Coping With Failure – Can You?

No one likes to do badly, especially if you’ve put in time and effort and expected a good grade. However, everyone has off days, and targets can be missed without even knowing it. For this reason, coming to terms with the idea of failing – or not doing as well as you wanted – is something you should work on. We don’t want you to accept the idea of doing badly, as there’s always room for improvement, but you need to be prepared so if the worst does happen, you don’t end up retreating into a circle of giving up, resentment and self-doubt.

First of all, remember that it’s not the end of the world. Doing badly in an exam or a piece of work can be disheartening and crushing, but it won’t have ruined everything. Sometimes it’s just a case of having to do better in another module, so if this is the case, dedicate more of your time to pushing your marks up in areas you know you can do well in, as well as studying harder for subjects you’re unsure of. However, if this bad mark means you won’t get into the university or college you’re applying for, or drags your grades down too far to be lifted by up better marks, it’s easy to feel like everything’s been ruined. Before you sink into this state of mind, remember that retakes are fine: there’s no rule saying that you have to go to university straight away, and sometimes taking a year out to revise and retake can be better – and just think of the money you can earn to get you through your first year!

Don’t keep it bottled up: no one expects you to have everything sorted all of the time. If you need help, support or guidance, ask for it. There are many organisations around that can help you deal with not getting the grades you wanted. Similarly, UCAS are extremely useful when it comes to getting advice about clearing, as well as deferring years and negotiating with universities. You’d be surprised how many people worry about failing, or are secretive about the results they get, so don’t be afraid to open up and tell friends that you aren’t happy with what you got. Sometimes having a laugh and sharing your concerns is enough to lift the burden off your shoulders.

If you keep tripping over the same subject, and don’t improve, it’s worth considering changing something. This might be something as small as how much time you dedicate to revision, homework and background study, or as large as switching courses. As long as you decide early enough, or are prepared to retake a year, changing courses or swapping subjects is a worthwhile decision if you feel you aren’t cut out for it. Similarly, altering how you revise and how much time you spend on a subject you do badly in can work wonders. Find as much extra help as you can: this could be anything from speaking to your teacher at lunch, organising study sessions with a friend, or upping your hours with your tutor. Either way, there’s no harm in saying you were wrong about a subject choice, and changing to something you’ll do better in.

Feeling like a failure is horrible, and no one wants to admit when they’ve done less than well, but bottling it up and taking it out on yourself is always more harmful than opening up and getting help. It’s a big step, but it’s one that you’ll remember for the rest of your life – and there’ll be many more mistakes to face in the future!

Written by JC (Guest Blogger)

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