We all know those students who always had it easy. Those students who barely studied and, yet, got the best grades or those who didn't even study because they simply "learned" from the lecture.
And then there are those of us who will study for days on end, but still get a lower than expected grade. I've personally been on both ends of the spectrum. In high school, I didn't study nearly as much as I should have but managed to maintain the first position in class. But once I got to college, it was as if my brain shut down. Suddenly I was studying for hours on end and still not understanding what was left and what was right.
Getting low grades can make us feel like failures but once you fall into the trap of feeling like a failure, things will only get worse.
Here are the three ways I was able to remind myself that I am not a failure:
1. Focus On Your Growth
At one point, it became very important to focus on my growth, even if it was the smallest growth imaginable. If I scored a point or two higher on one test than on the last, I would congratulate myself even the littlest bit because any growth is growth. Even if it was little growth, it was something, and it was important to remind myself of that.
2. Remove Yourself from Negative Energy
For me, this meant removing myself from my friends every once in a while. This is because many of my close friends were sitting right next to me on the struggle bus. After receiving a lower than expected grade, we would often sit together and complain about how hard everything was. At the end of the day, this made us all feel worse. In those moments, it's important to take a second and force yourself to be more positive. Force yourself to smile. Tell yourself you can do it even if you don't believe what you're saying in that instant.
3. Reflect On Your Actions
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." How have you been studying? Are you truly studying effectively? Everyone has a different style of studying. Some people will just skim the textbook and focus on practice problems. Some people use the professor's slides and add more context from the textbook. Some don't even need to do too many practice problems as long as they understand the textbook material and concepts. What did you do for the last test? If it didn't work, change your study habits and see what happens. Many of us don't enter college with strong enough study skills, so a part of the growing experience in college is figuring out how best we digest and retain material.
At the end of the day, we are much more than any test grade. A spreadsheet of numbers is not a true representation of who we are or how intelligent we are. Remind yourself of your humanity. Continue to work smarter, not harder!