Failure is shitty and when we flunk one of our exams it can feel like the world is ending. Whether you studied constantly for weeks, or crammed the night before; failing means it was all for nothing and it’s pretty easy to feel like giving up.

No one likes exposing their failures to the world; we only want to show people when things go well. So, when you do eventually fail, it’s easy to think you’re alone in your own misery and the only option is to wallow in self pity forever.

The thing is, failure is (unfortunately) inevitable and you’re never the first person to experience it. Plenty of people have failed their exams, got a shit mark on an essay, flunked an entire subject and had to retake courses. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We’re all just trying to do our best and get our shit together, so don’t freak out if nothing seems to be going your way. Here’s what you should do instead.

1. Get some distance

Don’t spend the whole afternoon locked in your room thinking about how you flunked. Get out, see your friends and do something fun. Go for a drive and play your favourite songs. Watch lame comedy movies that always make you laugh or binge watch The Office for the millionth time. Don’t talk about the exam.

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2. Put it in perspective

One of the first things you’re probably going to do is start magnifying the issue until it’s completely out of perspective. It’s easy to catastophise failure and start thinking about the worst possible outcome until it consumes you.

The truth is though, failing isn’t going to affect you as much as you think it is. There’s always back doors, alternative entries, retakes and other ways to get things sorted out, so don’t immediately start obsessing over the worst case scenario.

3. Sleep

If you needed another reason to go have a nap, here it is.

When you’re over-tired everything becomes harder to process. You won’t be able to think as clearly about what happened when you’re exhausted, so head to bed and get yourself some decent sleep. You can deal with things when you wake up.

5. Find some help

There’s no shame is acknowledging that you need a bit of help. Go to your teacher and see if they can give you any extra feedback or tell you what you should have done to get better marks, ask your mates to help you out and make study groups or consider finding a tutor.

Basically, figure out a way to do better next time instead of doing the exact same thing and expecting the outcome to be different.

Remember, it’s okay if you failed

Don’t forget that failing one exam doesn’t mean you’ve failed your entire life. Plenty of people get mind blanks, forget their essays, don’t know how to answer the question, break down and fail exams. It happens to the best of us. What’s important is picking yourself up, figuring out where you went wrong and making a plan of attack so it doesn’t happen again.

It’s okay to feel like shit for a little bit, but soon enough you’re going to have to find a way to get through it and you’ll realise that in the grand scheme of things, one failed exam doesn’t mean the end of the world, trust me.

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