Let’s Talk About that Time I Failed a Course

We're finally heading into finals season friends, that time of year where we anxiously look at our exam schedules either on ACORN or faculty websites.

It's a time where the libraries are packed with students huddled over laptops trying to get as prepared as they can. We all try our hardest during finals and unfortunately, it doesn't always turn out the way we hope or the way we expect.

Sometimes we fail courses. I mean, I have.

What Happened

It was second year, still pre-COVID so I was full-time in person. It was a statistics class from 6:00 - 9:00pm and I hated the class mostly because I had to commute home afterwards and wouldn't get home until almost midnight some days. There were three assessments for the course, two of which I did fairly well on. However what counted the most was the final exam.

The final exam was on a Saturday morning, I spent more time stressing about how I would get to the exam rather than preparing for it. Since my line on the GO Train (Kitchener Line) doesn't run on the weekends, I would have to bus to the subway and then take that to school. In the end, I prepared my notes, went over lessons and I studied as hard I could. I calculated the mark I would need to ensure I passed the course, and I aimed to get that. It was a multiple choice exam - how bad could it be?

Very bad apparently.

FAIL over a multiple choice exam .
FAIL over multiple choice test - taken from CollegeCareerLife.net

The Aftermath

When marks came out in January, I saw that I failed by 2% -- I felt heartbroken. I didn’t get out of bed for days, it was the first time in my entire life that I actually failed something. When I looked at my grades on ACORN, I couldn't pay attention to my good grades all I saw was that F staring at me.

I thought it was the end of everything, I convinced myself that my GPA would never recover.

Looking back on it now, I wish I could tell myself that it would be okay, and that one failing grade would not stop me from achieving my goals all I had to do was take the course again and that my GPA would be perfectly fine. I’m still on track to graduate in June and I'm still confident in applying to grad school. 

The reason I'm writing this is not to scare you, it's to let you know that it's okay to fail. You will still be able to succeed, in fact without that failing grade I probably wouldn't be as resilient. Failing is part of success.

If you are still worried about the possibility of failure, U of T has a bunch of options for students and I would highly recommend booking an appointment with your college or faculty registrar to explore them.

I survived my first failure, and I am sure if you ever have to, you will too.

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