Column: Don't let straight A pressure discourage you
Jose Gardea studies for a final on Dec. 3, 2016. Students often feel pressure and stress to do well in classes.
As college students, we all feel the weight of grades, as the pressure to get A’s each semester can cause significant stress. We often fear the judgement that might come from others for not getting A’s; after all, we don’t want anyone to think that we’re not smart or working hard.
While getting the occasional B or C does have an effect on your GPA, it’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean that you’re not intelligent or capable. It doesn’t define who you are as a person.
We all have those classes that require inordinate amounts of homework and reading. They push us to approach a subject from all angles, sometimes requiring us to develop different learning methods to grasp the material.
It’s a struggle that college students face on a regular basis.
When we feel like we’re trying our best, but our grades don’t reflect our effort, we get discouraged. We may even lose the motivation to get A’s in some classes, settling instead for passing. It stings when a professor says that we have potential yet we still struggle. We may even feel that the professor pities us, which can make us feel even worse.
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Support from friends, family and professors can help college students feel less discouraged by “bad” grades. Even though we might not be doing as well as we would like, being reminded that we’re still capable and having our efforts noticed can make a world of a difference.
If you’re not seeing A’s on your papers, ask your professor why you got the grade you did. Professors can offer you guidance that can help when writing papers. Go to their office hours and ask them to read your rough drafts — they will be more than willing to help you! They want you to succeed. Your grades are largely dependent on how much effort you put into the class, so make the effort to go to office hours if you’re struggling.
I didn’t get straight A’s during my first semester of college. I was still adjusting to my new settings and the new demands of me as a student.
In high school, I heard that college professors didn’t care about their students, that it was up to me to learn the material and determine what professors expected. That’s a myth.
After my first year of college I felt discouraged that I didn’t earn straight A’s, so I decided to make a change.
Starting my sophomore year, I met with my professors frequently and asked more questions during class — questions that I’m sure many other students thought of as well but were too shy to ask.
After changing my approach, I saw an improvement in my grades. I became satisfied with how well I was doing. Because I was doing better overall, I found that I wasn’t as stressed during finals. I wasn’t as worried about getting a certain score on a final exam to do well in the class.
It’s not a tragedy if you don’t get straight A’s. Give your classes your best effort and you’ll be able to accept the grades you get.
What ultimately matters in college is that you pass your classes and continue working toward your degree.
Don’t be embarrassed just because your peer got an A and you didn’t. Instead, remind yourself that you did the best that you could and focus on strategies that could help you in future classes.
Just remember that you have to be your own advocate and take control of your education. Continue to work hard, take your studies seriously and you’ll surely succeed.
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