Overcoming that first crushing grade
There I was, just weeks into a three-year university degree, dreary eyed and ready to fall asleep when a notification flashed across my phone…from my tutor. My first grade has been marked. Nervous and excited, I logon and check my grade. I’m crushed. Immediately, my head fills with negative thoughts. ‘I am not good enough for this,’ ‘I told you this was a stupid idea’, ‘You’re not smart enough’, ‘You’re not going to be able to do this’. Despondent, I turned over and fell asleep with a heavy heart, my partner oblivious to my pain snoring beside me.
#1 Know you are not alone, reach out!
I didn’t want anyone to know because it felt so shameful but as a day or two went by, I reached out to friends, family and my partner. To my surprise, they all laughed at my apparent overreaction to a ‘little bump in the road’ and regaled me with stories of their own setbacks, urging me to keep going. As the days rolled on after I had opened myself up to my personal support network, it radically changed my perspective and gave me a fighting spirit. If you find you need more support, there is also the Griffith counselling and wellbeing service that you can call, text or book an online appointment with who can give you strategies to deal with these setbacks.
#2 Talk to your tutors and fellow students
We’ve all said it in our heads. I’ve even heard a brave few students say it aloud. That little nagging voice of discouragement. ‘Oh, I don’t want to be a bother, it is just a stupid question anyway, it’ll just annoy them’. I get it, we students feel discouraged to ask tutor’s questions about our grades for fear of ‘being annoying’ or ‘upsetting the apple cart’. Don’t be! I wasn’t! And I couldn’t be happier that I did. Each time I felt the need to ask a question or to clarify something big or small, tutors were more than happy to help.
The online discussion boards are a great place to start because fellow students can join in. It extended my support network and made the online learning experience richer. It clarified what I wasn’t sure about and helped me learn. Through asking questions I found many other students sharing their online journey who recounted similar stories of their first crushing grade. It united us with a sense of comradery, even if we were studying thousands of miles apart.
There are also a bunch of formal review and appeal processes that the University has in place to assist you if you don’t get joy from talking about your assessment with your tutor.
#3 Kick the post grade blues and checkout Thrive Online
Okay, so you’re passed the initial crush. You realise you’re not alone and you’ve got your family, friends and support network to guide you through. You’ve found your fellow students in the same boat with your tutors at the helm, but now it’s time to kick that crushed feeling for good. There is a tonne of material on the Griffith Thrive Online website that I wish I had known about during my first crushing grade. The Thrive Online website caters to online students and has stories, advice and articles on almost anything you can think of as you navigate your way through your degree. Check it out and start to thrive.
#4 Remember, a good journey starts with a single step, even if you’ve stubbed your toe
My first crushing grade was a milestone in my journey. It was the first of many setbacks that I conquered by knowing that tomorrow is another day. Your confidence will grow over the journey and the crush will be swept away by that sweet feeling of accomplishment. Hang in there and learn to enjoy the ebbs with the flows but never, ever give up! Trust me, the crush is worth it in the end.
By Sam Daniels