Being Nicer to Yourself After a Bad Grade

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Midterm season is in full swing, and it can get incredibly stressful in the weeks between spring break and finals. It’s important to remind yourself that grades don’t define you, and with the added stress of the past few years, exams are now a harder adjustment than ever.

It’s okay to mess up! And it’s okay to not ace every test. Here are some recommendations for how you can start treating yourself better, because a healthy mindset will bring better grades with it!

Resting Your Body
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First and foremost: sleep. It’s difficult to stress just how important sleep is for a healthy lifestyle. Contrary to popular belief, sleep is not for the weak. As much as college life doesn’t encourage it, sometimes sleep really should be prioritized above schoolwork. Additionally, when you’re tired, you stop being productive and start getting distracted. Your memory doesn’t function as well, so your late-night cram session won’t even pay off in the long-run.

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: exercise. It’s hard to advertise exercise as a benefit to mental health without thinking of the quote from “Legally Blonde,” but why not roll with it? Elle Woods said it best: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” While, of course, the last part is a bit off-topic, the rest is very true. Exercising is a great way to lift your mood after it is brought down by a grade.

Now, the first part of this is a bit of a given, but we really want to highlight the importance of a good shower and face mask combo. There’s nothing quite like that feeling of stepping out of the shower fully refreshed. But when you add that nice, clean skin after a face mask, it’s practically the holy grail. And that rewarding feeling can absolutely make you feel better about a bad grade — it can even translate into productivity if you let it!

Recharging Your Mind
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Something that’s really important that people don’t really think of enough is giving yourself breaks. Of course, we’re not talking about the kind of break where you procrastinate by scrolling through TikTok. We mean the kind of break where you take the time to enjoy your life and allow yourself a moment to relax. Not every second of your college life needs to be a balance between working and socializing — just breathe and take a few moments to yourself every now and then.

Something you may choose to do in those moments is meditation. Especially after reflecting so negatively on yourself and your grades, it’s important to reconnect and reground your psyche. Positive affirmations really can work, and you won’t know how unless you try!

The last bit of advice VALLEY wants to give is perhaps the most important; really, it’s a vibe check. Think about it — will this matter in 10 years? Five? Even one? No. Don’t sweat it. No future employer is going to ask you what grade you got on your third exam in some hyper-specific class during one particular semester of college. Your transcript can take the heat, and so can you.

Let us know how you rest and recharge after a disappointing grade by tagging us, @VALLEYmag, on Twitter!


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