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Oct 16 2017
by Syeda Anjum

Reacting to Your First Bad Exam Grade as told by Parks and Rec. Characters

By Syeda Anjum - Oct 16 2017

Once you realize that two or three exams could actually make up the bulk of your grade, the anxiety for acing the first test gets real. When the first test doesn't quite fit our expectations, we might end up spiraling into a mess which only the characters of Parks and Recreation can explain.  

1. Watching other students get their test back before you. 

Just watching everyone's eyes widen gave me a mini panic attack. I was already beginning to imagine the worst case scenario. I thought things could not get worse, except things could indeed get much worse.

2. When you finally get your test back. 

At this point, you might be going through mixed emotions. For the most part, it's a debate between being shocked by how little you actually knew or being offended by your professor's grading scale. Either way, the thought of doing so poorly seemed unfathomable, and it could easily make anyone question their capabilities.

3. Visiting the Online Calculator 

After receiving a bad grade, you may be itching to calculate what you'd have to get on the other exams to pass the class. The online grade calculator is both the best and the worst technological creation known to any college student. Even worse, students end up forgetting that homework and participation also get factored in, so that D isn't exactly 33% of their average.

4. Realizing you might have to get a 110% on the final. 

Okay this might be stretching things too far, but the online calculator will do strange things to your reasoning. After getting back that first exam, it's easy to assume that you'll do just as worse on upcoming ones. Now you're left wondering how on earth could you possibly readjust your average.

5. Asking for Extra Credit 

You've opened up another tab on Google Chrome, ready to shoot an email to your professor begging for extra credit. Then, you stop to wonder if that's such a good idea. Would the professor judge you for being desperate too soon? At least you wouldn't be waiting last minute to boost your average, right? 

6. Thinking nothing could possibly faze you now. 

The general thought process: "Well I essentially failed this test, so I've essentially failed the class. Now I've essentially failed college, meaning I won't get a job. It can't get much worse than this!" Classes could be canceled for all you care; it'd still be hard to shake off that pessimistic feeling.

7. Starting an Existential Crisis

It's impossible not to have an emotional outburst after seeing a totally unexpected grade. It also ends up hurting even more after pulling an all-nighter to study. Just let it all out of your system and hopefully you'll be good to go after an hour or two.

8. Waking up from your post-exam depression nap. 

Sure, you're not screaming or crying anymore, but that pain is still there. Now is the time to take a hard look at what went wrong, even if it leads to another emotional collapse. At least now you've fully recuperated from that breakdown. 

9. Having a reality check on your study habits.

Maybe rereading the textbook isn't the best idea or binge-watching crash course videos the night before. Neither strategy is going to help retain everything. Still, it's definitely worth looking over sample problems from class lectures and homework assignments. This is a great time to re-examine old study habits

10. Getting Over What Happened 

After having the chance to work things out, you can have high hopes of tackling new material. The next exam shouldn't come as a surprise this time, so you'll have better control over class material. Basically, we should all get our lives together like Chris. 

Everyone's prone to receiving a bad grade and that's completely fine. Just remember that there's always room for improvement. After all, one bad grade won't be the end of your college career.

Lead Image Credit: Unsplash

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Syeda Anjum - Barnard College

Syeda Anjum is a freshman at Barnard College of Columbia University majoring in film studies with the pre-med track. She is a huge Harry Potter fan and she loves to spend her time tutoring kids. Syeda's hobbies include trying to maintain a bullet journal, watching gameplays on YouTube, and snuggling with cats.

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