How to Bounce Back From that Bad Grade

Midterm and exam season is upon us and with this comes grades and loads of stress.  If you are anything like me, a bad grade can feel world ending when these exams get handed back.  So here is my best advice on how to deal with and then bounce back from the less than satisfying exam grades.

  1. Celebrate! This may seem counterintuitive but the best thing I can do for my mental state and overall happiness is to celebrate my achievements. Once the exam is over, it's time to celebrate all the hard work I put into studying and the fact that I finished! It may feel like a hollow victory but finding the good in everything that happens is the best way to pick yourself back up and remind yourself that the grade isn’t everything.
  2. Keep it in perspective: In connection to the first tip, perhaps the best technique I have ever learned was to ask myself this set of questions when something bad happens: Will this matter in a month? 6 months? A year? Most every “world ending” thing that happens to me framed in the context reminds me that this problem isn’t larger than life.  It may feel like everything is going wrong, but this perspective reminds me that this problem isn’t too big for me to handle and pushes me to get back up and try again.
  3. Get Proactive: This is not the last grade of the semester which means there is time to turn things around! As hard as it may be, look back and see what you could do differently and what you need to do to prepare yourself for the next exam.  Meet with your professor, TA, friends, classmates, or whoever it takes to help you feel confident for the next test.  While it sucks that this exam didn’t go great, putting your best foot forward on the next one just means you get to be proud of how far you have come when you end up crushing it!All of these tips are great, but none of this is meant to discount your feelings.  That first night you get that bad grade back, you have every right to validate your feelings by crying or eating ice cream or watching Netflix (trust me I will be right there with you).  Just remember that the next day brings a fresh start and your next opportunity to pick yourself back up and try again because your grades do not define who you are.