Failing anything in life generally, to put it simply, sucks.
Failing a uni course, in particular, is especially painful, because a lot of the time, there’s no one else to blame besides ourselves.
Whether it was a generic case of poor time management, underestimating how long it’d take to do a major assignment and slopping something together last minute, or just not asking for help when you didn’t understand certain concepts, it can be a bit of a dump on the ole’ self-esteem.
I know this because I am one of the many who experienced majorly messing up and failing during my time at uni, multiple times. Still, I’ll give you a little insight into my most glaring display of stupidity.
Basically, I had finished an assignment before the due date for the first time ever, for a Digital Cultures course I was taking in my second year. I was so chuffed with myself. However, 4 weeks later, when semester had ended, I went to check all my scores and saw a big fat N/A where my mark should’ve been for the subject.
Confused, I clicked into it, where it revealed a big fat “Failure to meet course requirements” notice. I went to check the feedback on my assignment via the submission platform, and there was nothing to be seen. I checked my emails for a non-existent submission receipt, and it dawned on me what had happened. The way my heart dropped into the pit of my stomach truly hit different.
Alas, I lived to tell the tale. I emailed my tute immediately explaining the situation. However, I did have to retake the subject to make up the course requirements. It was tedious and long, but it was a lesson well learnt (and needed).
Luckily for you, there is a tonne of help available if you are struggling with a course, options at your fingertips to up your knowledge in certain areas, and the chance to potentially fast-track your degree even if you fail a subject, so here’s how to deal with the sitch.
Don’t Stress, It Happens
According to this study, between 23% and 52% of students in major academic areas like nursing, commerce and education failed at least one unit throughout their degree. Considering the sheer number of people who’ve completed those degrees, that’s a huge portion of students who fail subjects.
So, if it does happen – do not stress, it’s common and normal to fail. It’s almost as much a part of the ‘uni experience’ as pas-ag group assignment members and having family members question what exactly you ‘plan to do’ with your degree.
Let’s face it. Tertiary education is hard. Juggling life commitments, work, study and squeezing in sleep somewhere is an intense juggle, and sometimes it gets the best of us. While getting frustrated and upset is totally warranted, shaking it off and using the experience as an opportunity to grow and learn is the most effective way of dealing with it all.
Get In Touch With Your Tute ASAP
Your tute will not judge you for having failed their subject. They’ve seen literally thousands of students come through who’ve failed or taken missteps throughout the education journey, so I can assure you won’t feel embarrassed.
Get in touch with them ASAP, and get them to help you figure out your plan of attack for smashing the course next time around. Ask for pointers on where you’ve misunderstood tasks, further reading available and if there’s any extra assistance you may not have known about.
I’m sure they’ll be stoked to see how passionate you are about your degree and will be more likely to go give you the help you need if they see you ~actually~ care about what you’re studying. Not to mention, tutes are also a great way to network yourself into the biz of your picking, so getting on their good side and showcasing your determination and grit is a surefire way to prime yourself for future opportunities they may present.
Use It As An Opportunity To Learn
A lot of the time, it’s not actually the content of the subject that you’re missing – it’s the approach you’re taking to completing tasks that could be the root of the problem. Essay writing, deconstructing questions and taking exams don’t come naturally to everyone, so it could be that you require a little work in that area.
The best part about this all is things like communication, critical thinking and effective writing are all skills required to thrive in the workplace. Slipping up on them in uni is the best time to do it because there’s no massive real-world consequence like getting fired/ peeving off your boss at stake.
Consider Catching Up Over Summer
If you’re looking to get your degree over with pronto, applying for Summer course could be the way to go. Don’t worry, you won’t be giving up your summer-fun altogether, you’ll be multitasking with decisions that’ll benefit your future.
Through Open Universities Australia, you can enrol in subjects from leading Australian universities, which can be credited towards your degree (you’ll just need to apply through your uni). There are thousands of subjects to choose from and they’re all available to study online – so you can fit it around your summer plans.
Most Importantly, Don’t Give Up
It can be tedious and disheartening to fail a subject but don’t give up. You’ve come this far and mustering up the courage to even partake in further education takes a tonne of chutzpah in itself, so it’d be a bit of a waste to throw it all away.
There’s heaps of help on offer, and it’s better to swallow your pride and get it over with rather than moping over taking an L. Take a second to breathe, suss your options and know that what’s happening if the furthest thing from the end of the world.
After all, you survived 2020, didn’t you?