You might have seen the video I posed about failing a course in engineering.
I speak from experience when I say even if you don't get good grades at first or even fail a course, you can do better.
In my first year of studying civil engineering in my second semester, I failed computer programming. Then in my 4th year last semester, I graduated with honours.
A lot of smart "A students" in high school go into university and start getting Cs and Ds. That can be slap in the face and extremely demotivating.
I want to talk about what I did that helped me do better in university.
If you have my guide, I write about this in more detail in Chapter 2 "If I don't get an A, am I still smart?"
So here we go, here's what I did that helped me get back on track after failing a course:
1. Calm down.
It's an awful feeling to wait for your grades to come out only to see that big F in your transcript. You feel upset, helpless, scared, and lost. On top of that, your confidence is crushed. The first thing you need to do is let out all your emotions. Cry, scream, talk to someone, do what you have to do. But after that, you need to calm down and think straight. You can't go back and fix the grade, so it's time to be logical and think of a solution.
2. Go speak to a counsellor.
Is this a course that you can retake? Can you continue to the next semester? Will you be on probation? How do you get yourself out of probation? For me, I could retake the course in the summer and continue with my next semester. But, I was put on probation. The way I could get myself out of probation was by getting an average above 70% two semesters in a row. It's so important to have this information so you know what your next step will be.
3. Ask professors for help.
I told my professors that I was on probation and needed to get 70% and above. They helped me by saying which chapters I needed to focus on or what past exams I should practise. I know it's hard to share with someone that you failed a course or that you're on probation, but people are willing to help.
4. Take easy electives.
There comes a time in 3rd year or 4th year where you can choose an elective. Pick the easier ones that will help you bump up your average. I took an "engineering leadership" course that was extremely useful and got an 80%.
5. It's not the end of the world, don't over think it.
We stress so much about grades that we forget about the big picture. In the end, a few years into your career, your grades won't even matter. Obviously you can't be failing all your courses and expecting a degree, but at the same time, don't get too hung up on a grade. There are many people out there who were average students but ended up being amazing at what they do throughout their careers. So don't let an F take away from your confidence.
Like I said before, I talk in much more detail about grades and many more important topics like dealing with stress and effective study tips in my guide.
If you need more tips for engineering students, click here to read my guide: