Lessons from a Difficult Class

There is perhaps nothing more frustrating in college than professors that refuse to give an A. After all, when you’re doing all the work for a class, studying as much as you can, and putting in such a large effort, if you’re anything like me you’re not only expecting an A but counting on it.

This semester, I desperately wanted to get a 4.0 GPA. I endlessly studied, worked, wrote, organized, edited and revised, sought extra help, and got creative.

And overall, I did amazing in all of my classes. After working so hard, learning so much, and being so interested in almost all that I was studying, I ended up with grades I could be more than proud of.

But in one of my classes, no matter what I did I could not seem to fall into that A category, and my grade tread the waters of a B range for the entire semester.

I studied for hours for each quiz, worked for hours on each paper, went to extra help, and attended my professors office hours. And even after doing everything in my power to get a perfect grade, I still fell short an a B+ was posted to my academic profile this past week next to that class.

As frustrating it was, though, it was a great learning experience. Here is what having a professor who refused to give an A taught me:

  1. To always try my best. Even though I had heard that this professor notoriously does not give A’s, I still worked towards my goal every day. And because of that fact, I am still proud of myself even though I did not meet my goal of getting an A.
  2. To utilize my professors as a resource. As I said, I attended my professor’s office hours regularly. Even though it didn’t get me the A I wanted, it made me realize what a great resource professors are. I mean, it should be obvious…their job is to teach! But, being with him one on one made me see just how much knowledge he had and how excited he was to teach it. Also, it made me see him as a person and appreciate him as an individual.
  3. To remember done is better than perfect. Have you ever heard the saying “done is better than perfect”? This is a hard one for me to accept, but it is true. Although my grade isn’t perfect, I’m done with the class, got the credits, and learned a lot and that is better than nothing.
  4. That I can’t always get what I want. There are just going to be times where no matter what I do, the outcome won’t be the one I wished for or wanted.That is a hard life lesson but one that everyone needs to accept or else they will have a very difficult time…forever.
  5. To see the perspective of others. While I think it is unfair and unjustified that my professor refuses to give A’s, I learned to see it from his point of view. Maybe he believes an A is unattainable because their is always room for improvement, always more to learn, and always another step to take. If that is his opinion, first of all – he is right, and second of all – I need to respect it.

While this was certainly a difficult and at times upsetting experience for me, it also taught me many valuable life lessons. And to add to that, like I said, I learned a lot and became a better student.

What have your worst classes taught you?



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