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'Received a poor mark? Shake off that negativity'

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Getting module results which are below what you were expecting can be a blow to your confidence, self-esteem and sometimes, your outlook on life. It will certainly leave you questioning why on earth you bother.

Emily Bridges

And I should know because it happened to me this morning.

I discovered the mark I was given on a essay that I put my all into was ‘just not that great’.

That deep, gut-wrenching disappointment which makes you doubt yourself and the world you have surrounded yourself in took over.

Before opening the page online I had spoken to myself out loud, ordered myself not to be too excited or to expect anything amazing. But the number I was greeted with was well below even my most moderate, conservative estimate.

Don’t get me wrong, I am more than aware that I am no academic wizard but I had put everything into this piece of work, spent hours and hours triple-checking my 76 references. I even worked tirelessly for five hours to add to the 3500 word count on my birthday. I had heard my tutor was an infamously harsh marker, but this?!

It is now four hours after I found out my result and a haze of serenity has been drawn around me, like a comforting blanket on a cold winter’s night.

I feel at peace with my mark and of course know that it’s not the end of the world. However, I have had to drag myself through several stages of trauma to reach this state of tranquillity.

But now I have arrived at my final destination, the roundabout of inner peace, and I kind of like it here. It’s been a journey hard-fought but one that has taught me many things in the process through the following three stages:

Stage 1- Panic

My initial feeling after the discovery was one of panic: how will this affect my overall grade for this year? Quickly I scoured the internet looking for the calculation needed to work out a degree classification taking into account module credits.

It actually turned out to be quite simple: times each mark by the credit for that module, add all your results together then divide by the sum of the credit scores.

I concluded that, thanks to higher marks achieved on another essay and exam, my overall grade for the year was not too shoddy.

Immediately I felt a little better.

Stage 2- Reflection (including moaning)

Talking (or grumbling) to another individual who understands or might even share your pain is hugely beneficial.

I sought out my housemate, who had also received disappointing feedback, and we had a good half-hour rant. which definitely raised my spirits.

Stage 3- Distraction

Next I did something to take my mind off the disappointment and to raise my mood. I went for a nice long run, circling the park again and again.

After each lap I completed I felt a little less raw, a tad more positive and a lot more determined to continue with my hard work. I wouldn’t let this essay defeat me.

At some point in our lives we all fail at something we had strived to succeed in.

As gutting as this may feel, the important thing to focus on is that one bad result is not the be-all and endall.

Emily Bridges is a current student nurse

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Readers' comments (1)

  • That was me yesterday too! I did everything you did if you swap going for a run to going to the theatre (not hospital!) with my son. I had a disturbed night's sleep but have decided to give myself the weekend off studying in the hope that by the time I come back to it on Monday I will have resigned myself to the situation.

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