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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Wyoming chapter.

Everyone has at least one class that seems as if it was specifically designed to make your life as difficult as possible. Being an engineering student, I find myself frequently enrolled in these kinds of classes. Whether it be the course-load, the professor, or even just the subject in general, if you aren’t loving that class, the quality of your whole semester can easily be at risk. Although it often isn’t the case that your school or professor actually wants you to fail, the dreadful feelings surrounding a class you hate don’t go away easily. When getting out of the class isn’t an option and you’re forced to stick it out, at least there are a few things you can learn along the way.

1. How to Deal With Difficulty 

Life becomes so much better when you can learn to deal with the difficulty that gets thrown your way instead of just complaining about it, especially since difficult people and situations won’t avoid you forever.  Don’t get me wrong, complaining can be great, but it’s not sustainable and it certainly isn’t going to fix whatever situation you’re in. Learning to deal with one difficult class or professor will only help you deal with the next. 

Through these kinds of classes, I’ve learned that twisting a horrible thing into one that is positive is something that helps me a lot in dealing with difficulty. Had to take a four hour exam? At least you got to practice growing your attention span! Have a really picky professor? At least you get to practice meeting high expectations! Replacing negativity with a positive takeaway can be a great tool in coping with whatever you’ve got going on, and learning a skill like this proves your misery isn’t completely unwarranted. 

2. Life Isn’t Fair and There’s Usually a Reason 

Crazy concept that, if you’re anything like me, your parents have probably been drilling into your head for ages.  Well, believe it or not, it’s true! The first semester of my freshman year, I had an engineering class where exams were 90% of my overall grade. The first thing I thought was, “that’s so not fair.” I then found out that a majority of my engineering classes would be the exact same way. At the end of that same semester, I found out a lot of my future professors won’t give partial credit. Again, I thought, “that’s so not fair.” I spent a while being annoyed about it until I tried to figure out the point of it all. It turns out that those things do not seem fair, but they do serve a purpose. 

Exams are 90% of my overall grade because it is crucial that I know the content being taught. Some of my teachers don’t give partial credit because when I have to take the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam, there is no partial credit. Genuinely learning that life isn’t fair and there’s usually a reason, even if the reason is simply helping you to grow as a person, is one of the most valuable takeaways from some of my worst classes. 

3. Accept Your Best 

My motto lately has been “do the best you can do for today.” This semester I am enrolled in some pretty challenging classes, to say the least, and the main thing I have been working on is putting out my best work. Most of the time what constitutes a horrible class for me is one where I work my butt off and it’s still not good enough. It is the most frustrating thing to dedicate dozens of hours to a class and still not do as well as you would like.

Despite the frustration, it is so important to recognize that you are doing the best work that you can do for the day, and whatever that is, it’s good enough. Being able to accept that you are doing your best work relieves so much stress from those feelings of drowning in complex content or that less than ideal grade. Even if you are struggling and your work is far less than perfect, a horrible class can help you learn to accept your best, since your best is all you can really do. 

4. It’s Okay to be Bad at Something

 A lot of degrees encompass a wide range of topics and career pathways. Because of this, you’re almost guaranteed to encounter something you are bad at. Sometimes a class is horrible because you just don’t understand it, or despite your perceived understanding, you’re just really bad at whatever it is you’re doing.  It’s taken me a long time to realize this, but that’s okay! There is not a single person who is good at everything, and people who are great at one thing still aren’t perfect at it.  

No reasonable person expects perfection from others, so you shouldn’t expect perfection from yourself. Learning through a terrible class that you are just bad at that topic is a great way to know what you need to work on and what you’ll need help with later. Being bad at something is okay because the opportunity you have for improvement is huge.  Even if you never become good at whatever it is, you can always be better than when you began. It’s great to know what you’re good at, but it is infinitely more beneficial to know what you’re bad at and to accept yourself for your flaws. 

5. It Doesn’t Matter as Much as You Think

One horrible class, or even a dozen of them will not be the end of you.  This one is a little difficult to learn while in the midst of a tough class, but it is easy to see in hindsight.  When caught up in the workload, the terrible professor, or the hated subject, it can feel like your world is ending. It is easy to be consumed by feeling so overwhelmed or so upset that your class becomes the center of your attention. 

Once it is over, though, those feelings subside and it is no longer a big deal.  After you take your final or get your grade, there is no more stress since it’s all behind you. In the long run, a horrible class can help you learn that things usually don’t matter as much as you think they do. Your worst classes will not prevent you from achieving your long term goals or rob you of your happiness later in life. Ten years from now, it won’t matter that you barely passed that one class, or had to retake another. If it won’t be of huge significance later down the line, try holding it to a little less significance now and save yourself the stress.