So, you didn’t do well on a midterm. Maybe you studied for days in advance and felt super confident in the material. Maybe you didn’t study a bit and went in cold. Regardless of what led up to this grade, unfortunately, there’s not much you can do now… about the grade itself, at least. While I completely understand the urge to switch majors or drop out of college, there are other ways to recover from a bad midterm grade.
Don’t silently wonder what you did wrong. The first thing I like to do after getting a midterm grade back is talk to the professor or TA for the class. You may not be able to change your grade, but you can certainly learn from your past mistakes so that you perform better on the next test. By going to talk to your grader, you’ll also be proving that you truly care about the course, which they’ll definitely appreciate.
Don’t waste too much time dwelling. You can totally buy yourself a pint of ice cream and put on a feel-good movie while you process. We’ve all been there. And you know what, it’s okay to do that for a little while. It’s okay to sit in your disappointment and feel all of your feelings in full. It’s just not okay to get stuck there.
Don’t do anything impulsive. I may or may not have seriously considered getting a tattoo and/or dying my hair pink after I didn’t do as well as I wanted to on my first midterm. That impulse lasted less than 24 hours, and I’m glad I didn’t act on it. As tempting as it may be, there’s definitely no need to drop the class or transfer to A&M. You will recover.
Don’t stagnate your study habits. If you didn’t do well on a midterm, there’s probably something you can change about the way you’re studying. Maybe try forming a study group or starting your review a few days earlier. College is all about learning and growing, so try out new study techniques and find out what works best for you.
Don’t give up! Failing a midterm or not meeting your expectations for a midterm grade doesn’t mean there’s no hope for getting your target overall grade in the class. It also doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail out of college and not succeed in your future career. One bad midterm grade doesn’t define you as a student or a person.
We’ve all been there. At one time or another, all of us have experienced failures. Accepting those failures is hard, but they can be taken as an opportunity to grow. It’s important to shift our mindset and view failures for what they are: learning moments.