Bad grades are the bane of the average college student. If this unfortunate situation has befallen you, take heart. Earning a “C” or below (MY definition of a bad grade) on that first examination is not the end of the world. Being branded by the red ink of a scarlet letter on your beloved term paper is not the end of your career as a scholar. It is just the beginning of your real life training, a little course I like to call HOW TO SUCCEED WHEN THE ODDS ARE AGAINST YOU.
To avoid the heartbreak of a less than stellar report card your first semester out, I strongly suggest taking an early bad grade in any class VERY SERIOUSLY. Go over the work and figure out why it was rejected. Meet with the professor and ask what could have been done to make the assignment more acceptable. They may have advice on how to better focus your time or perhaps can point the way to a study group or tutor. Be honest with yourself about whether you gave your best effort. Maybe you got used to passing off careless work in high school. That won’t fly on a college campus. Resolve to turn in no less than your best on any assignment. Rearrange your priorities to include school work at the top of the list. This is the reason why you are in college, after all.
Don’t fall victim to the mentality that one bad grade means instant failure. This type of despair will make it impossible to accomplish anything productive. Acknowledge your errors, take responsibility, and come back to the next assignment with a renewed will to conquer this class. Pressure abounds in college, from parents, teachers, and mostly from the self. Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated by caving to pressure, rather meet these problems head on with every weapon you possess and expect success. If you end up with a bad grade after that, you will rest assured that you did your very best and not have to live with regret.
Keep some perspective. Rage about or lament your low grade, but once you have expressed these emotions it is time to move on. Do something that motivates or soothes you. Talk to a friend or parent about your frustration and share with them your plan of counterattack. Be sure you are not neglecting your health, and that you are taking some time for enjoyable things. You can be a diligent student and still have a life. Just don’t let your “life” overshadow the fact that you are a student. Remember how blessed you are to be seeking an education. Remember your dreams and goals. What seems like a blight on your life right now, that hideous grade, will be nothing but a faint memory next year. In ten years it won’t even matter as long as you get back on the horse. Getting over bad grades or any bad situation in life is as easy as retreating, regrouping, and then resolving to return to the fight.