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Disappointment and shame over Y2 semester 1 results

Disclaimer: This could definitely come across as stuck-up, arrogant, sheltered, entitled, etc. This is not my intention, but I'm feeling really awful and fragile right now and I feel like I need to talk about this and get advice without feeling shame. I will be mentioning grade percentages, but I am not implying that the grades I have gotten are objectively bad. This is more a personal issue of missing my own & other people's expectations and how to move on/improve.

Being academic, getting good grades and being 'smart' has been my identity since GCSEs. I never got below an A/7. Even in first year, where I felt myself falling into bad routines and study habits, I averaged with 75%. When I've tried talking about how I feel I still haven't figured out how to navigate studying at university, my mental health getting worse, etc, my family and university counsellor always say that I've always gotten good grades and this exam period shouldn't be any different. They think I'm just experiencing imposter syndrome. My counsellor literally scheduled our next appointment after results come out to 'prove' that I had nothing to worry about. I feel like I've always been high-functioning, so my mental health and autism isn't taken seriously, and my grades are always used as 'proof' that everything is actually fine. I hate that now I feel I'm slipping and my grades are actually suffering because of it.

On average, I scored 67.40%. I know this is a high 2:1, but this was a shocker as I scored between 73-89% on all but one of my courseworks from last semester. On my exams, which were much more heavily weighted, I scored between 59-66%. This is like all my worries and fears about being on a downwards trajectory come true. I feel incredibly disappointed in myself, as I cannot say I tried my best either. I feel like I never settled into a steady study routine at university. I've just been a mess of stress and mistakes. And I can already see that I'm making the same mistakes this semester (not keeping up with work, not regularly studying, not absorbing lecture material, leaving large amounts of studying to be done in a short time).

I really need some realistic validation and kind words. I obviously need to get myself together, I'm trying to be optimistic and recognise that it's week 5 currently and I can still make positive changes now to perform better in my semester 2 exams and get a first overall this year. These exams are 50% of my final grade for the year. I'm doing all new units this semester for the other 50%. In a way it's a fresh start. I'm just already kicking myself for not hitting the ground running this semester.

My main issue was exams, which I think is also due to them being essay-based vs short-answer/MCQ last year. I really struggled trying to practise correct technique. I did get feedback from my tutor and some lecturers, but still underperformed. How can I go about improving this? If it helps, I study biochemistry.

I must emphasise that I feel very fragile right now, my mental health is already very bad, and I feel like I can't talk to anybody about this in real life.
Original post by Anonymous
Disclaimer: This could definitely come across as stuck-up, arrogant, sheltered, entitled, etc. This is not my intention, but I'm feeling really awful and fragile right now and I feel like I need to talk about this and get advice without feeling shame. I will be mentioning grade percentages, but I am not implying that the grades I have gotten are objectively bad. This is more a personal issue of missing my own & other people's expectations and how to move on/improve.

Being academic, getting good grades and being 'smart' has been my identity since GCSEs. I never got below an A/7. Even in first year, where I felt myself falling into bad routines and study habits, I averaged with 75%. When I've tried talking about how I feel I still haven't figured out how to navigate studying at university, my mental health getting worse, etc, my family and university counsellor always say that I've always gotten good grades and this exam period shouldn't be any different. They think I'm just experiencing imposter syndrome. My counsellor literally scheduled our next appointment after results come out to 'prove' that I had nothing to worry about. I feel like I've always been high-functioning, so my mental health and autism isn't taken seriously, and my grades are always used as 'proof' that everything is actually fine. I hate that now I feel I'm slipping and my grades are actually suffering because of it.

On average, I scored 67.40%. I know this is a high 2:1, but this was a shocker as I scored between 73-89% on all but one of my courseworks from last semester. On my exams, which were much more heavily weighted, I scored between 59-66%. This is like all my worries and fears about being on a downwards trajectory come true. I feel incredibly disappointed in myself, as I cannot say I tried my best either. I feel like I never settled into a steady study routine at university. I've just been a mess of stress and mistakes. And I can already see that I'm making the same mistakes this semester (not keeping up with work, not regularly studying, not absorbing lecture material, leaving large amounts of studying to be done in a short time).

I really need some realistic validation and kind words. I obviously need to get myself together, I'm trying to be optimistic and recognise that it's week 5 currently and I can still make positive changes now to perform better in my semester 2 exams and get a first overall this year. These exams are 50% of my final grade for the year. I'm doing all new units this semester for the other 50%. In a way it's a fresh start. I'm just already kicking myself for not hitting the ground running this semester.

My main issue was exams, which I think is also due to them being essay-based vs short-answer/MCQ last year. I really struggled trying to practise correct technique. I did get feedback from my tutor and some lecturers, but still underperformed. How can I go about improving this? If it helps, I study biochemistry.

I must emphasise that I feel very fragile right now, my mental health is already very bad, and I feel like I can't talk to anybody about this in real life.

My heart really goes out to you! How frustrating it must be to feel like your feelings are being ignored. I can TOTALLY relate to your situation. I also was one of those kids that never used to struggle getting A grades, but at university, I fell into cycles of procrastination, last minute studying and constantly got distracted with friends, outings etc (typical uni life lmao) and got a 2:1, only a few % away from a first. This hurt me SO bad and I felt like I couldn't say anything because everyone around me would roll their eyes and ignore me because obviously a 2:1 is a great grade. Only one of my friends really understood where I was coming from.

What people don't seem to get is that although I am capable of cramming my mind with the content right before the exam, and still get a decent grade, I don't ENJOY doing it. The whole process stresses me out excessively, I feel like a mess, and I never get to complete my work to the top of my ability because I only learnt it the night before lmao. There's no worse regret then getting 65% when I know I could have got 85% with ease if I just practised healthier and more effective studying habits. I understand that it might sound like needless complaining because 65 is still great, but its about the inability to do the best of my capability, and the horrible process of stress/regret I end up putting myself under.

Do not dismiss your feelings. You know yourself better than anyone else. Some advice:
It's week 5 of your second semester. It's the perfect time to change things around. The fact that you can feel yourself slipping, and you feel a need to improve, is GOOD. TRUST ME. Channel this energy and use it to motivate you. Write down, in detail what you dislike about your current study habits and plan what you want to change/improve. Speak to your lecturer. Ask them to give you practise essays, so they can mark them for you and show you where to improve so you can get the high grades you desire. Research online for 1st class examples of biochem essays, and learn from them.

Try and find the source of bad habits, so you can recognise them and stop them before they even start. For example, a bad habit of mine in uni used to be that I would eat heavy takeaways while watching films with my friends, and then be too tired to study afterwards. To improve, I wish I had started ordering light, small takeaways and before I even sat down with them to watch series/films, I should have put an alarm on my phone to alert me of when I needed to get up, go to my room and study. Things like that really would have really helped. You can also do things like rewarding yourself for activities e.g. for every lecture that you go home and write up the notes for, you could reward yourself with a treat. Listen to some music you love while studying, and use study time to explore your music tastes. Study with people on your course, especially if they are people that you can see work hard/get top grades.

Lastly, try and take the pressure off yourself. I know it's much easier said than done, but its important. Stressing can actually become counter-productive and distract you off your work. You're smart. You're capable. You have succeeded before, and you're going to succeed again. The fact that you are aware that things need to change is a testament to how well you know yourself and how dedicated you are to improvement. And honestly, in less than 2 years time you're going to read back on this post and laugh with relief and joy about how university is over, and you never have to write a coursework again. University, exams, grades etc is all temporary!

And funny enough, I thought they were lying but my friends were right when they said no-one in the long term cares about university grades. No one asks the CEO of Apple what grade he got at university. A 2:1 will get you into 99% of graduate schemes, masters and anything else you want to pursue in future. Even at your worst, you will most likely get a 2:1. So imagine how great things will be when you take the stress off yourself, plan effectively and steadily study throughout the year? Good luck with everything xx

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