So it’s come to this. You’re going to fail a class. Taking a fail is like taking a hypodermic needle shot. Once the initial shock wears off, you realize it isn’t as painful as you thought it would be, not to mention that all the cool kids are doing it.
First off, make sure it’s not a false alarm. You probably aren’t going to fail. In my opinion, it takes just as much effort to fail a course as it does to ace it. To earn that fearsome F, you would have to do absolutely no work whatsoever and not show up for a single class. Even attendance-based classes allow a significant margin for absence. If you at least show up and make feeble attempts at the assignments and exams, there’s no way you could fail. You’re probably going to get either a D or C, but even those are significant steps up when it comes to maintaining your GPA above academic probation.
So what do you do if you actually receive that fail? The best course of action is to get over it as quickly as possible. You aren’t the first person who’s failed and neither will you be the last. The stress you’re going through could even have been prevented if you were more aware of your grade status throughout the quarter. By properly exploiting pass/no pass grading options and drop deadlines, you can fail numerous classes and not worry about their effect on your GPA.
Some people feel embarrassed at the thought of taking a class a second or even a third time. You can always pretend it’s your first time and impress the hell out of your peers and TAs. The people that do know probably don’t care and neither should you, as long as you do whatever it takes to pass the next time around. Otherwise, you might want to consider switching majors. Maybe something that isn’t based on math or science.
The fear of failing stems from the possible consequences of receiving an F. Maybe you want to graduate with honors or better. Maybe it’s the first fail you’ve earned in your life and you can’t take that sort of rejection. Either way, you need a slap in the face because grades don’t matter anymore. There are only two reasons why they should. One is if you are trying to get into another educational institution. We all know by now that there’s more than one way of getting accepted.
The other is dependent on your relationship with your parents. If you have an understanding relationship with your parents, then go ahead and tell them that you’ve failed a class. They can probably relate with their own past experiences. However, if your parents are like the majority out there, they most likely are unwilling to forgive bad grades. Hell, they might even threaten to cut you off from their money supply. Your best bet is to either not tell them a thing or just flat out lie to them. If they persist on seeing proof, copy your grade chart from GOLD into Microsoft Word and do a little tampering. How could they possibly know what you got? The only way for that to happen is if you gave them your pin number to GOLD, and I honestly can’t understand the rationale for doing something stupid like that. Grow a spine and start becoming more independent from your parents.
So far what I’ve said accounts for a single potential fail. What happens if you’re struggling in multiple classes and are therefore in danger of either academic probation or worse, academic disqualification? You either get my applause for being a bigger slacker than I am or you get my sympathies if it was the result of something tragic. All I can suggest is to consider withdrawing or taking a break to get your life back together.
Remember that failing classes isn’t the same as failing life. There are more important issues to worry about like eating and breathing. The last thing a grown person needs to be doing is stressing over grades. Just be glad that you’re part of one of the most overly forgiving academic environments found in the world. God bless post-Cold War America.
Nexus Art Director Mark Batalla will most likely receive an angry letter from his parents this summer when they discover a strange Xerox mark on his report card.