled by eyes out for two hours because my self-confidence had been ruined. I was a terrible student. How could I, an English major, do bad on a paper? It's like what we do. It wasn't an even an English paper I did "bad" on.

I realized, after talking to someone close to me who soothed me, that it wasn't a big deal. A "C" isn't failing, it's average. Why do college students put so much pressure on themselves to be perfect? The idea of this grading system is so detrimental to the students mental health that we panic at the slightest sign of anything less than an "A". Schools tell us from elementary to higher education that grades are everything. That if you get a bad grade you aren't as smart as the other kids and that's just not true. I'm struggling in this 300 level ART class, it's true but that doesn't mean I'm stupid. When I went to my professor begging for a rewrite and she gave it to me, she said that it wasn't that the intelligent connects weren't there but that I was wordy and full of jargon that clouded my argument. I felt, when writing the paper, in order to seem like I understood the topic and was smart I had to be very bookish. Sometimes the simple ways are the best ways.

Moral of the story is that it's okay to get one "C" on a paper. It's okay to get two. We don't always have to understand everything and that doesn't make you stupid, it just means you have to work harder the next time. For my final paper, I'm gonna bang it out and if I get another "C" it's okay because I tried my hardest and I passed the class. And really, that's the point: to work hard and be proud that you may not have gotten the best grade but you put your whole heart into it. I'm going to try to keep my grades up but I'm going to stop putting so much pressure on myself to be a perfect student, because I'm not and that's not a bad thing. Honestly, it's a good thing to continuously be yourself, even if you get a "C" on a paper.

You got this, just keep on chugging along, you're still the intelligent person you were before the bad grade, just now you know the feeling and will fight against it happening again. I know you are hurting right now and I know your pain but don't lose sight of your goals or who you are. It's just one grade. Good luck and know I believe in you.