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Failure shouldn’t be feared

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I got a D- on my first APUSH quiz today.

Grades that are below a C are considered “failures.” So, I failed a quiz in school today. I wasn’t shocked, angry, mad, or sad about it. I didn’t feel a heavy disappointment course through my veins as I refreshed PowerSchool and saw the grade. I didn’t immediately cry or get angry at myself. I was shocked, for sure, to see such a low grade amongst some other high ones; but I didn’t see it as a failure.

Today, I saw a D- as an opportunity to push myself to study a different way or be more engaged in class. Today, I saw a D- as a splash of cold water in the face to abruptly wake me up from my current study habits. Today, I saw a D- as the lowest grade I would allow myself to get so I can only go up from here.

It’s a lot more satisfying to gradually improve than it is to maintain a good grade. It’s so rewarding to look back at the beginning of the semester and see the progress that was made by the end. Progression is gratifying, and to progress, you have to start with failures.

A successful life is built out of frequent failures. Thomas Edison, the man who invented the light bulb, said: “I failed my way to success.” There’s no way you can possibly succeed in life without initially failing, which is a scary thought. But it doesn’t have to be. Failure shouldn’t be scary because it is inevitable.

Failure is looked at as a negative because it means a lack of success. But, one D- doesn’t mean I’m not successful in school, let alone life. That one bad grade doesn’t- no, can’t- reflect how hard I work in school or how successful I am or one day will be.

A failed quiz can often lead to harsh thoughts about self-worth or effort in school because the seemingly terrible letter grade is screaming “you failed” as loud as it can. It’s hard not to get down on yourself or compare your scores to others, but it’s important to know that your personal best is completely different than someone else’s.

You are the same person one minute before receiving a bad grade and one minute after receiving it.

In the second it takes you to look at “failure” in the shape of a single letter from the alphabet, you do not change one bit. Your self-worth should not waver, and your success as a student doesn’t decline, no matter how much you think it might. Only you know how hard you can work to get the best grades possible, and those grades could be very different from the person sitting across the room from you.

Failure is often seen as the monster under your bed or the frightening figure lurking behind you. What if failure was your best friend? I’m not in any way suggesting that failure is something to strive for, but when it comes your way it should be viewed as an opportunity to better yourself.

You should not be terrified of getting a bad grade because those failures pave the road, brick by brick, to your ultimate success.

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Failure shouldn’t be feared