Recently I got a “bad” mark. What happened was that I got a mark that was below my usual standard. This got me thinking. We all have standards of what we consider to be “good” marks. But, what happens when we don’t get what we hoped for or expected? In my case, I was upset, began questioning myself, and I entered a negative state of mind. While this seems like irrational behaviour, it’s an emotional reaction that most of us share. So, how do we get out of this pessimism? The aim is to change your reaction to the disappointment. If you diffuse the sense of failure and embrace a sense of self-confidence, then you can bounce back from disappointment. Here are some strategies:
Let it be: “STEP AWAY FROM THE PAPER” (alarms sounding off in the background). You need to give yourself space from what is ailing you. If I look at the paper that I didn’t do well on, or even work on stuff for the same coarse, I become plagued with dissatisfaction. Give yourself a breather. Maybe relax, or work another course. I find a few days works best. When I do return to the same coarse, I don’t feel as stressed, and I can focus on it with a sense of knowing that I can do well.
Remember the “good times.” Take a stroll down your memory and recall the times you did do as well as you expected. Remember how happy you were about your successes, and know you are capable of more in the future. Most importantly, these memories will let you remember that you are capable of great marks.
Understand where you went wrong. If you say to yourself, “why did I get this mark?” you need to go to your professor and ask, otherwise your confusion will make things worse. Your professor will not only tell you what happened, but give you advice on how to avoid it in the future. In addition, try to see for yourself what went wrong in terms of your work ethic or circumstances. Did you pull an all nighter? Did you miss a class on which you were tested? Assess your self, and see if you can change anything in the future.
Get into a positive mindset. Talk to yourself (in your head, unless you don’t mind people thinking you have ghosts as friends) and say that one poor mark doesn’t overshadow all of your hard work. I find that if I dwell on one mark it brings not only my attitude down, but I can’t focus on my other courses. Even worse, I start to think I won’t do well in my other courses. Try to refocus your energy on doing well in the future, rather than dwelling on the past. Positivity breeds positivity. If you can be optimistic on even one of your courses, it will spill into your other ones. That one assignment is one of many. School is full of opportunities to do well. Don’t let one mark define you.