Everyone’s heard the saying “Always do your best and reach for success” plenty of times growing up. My parents used to chant that saying to me every time they’d send me off to school to take a big test or try out for any audition or team. But, just as life is, sometimes we encounter situations that just don’t agree with us. You can’t win them all, and sometimes trying your best and failing is still OK. The important thing is that your heart was in it, and you tried. Although you may not be amazing at one thing doesn’t mean you aren’t amazing in something else. Find what works for you.
This idea applies to school, too. You may be acing 3 out of 4 of your classes and be completely bombing the fourth. If you’re slipping and afraid of failing a class, here are some tips you can follow to get your head above water.
1) Don’t beat yourself up- Some of the most amazing writers in history can’t solve a single math problem. Similarly, some of the most brilliant math wizards can’t spell the simplest four letter word. This doesn’t make them uneducated or any less smart than their peer, it makes them normal. There are very few people who are amazing at everything, and it’s okay to feel defeated sometimes. Don’t let your fear of failing take you out of playing the game. You aren’t a bad person if you’re failing a class, and it’s okay to ask for help or assistance. No one is going to be mad at you, just concerned that you didn’t step up sooner. Reward yourself for how well you’ve been doing in your other classes, and acknowledge that you need a little extra help in the one you’re failing. You can do it.
2) Ask for help- Your parents, friends, and professors are all available for emotional support. If you need help, you can set up a study session with some students from your class or ask to schedule a private meeting with your teacher to see how you can improve your grade or keep up. Your parents may be upset initially, but it’s only because they care about your well-being and may find it frustrating to see you frustrated. Leaning on them for support will make you feel better, and allow them to see that you need some help and that you’re trying.
3) Eliminate all distractions- I get it. As a young adult, there are so many things that are pulling at your attention. Your favorite TV show is on, a new video game came out, your friends are calling you to go to a new restaurant or attend a party, and you still need to do your laundry, pick up your contacts, go to the doctor and get a haircut. Your parents are making you go to a family reunion, and on top of that, your car needs service. The best way to handle these situations is to deal with them as they come. Telling your friends you need to stay in for a weekend to knock out some work WONT end your social life. Your friends will understand, and they’ll still be around to hang out after you’ve finished your work. You can record your favorite show to watch later, and set it to record each week to watch them all later in one mini-marathon. Ask your parents for help with your laundry and errands; they love you and they’ll try to help you out as much as they can. The main priority (besides your health!) is to knock this work out and get your feet back on the ground. The rest can be worked out aftermath. You’ll feel a huge sense of relief after you accomplish your goal, and it will make dealing with the rest of your responsibilities a piece of cake.
4) If you know there’s nothing you can do- If you come to that point of realization that you just can’t make up the work and missed out on too much of the participation grade, you may have to cut your losses and admit defeat. Sometimes, teachers can work with you to extend your due dates so that you can get everything in. This can be under an Incomplete Agreement process, approved by both your teacher and signed by you. What this agreement says it that your teacher is allotting extra time (usually about 4 weeks) for you to complete all of the coursework. Until that coursework is turned in, the grade you receive will be an ‘I’ for Incomplete. Once that work is turned in and graded, the letter will then change from an ‘I’ to the letter your teacher assigns you after grading your coursework. If still applicable, you can also withdrawal from the class. Every university is different, meaning that some classes have to be dropped before a certain date early on in the semester in order to not take a grade penalty and to receive some of your money back. Usually after a certain date, you can still withdrawal, but not receive a refund for your class. Dropping a class has no effect on your GPA, but failing a class always will. In fact, in most cases, your GPA will take a severe blow until you re-take that class and replace the grade with a passing letter. Before withdrawing, (or in worst case scenarios, getting that F) always try to talk to your teacher first. Even if you feel yourself running a bit behind and can still catch up, it doesn’t hurt to send them an e-mail or pull them aside in class to tell them that you’re slipping a bit but fully intend on catching back up to speed. Remember that for whatever reason you are behind, your teacher will more than likely not be interested in the excuse. They more so will be concerned and want to hear what you have planned to catch up to speed.
Sometimes we just need a little break to clear our head and take a breather. If you feel like you need to take a class at a later time or save it for later in your major, take another one in its place so that you’re still moving towards your degree. Failing a class happens to many students and doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. Keep trying; you know you have it in you to finish it out. It will all be worth it once you walk across that graduation stage and accept your diploma. Nothing can defeat you if you don’t allow it to. If you slip a bit, get back up and try again. Through failure, comes success.