Monday, July 6, 2020

Column: Why failing a class doesn't define me

August 29, 2019
<p>Design by Daena Faustino.</p>

Design by Daena Faustino.

amb-headshots2019-13

When I told my family, friends and peers that I had failed microeconomics this summer, no one believed me. I’ve never failed a class before. In fact, I’ve never even come close to failing a class before.

I decided to take EC 201: Introduction to Microeconomics during the first session of the summer semester. I need this class to complete my journalism major, which I still don’t understand. If I don’t understand economics during the course of my career as a journalist, I’ll just ask questions. That’s the job.

Anyway, after six long weeks and several study sessions with one of my best friends who is an economics major, I discovered I had failed the class.

I took it online, which was probably not the best decision. I took it during a six-week period, which was also probably not a good decision. I also took it while I was balancing two different jobs — being the editor-in-chief of The State News and an usher at The Wharton Center. Again, not the ideal scheduling decision.

I’m approaching my senior year at Michigan State. In high school and my earlier college years, I would legitimately cry if I got anything below a 4.0. Let’s just say I’ve changed a lot.

But I haven’t become less responsible. I haven’t begun to care less about my grades or education. I’ve actually changed for the better. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s probably not healthy to cry and feel like a failure over a bad grade. I tried my best in the situation I was in — balancing two jobs with school, in addition to all of the other things that happen in life.

Failing microeconomics this summer didn’t hold me back from anything. It might have reconfirmed that I have terrible math skills, but it’s not going to define me. I continued to have a productive summer, and I even took three more classes during the second summer session — classes which I didn’t fail.

The 0.8% I was away from passing might have haunted me for a week or so — because the thought of retaking the class was unsettling — but I’m okay now. And if you’ve ever failed a class before, you’re okay too.

As soon as I failed the class, I started talking to other students. Turns out, I’m not the only journalism major who has done poorly in microeconomics. I knew that I wasn’t alone.

It truly happens to the best of us. People I look up to have failed classes before. Life happens, and math is hard.

I might have “failed” my microeconomics class, but I don’t feel like I actually failed. Failing this class showed me that grades aren’t important defining features. Maybe I’ve prided myself on getting good grades in the past, but I shouldn’t have to prove myself by getting only 4.0’s throughout my entire educational career. That’s just too much. That’s a lot of years.

I can pride myself on the accomplishments I’ve made beyond the classroom. I can be proud of myself for balancing so much as a student and for dedicating my time to the things I think are important.

Also, I’ve turned this situation into a story. Like, I wouldn’t have been able to write a column for other students to relate to if I hadn’t failed microeconomics. 

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