Nor was it, “Wow, there goes my chance of becoming a Nobel laureate!”
Nope. My actual first thought was, “Oh, my God, I need to write a column about this.”
So here we are. Let’s talk about failure.
It’s a concept many of us aren’t super familiar with. Being the young ~intellectuals~ that we are, we breezed through high school with our GPAs still intact (for the most part).
But along came Carolina, and it changed everything. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in college, it’s that sometimes failure is inevitable, despite our very best efforts to avoid it.
It happens like this. You will proceed through the Four Stages of Failure (listed below):
- Cue the visceral reaction — the sinking feeling in your gut when you log into Sakai (or the heinous examscan.unc.edu) to view your grades. Frantically logging into ConnectCarolina and allowing the loathsome GPA Calculator to predict your future. Checking WebMD to verify that you are, in fact, having a heart attack.
- Have yourself a moment. Give yourself time to engage in your (healthy!) coping mechanism of choice. You tried your hardest, and that in itself justifies a reward.
- Ask yourself, “Will this grade really matter in a few months, let alone a few years?” (Answer: No. It won’t.)
- Pick yourself back up and move on.
I know it’s easier said than done, though. We’ve been defined by letters and numbers — course grades, test scores, GPAs — our whole lives. But success comes in many forms, and academic success is only one of them. And if we’re being honest, exams aren’t even a reasonable measure of intelligence or competency.
And as for how to survive midterm season? Find something that keeps you grounded when life is moving fast.
Mental health is always important — but especially when it comes to exams. Know that you tried your hardest. Remember that you are here for a reason — you are smart, and you have more than earned your place here.