The grade wasn’t entered into Sakai yet, but you know you’re getting the test back today. You see that white stack of papers at the front desk, and you know this is the moment of truth. The professor starts handing them out upside down and awkwardly folded because God forbid the other students discover who studied correctly and who didn’t.
You look around the room at the students who you can tell just had their days either made or who are already emailing the professor about getting extra help at office hours.
Here we go. The professor hands you your exam, you peek at the front, and you see a big fat “F” written in what might as well be your blood at the top of the page – we’ve all been there.
Taking the loss, or commonly referred to as “the L,” is something all college kids have experienced, and if someone tells you they haven’t it’s because their “L” stands for “Liar.” An “L” can apply to anything, but something most college kids have all had to take is an academic “L.”
The first step to accepting an “L” is coming to terms with the fact that sometimes you’re going to come across a loss. Whether it be failing a test or bombing a presentation, “L’s” happen to everyone. Don’t expect to finish your college career without them. Even if that anatomy exam that required three Red Bulls and a million flashcards didn’t go as planned, at least now you know what study habits worked and didn’t work, and you can move on.
The next step is to take it like a champ. After going through the appropriate sulking period, it’s time to get back in the game. The best way to ensure only “W’s,” or wins, from here on out is by talking to the person who creates your test, a.k.a. the person with all the power: your professor.
Take advantage of those office hours, and explain your situation to them. Professors don’t bite, and if they see you’re putting in effort, that might be the extra one percent you need to get your grade from a B to an A at the end of the semester.
Try to resist the temptation to calculate the minimum percentage necessary to get a decent grade in the class or only focus on one assignment at a time. Sometimes you’ll get lucky with a surprise extra credit assignment or a dropped test or quiz when grades are due.
Remember “L’s” are inevitable, especially in college. Thinking about how to create an underdog story for yourself to make a comeback is just as important as trying to avoid the unavoidable all together.
Rapper Big Sean said it best: “Last night took an “L,” but tonight I bounce back.”
You can bounce back, too.