An honest account of failing a class in college

Facebook popped up a hilarious memory a couple of days ago. It was a status from my freshman year of college, right before my final. It read “Probably my hardest final of the quarter in two hours- 95% of my grade is the final and no curve. Ready to murder you calc 3B. Thanks for the memories.”

Funny story- I did not pass that final. I got a D+ and failed the class. I still remember exactly where I was when I checked the grade. I. Was. Devastated. My mom gave me tough love, and told me that was what happens in college. She told me I was being entitled and to suck it up. I had to fix this mistake, but it was not going to be the end of the world. It was fixable.

I told very few people about failing my first college math class. Honestly, I was embarrassed, ashamed, and unwilling to share this experience with ANYONE.

I am coming to you today as a college graduate- graduate school applicant- and successful young professional to say with fulll confidence that I FAILED TWO MATH CLASSES IN COLLEGE AND I AM NOT ASHAMED.

If you’ve read this far chances are you need to hear this: Failing a class in college is NOT the end of the world, and you CAN recover. If you are passionate about a subject, or your major, PUSH THROUGH and TRY AGAIN!!

Now heres the full story:

I entered college with a chip on my shoulder. I considered UCSB to be a backup school, and I believed I would be near the top of the students there in terms of academics. I had done well in high school, and my AP scores reflected that.

Fall quarter I was taking Chemistry, Calculus 3B (calc 2), and nutrition. I joined the rowing team (that’s another story) and pushed through my classes as an average freshman. My Calc 2 teacher was mysteriously absent for the first two weeks of class, and there were some stand-in professors just teaching things vaguely related to calculus. The professor confusion persisted, the class was bad, and I didn’t know how to study. Most of the class failed the midterm, and the professor offered to make the final worth most of your grade if you performed better. COOL.

Long story short, I thought I would pass. It was not a test that felt terrible. I thought it would be a low B, maybe a high C. But that was not the case.

I was sitting on my bed and when I checked my grades. D+.

My 18 year old brain thought my life was over. I blamed the professor and the structure of the class. I thought I had deserved at least a B for how much I had studied.

In reality, it was me to blame, and it was too late. I had to stare it in the face, get over myself, and register for the class again.

Although it might not be a topic of conversation at your university, failing classes happens, and as I look back, I am thankful for this slap in the face right as I entered college. Who cares who was to blame and what I could and should have done. It was over.

My advice to anyone who might find their self in this position- dont dwell. Its okay. Take a second to be upset and move forward. I continued to pursue math in my undergraduate and will be taking math in graduate school as well. A bad class does not make you a bad student.

Brush your shoulders off! Its time for round two!

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