Grieving Over Grades

During this time of the year final, exams wrap up and final grades become posted. That means a bit of excitement or sadness for some students, especially ones like me whom have unreasonably high standards. When getting an end-of-term grade, you go through a wave of emotions, which can be difficult to handle and long lasting if not dealt with properly.


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The first hurdle to deal with is the moment when you leave the final exam. At that exact minute, you probably are obsessing over questionable questions or the chirping of other students who confidently explain how they solved a problem. You might begin thinking they could be wrong especially when they do not agree with you, but then you might ask yourself later if they were right. Of course, this happens multiple times. Then one might have the calculator out to estimate what score they may need to get an A, B, and so on while trying to link that percentage to the test and the questions they think they had gotten wrong. This process happens in a repetitious manner addressing all the scenarios and resulting grades leading to a great deal of worry. Finally, the student in question gets their final grades and either jumps for joy, feels the result was simply solid, or hangs their head in disgust of their performance. In my opinion, school should not be such an emotional roller coaster and maybe will become more refined in the future, but to deal with the current educational system of universities such as the University of Illinois, here are some quick tips.


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To start, just take each test/final exam one at a time and do not think big picture. I know this is contrary to what is usually told where one should look ahead, but in doing so, the fear of one mistake ruining a semester diminishes. Second, just do your best on your finals and make sure you simply go with you gut instinct. This resolves the “I should have done (Fill in the blank)” factor because you can tell yourself that you did the only thing you would have on the exam and anything else, right or wrong, was not a possibility with your current perspective during the exam. Lastly, remember that grades are relative and do not completely express who you are. Those that talk about their GPA or express its importance in graduate school are just the people who feel they do not have any other strong credentials. The best thing to do here at the University of Illinois is be the best person you can be in clubs, internships, and research, etc. so that you can show you are more than your grades. With these concepts in mind, one should feel less stressed over scores, and as a result, probably perform better without the distraction of nerves.


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And so, the main idea is to not panic during the semester and especially finals week because they are not the definition of your life and doing so only makes things worse. Knowing your future depends on a plethora of things should lift your spirits and your academic performance, and it also can make recovery from a bad class quickly done since instead of asking yourself what you could have changed. You will realize the magnitude of the problem is smaller than once perceived or just a small bump in the long road of life.



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