How to Bounce Back From a Bad Grade

Getting a bad grade is a lot like going through a bad break up. You feel like the world has ended and that you're just going to grow up to be some crazy cat lady. Trust me, the world is not over and neither is the semester. You can still turn things around, as long as you're willing to put in the effort. Here are four steps to help you get back on track.

Step 1: Acceptance

You got a bad grade. Let it sink in. It's hard, but you need to accept the fact that you are not where you want to be. Look at yourself in the mirror and say, "I have a bad grade and that's okay." Having a bad grade doesn't make you a monster, it makes you human. Everyone gets at least one bad grade in their life, most of us get multiple. For the people who tell you otherwise, they're either lying or an alien. 

Getting a bad grade often leads to the feeling of shame or disappointment. This is a personal struggle for me. I see a bad grade and I just want to stay in my bed, eat ice cream and watch Netflix all day, which is perfectly fine. Being upset is a part of acceptance. Crying means you care and if you care, then you're willing to work toward being better. The problem is when you pretend like nothing is wrong. You can't solve a problem that you're not willing to admit you have.

Step 2: Analysis

Now that you have accepted your grade, it's time to ask yourself, why? In order to fix a problem, you must first establish what the cause of the problem is. Did you study the wrong material (did you study at all?), did you use the wrong essay format or perhaps you missed too many classes. It's important to figure out the why, so that you know what and how you need to improve.

If you honestly don't know why your grade is so bad, don't be afraid to talk to your TA or professor. As the people who give the grades, they are going to be the most knowledgeable on how to improve them. Going to your TA or professor is also beneficial because it shows them that you care, which in return may make them care. They might give you an opportunity for extra credit or good tips to use in the future. 

Step 3: Plan

Once you have figured out why you're not doing good, it's time to come up with an action plan. This can be easy or hard, depending on what your why is. If your grade is bad because you've been skipping classes, then just don't skip. If your grade is bad because you didn't study enough, then that maybe a tougher problem. It's simple to say you'll study more, but how many times have you told yourself that before?

When making an action plan it is important to make it manageable and realistic. Don't plan to study everyday when your textbook has cobwebs from the last time that you actually used it. Instead, maybe pick two days out of the week to be your study time. Unrealistic plans are hard to motivate yourself to do and often end up not being done.

You should also be specific when making a plan. Don't just say you'll study two days, pick out those two days. Do you have an hour break between your 10 a.m. and your 11 a.m. on Mondays? Schedule some study time. 

Step 4: Execute

You know what to do now thanks to your action plan, now it's time to do it. No matter how great the plan, it won't help you unless you execute it. Execution is the most difficult step. It's easy to say you'll do something, hard to actually follow through. Have no fret though, here are some inspiartional quotes to help motivate you.

Believe in yourself, because you can do this!

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