Introduction

Surviving setbacks: the end of the year

Surviving setbacks: the end of the year

I have now sunk to the lowest point a student can sink to. I have begged for marks.

I’m not quite sure how I got to this point. I think it was a result of four months in one of my Criminology classes, where I had been receiving an 78 percent all semester – on a paper plan, on the first test and on the second test. I was determined to get an 80 percent in the course, and with a final test and a paper worth 30 percent it seemed realistic.

I decide to really buckle down for the last stretch. I spoke to both the TA and the professor to make sure I understood the requirements and was on the right track. I handed in a paper plan for how to improve. I started studying and working early on the assignments. The 80 percent was really important because it would significantly help my GPA, which appears to be sinking unnervingly fast this semester. I worked 100 percent to ensure I would get an 80 percent.

Needless to say, when I went on Monday to pick up my marks and saw 77 percent and 78 percent on my final test and paper, respectively, something inside me broke. I stared at my professor, helpless, and said, “Isn’t there any way I can do some credit to boost my mark?” BAM! My tush hit the lowest floor a student can sink to – the begging floor.

Because I have been in the dark about my progress in each of my courses, it seems that every mark I get back is a setback from my goal of an A- average. In several of my courses much of my mark has yet to be determined. For example, in my Drama class, there is still 60 percent of my mark remaining. We handed in a paper on the last day of class worth 40 percent and I don’t know yet how I did. It’s exactly the same situation for one of my other Criminology classes – 70 percent of my mark is still undetermined and classes are over! By the time I get marks back, it’ll be too late to do anything to improve them. As a result, every mark back becomes a weight pushing me down. It feels a bit like I’m drowning.

As you can tell from my dark and twisty state, I am having more trouble than usual writing an inspirational last post. I looked to some of my previous posts for guidance – The Final Words for example – but somehow, I just can’t seem to get my blog on.

I guess, in many ways, how you deal with life stems from your attitude. A wise woman once said, “When you are on the Titanic, you load a lifeboat! You don’t stop to yell at the icebergs!” Okay, okay so the line comes from a TV show called Everybody Loves Raymond but hey, Debra has a point. When you feel you are sinking, it is best to do what you can rather than to lament over what you cannot.

Setbacks are something that you will experience not only as a student, but in the real world. And although it is frightening to step out of the bubble of university, many students don’t realize how well-prepared they are. I disagree when people patronizingly say things like university is a safe zone and the real world is different, because we have all been in the real world. We have all struggled to earn jobs, to learn skills like time management and dealing with stress, and most importantly, we are learning to deal with setbacks.

Setbacks. We face them everyday. Some cause us to stumble, others bring us to our knees. And along with pain and heartache, setbacks bring the opportunity to rise up, to be better and stronger and braver than before. Whether you are graduating or returning for another year of university, you will have the opportunity to prove yourself.

Have a wonderful summer, my lovely UpbeaT readers. I look forward to hearing all about your student experiences this September.

Cheers!

– Fariya

9 comments on “Surviving setbacks: the end of the year

  1. Hey RWAC!

    I’m not sure if I understand your question, but it seems like, so far, I am not succeeding to get my all As. But, the best I can do focus my energy on my upcoming exams, and aim for the best mark possible. Load the lifeboat right?

    Any tips on the last minute I-hope-I-do-amazing-on-exam fears?

  2. I think the question was: “Did you succeed in getting the marks you resorted to ahem begging for?”

    At least that’s my question. LOL. Not because I’ve done anything similar to that or anything……..nuh-uh.

  3. Hey Lucy

    As, I guess I misunderstood the question – thanks for the clarification!

    Unfortunately, the begging wasn’t helpful at all. I thought the worst the Professor would say is “No, sorry.” Instead, he said – rather uncharacteristically of him – “Students must accept the marks they get”.

    Ouch.

    I guess its a toss-up between a student wanting to improve their mark, or just being unhappy with what they have. Unfortunately, when 55% of your mark is coming back well after the last day of class, students are left in a lurch. I can’t do much to improve it, and I don’t know enough about my progress to know something needs improving.

    I know the university has a policy where students need to know a certain percentage of their mark before the drop date, but I think students should know at least sixty-percent of their mark before the last day of class. It just seems crazy that in one of my courses I have seventy-percent of my mark left to be determined.

    Anyone else been caught in this situation?

  4. Yeah for one of my courses (CHM327) I only know 34% of my marks lol

    There’s no final exam, and instead we did a poster presentation. The prof seemed pleased with our performance but it’s still scary thinking about how random the marking can be.

  5. Hey Richard!

    Wow, 34% is such a small percentage of your mark! Thats what makes me so nervous, I think – when the remainder of your mark is based on a poster presentation, or an essay, or an exam that isn’t multiple choice, there is a lot of subjectivity involved. Your mark really is up in the air, and although you may have ‘a feel’ for how you did, it is much more than your feelings, right?

    Good luck in your course!

  6. Hey Fariya

    Actually the poster presentation itself is only worth 22%, but the entire group project is 42%, and I’ve absolutely no idea how she is going to mark it.

    The rest of the marks are from lab performance, which of course we don’t know. Prof was nice enough to assign 5% of the marks as “peer evaluation” so pretty much everyone got that 5% freebie.

    Oh well, we’ll see what happens, I’m pretty sure I passed LOL

  7. Hey Richard,

    Wow, a group project of 42% is a bit intimidating, yeah? It makes me a bit nervous, and I am not even in the course!

    It seems like with the lab performance and the group project, a lot of your mark is up in the air!

    I’m glad you got the 5% freebie from peer evaluation. If I may say so, I find U of T students are not always so nice. I took psychology in my first year, and we had this peer-evaluation program. Most of the students didn’t mark easy! It was worth 10% (two assignments split into 5% each) and I think the class average was about what a U of T class average would be – like seventy-something. Because the assignments were each out of five, the majority of the marks sat between 3/5 and 4/5 – 60% or 80%. Big jump! At least your class had the decency to award the five percent!

    Most importantly, however, is that you pass. I am sure you passed too! Good luck!!

    Fariya

  8. Thanks Fariya, sorry should’ve clarified peer evaluation was from your own group members only.

    I have nothing but good things to say about my group (ok maybe they could’ve worked just a bit harder but w/e). I don’t think anyone else could’ve put up with me for that long, it’s also good that we were all nerds and well versed in internet culture so we understood each other perfectly. They were just hilarious, and it helped make everything more tolerable. I just couldn’t see myself giving them anything less than 5/5. I’m assuming from my prof’s email (“your team did an excellent job of working together”) that we all got 5/5. I could be wrong, but I highly doubt it.

    I think people are less nice when the class is big, and the stakes are higher. I mean, in a class of 300, you’d probably never know who marked your assignment. I guess without that personal connection, you see the assignment as an inanimate object, and peer evaluation as this task that you must (robotically) perform.

    When you work together with others for the entire semester and get to know them on a personal level, I think you become much more tolerant of their weaknesses, and instead you always try to focus on the good. For example one guy was a huge slacker and always came unprepared, but he was a very good team player, never bailed on us, and covered for me when I was too busy or sick to work on the project. I guess for me as long as I can tell the person is genuinely trying and taking responsibility for their assigned part then I’m happy.

    Ok I promise this is the last reply, thanks for reading all my comments and being encouraging. All the best with your exams, and remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*