10 Things to Stop Doing When Failing a Class
Failing a class can be frustrating, especially when you’re in the process of doing it and feel the end result is inevitable. How are you supposed to get yourself out of this situation if you’re the one who put yourself in it?
In the following article, we’re going to be dealing with the answers to that question. We’re going to do it from the approach of what you should not be doing, although that will take us to the positive side as well (i.e., what you should be doing). Without any further ado, let’s get started!
1. Getting Down on Yourself
The first and easiest thing to do when you start failing a class is to get down on yourself and start an inner dialogue that’s constantly derisive and critical. Yes, you could be doing better. But if that’s all you ever dwell on, it will cause a snowball effect of failure that can permeate throughout the rest of the course and on into other classes.
A better approach is to acknowledge the failure happened/is happening and leave it at that. Focus your future efforts on moving forward. In No. 2, we’ll be discussing a critical action step for accomplishing this.
2. Letting Another Failure Follow
Once you’ve failed a test, it’s easier to fail the next and the next until you’ve crossed a point of no return. This isn’t going to dig you out of the hole any faster. Instead of letting failure have its way and create that aforementioned snowball effect, tell yourself that an immediate second failure is just not an option.
You may have to look for the low-hanging fruit to make that insistence come true. If so, do it. It’s far better to follow a failure with some easy wins than to put more of your effort into something that you’re not getting. We recommend going to the teacher and asking if there’s anything you can do for extra credit or just resolving to turn in your next homework assignment on time.
3. Looking for the Easy Way Out
If you’re failing early in the class, there may be a temptation to get out. We wouldn’t recommend doing that. If you’re always giving up at the first sign of adversity, then life after high school and college is going to eat you alive.
Instead, stay in the pocket and take some more lumps if you have to. Resist the easy path. Push through the limits that are keeping you where you are, even if it means you have a bumpy road. You’ll come out with a better understanding and greater life skills if you persist.
4. Making Excuses
Excuses can be self-critical or they can look for external sources. Either way, they’re not productive to getting you where you need to be. A far better approach when tempted to make an excuse is to pause and tell yourself, “That happened. What next?”
Dwelling on the past is counterproductive to future performance. The best thing to do is learn from where you flubbed up and plow ahead with a new understanding. Don’t look for boogeymen or you’ll always be looking for them.
5. Status Quo
Thinking that nothing is wrong with the way things are is something you definitely need to stop doing. You’re failing a class, for Pete’s sake! What could possibly be going right?
Don’t think that doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the way over the mountain. It’s actually the definition of insanity. Instead, look at what you’ve done to get to this point and ask yourself one basic question: “What action would I have to take right now to turn all that on its head?”
Once you find that action, take it. Always be adjusting until you have a firm grasp of what’s going on.
No one enjoys failure. And when we experience enough of it, it can cause us to resist doing anything to confront the problem. As a result, you could find yourself putting off studying longer and longer after one or two failed exams are under your belt.
This also is true of the testing world. Who wants to prep for the ACT or SAT if the last result turned out lower than expected in spite of all the hard work put into it? Certainly not us! But procrastination isn’t going to get you through the challenges any faster. You’ll likely end up even further behind.
Stop putting off what you know you need to do. Get help for the areas where you’re not performing well. If not from your teacher, get a paid tutor or finagle a smart classmate to show you where you’re coming up short.
This can be easier said than done if it’s coming down to the wire, and you’re on the verge of failing the entire class. However, it’s not going to do you good either way to allow your anxiety to get the better of you.
Figure out what you need to avoid failing a class, and target those goals with 100 percent attention. If you just can’t control your anxiety, think about seeing a doctor and checking whether a prescription antidepressant is the right choice for you.
Careful, though. It takes many antidepressants a while to work into your system. You may not have that kind of time left. If that’s the case, you can still practice meditation and journaling to release the pressure.
8. Thinking the Teacher Is Out to Get You
The teacher may be out to get you, but you can’t afford to think that way. For starters, it’s probably untrue. Secondly, the teacher is teaching the entire class the same materials. If you know that material well, you’ll be able to navigate any differences in personality that may occur. Focus on the substance of the class, not the navigator.
Furthermore, go see the teacher if you really believe she has a problem with you. Voicing your concerns out of respect and sincere concern in a setting that doesn’t put the teacher on the spot — office hours — will win you a great deal of respect with her in all likelihood. At the very least, you can say you tried to do something about the situation.
9. Changing Your Major
Yes, we’ve known some students who changed their entire majors because of one or two bad grades. Don’t let a letter-grade have that kind of power over your passion!
When you really want to do something, a D or an F are merely obstacles you will need to overcome. If you’re uncertain you want the major when you get the bad grade, that’s one thing. But freaking out and jumping ship when the passion still burns, all because of one grade, is a mistake you’ll regret for the rest of your life.
10. Punishing Yourself
Some people are so hard on themselves for a simple failure that they end up depriving themselves of necessities just to “will” themselves to success. It almost never works. You can’t think a bad grade makes you a bad person. Have more respect for who you are than that.
Instead, make note of what you need to do. Develop an action plan for doing it. Rest easy knowing it’s there for you to consult, adjust, and enact as needed. Then, watch some baseball or a movie or television show you really want to see. Otherwise, you could end up frying your mental circuits, thus making the problem even worse than before.
Failing a Class Is Not the End of the World
Above all, try to remember that failing a class is not the end of the world. True, it can be the start of a downward spiral that’s hard to stop. But you now know how to deal with that possibility. Consult the list above regularly, and put it to work for you.
Now it’s your turn, readers. What are some tips that helped you overcome failing a class? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons]