Nobody and moreover, no student, is a stranger to failure, whether it be a low grade, a failed test or assignment, or a rejected college application. Each individual has methods with which they cope (or do not cope) with their struggles and differing views of failure. It is important to understand that failure can be both subjective — when you fall short of personal standards — and objective, when it is decided by a standard. However, given the inevitability of failure, it is critical to adopt a healthy mindset when you stumble. Here are several scenarios of failure and how to manage them calmly and responsibly.
When faced with a small failure such as a lower mark than expected or a failed grade on one assignment or test, remind yourself that these failures are minor in the grand scheme of things. If this failure occurs early on in the school term, continue to work hard in order to do well on your future schoolwork. Even better, ask if you can complete a make-up test or rewrite the assignment if possible. Although the resulting grade may not be as high as you would ideally earn or prefer, it should be better than your initial mark.
In the event that you suffer a failure on a larger scale such as a failed exam, follow through with the same strategy as you would with a failed quiz: ask for a make-up exam if the option is available and if the failure is significant enough to warrant a second attempt. If not, come to terms with the fact that you have performed more poorly than you would have liked but that there are future opportunities for success. The same mentality applies to even major instances such as a failed or low overall grade on a given subject — acknowledge the failure but at the same time, realize that the chance to succeed is still a possibility.
The most harrowing failures in most students’ academic career include not graduating on time or receiving rejected applications from their college, university, or program of choice. In spite of the severity of these instances, even these situations can be surmounted. If you find yourself unable to graduate within an ideal time frame, complete the necessary work and take the crucial measures to ensure that you will eventually graduate. In this circumstance, it would be best to keep in correspondence with an academic advisor all the while. With regards to a failed university application, understand that this situation is hardly uncommon and unfamiliar to a number of students. In addition, most universities will often accept multiple applications. Do not be afraid to inquire the admissions office about which requirements you may have been unable to fulfil or the reason for your rejection and if you are still persistent, you can always apply a second time in the future.
Regardless of the severity of your failures, the key mentality to maintain in response to falling short is to examine what happened or where you went wrong, identify the issue(s) that caused you to fail, and prevent them from occurring in the future. It is also necessary to accept that as undesirable as failure is, it is a normal part of life and that being upset in response to failure is equally as normal (in fact, you should probably be concerned if you are indifferent to failure). In the same vein, try to understand your own feelings about failure: while distress is an almost automatic reaction, bear in mind that very little success happens without failure — as a quick Google search of famous failures will suggest — but moreover, that failure can serve as a learning opportunity for you to face your mistakes and better still, overcome them.