So, it’s been a couple of months since University has started, which means that a whole host of deadlines has probably passed and you’re just starting to get your marks back for them.
I got my first essay back a few days ago and let me tell you…I was not impressed with myself at all. I knew I struggled writing the essay, but I was still disappointed and surprised to get my mark back – I even cried a little bit, because I really thought that going into second year meant that I had the skills and knowledge from last year to help me with my coursework. But, after feeling sorry for myself for a good few hours, I thought: no, wait, this could be a good thing.
And do you want to know why?
Because it made me realise that I can only improve from here.
In first year, I was absolutely devastated with my first pieces of coursework, but after taking all of my essay feedbacks into consideration, I ended up finishing the year off with some 1st Class essays. (Which was a huge improvement from my 2:2 essays at the start of the year!)
My bad marks even pushed me into meeting up with my personal tutor to go over my essays, so that he could help me look at areas of improvement. This helped me so much, and I would have never thought to do it, if it weren’t for the pure frustration of getting a lower-than-expected mark. (Honestly, your personal tutor is your saving grace – go and visit them once in a while!!)
So, I guess the point I’m trying to make is that bad marks are not necessarily bad things. And no, this does not mean you shouldn’t try your hardest at every piece of coursework set out to you, I just mean that sometimes it’s okay to not be great at everything! This will allow you to learn from the experience and highlight the things that went wrong/well for your next assignment.
These are some of the steps I take when I get a disappointing mark back:
- Feel sorry for myself for a little while
- Assess the situation – I normally read through my whole essay and look at the marker’s feedback
- Write a list of things I should improve on for next time (or a list of things I should avoid doing)
- Have a discussion with my personal tutor
- Create a plan of action for the next piece of coursework
- And finally, accept that I can’t be 100% at everything, and that is OKAY. (and then maybe still feel a little bit sorry for myself later on)
Honestly, there is no need to panic when you do find yourself in this situation – everyone goes through it at some stage. I agree that it can be disheartening sometimes especially if you put a lot of work and effort into it, but personally, getting a bad score on an essay only fuels my interest even more and really helps me “get my head in the game”. It makes me realise that I still have so much to learn, and so many more skills to utilise – it really pushes me to go beyond the boundaries and do better.
And I hope it does the same for you.
See you all on the flipside!