Coping with lower grades than expected

While viewing final grades, some of us may experience a wake up call concerning an unpleasant reality, which is low grades. For those people who have been thinking about it all break and calculating grades over and over again, it’s time to take a breath and keep going. This mentality of “forgive and forget” can sometimes be easier said than done.

For those who find this mentality to be impossible, there are several coping strategies available that are both proactive and reactive, and some of which come straight from our own Counseling Services.

Emily Meyerhoffer-Kubalik, a counselor at Washburn University, suggests a handful of resources and tips to not only cope with lower grades than expected but also ways to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Seeing as there is little one can do to change the outcome of the fall semester, she first starts with some coping strategies that relate to stress and anxiety management.

To begin coping, Meyerhoffer-Kubalik acknowledges the importance of embracing the emotions that come with getting news you weren’t necessarily hoping for. Acceptance and recognition of yourself and your emotions is the first step to healthy coping.

“For dealing with getting lower grades, it’s important to recognize that in the short term that can bring up some feelings of anxiety and even sadness – and that can be normal,” she said.


She then suggests utilizing healthy distractions in the short term.

“Talking to friends, exercising, watching a movie, and even spending time with family can all be helpful things.” Distractions are a good first step, but “self care is also important,” Meyerhoffer-Kubalik said. “Continuing to engage in things that are healthy for you, using healthy coping strategies, and taking care of your needs are all important parts of self care.”

Meyerhoffer-Kubalik then suggests to reach out to support systems, whether that be your friends, family or an advisor. Most of the time things are easier to cope with when we aren’t doing it alone.

She also suggests some tips to help prevent low grades from happening. One of the first pieces of advice she gave was focusing on study skills and strategies such as time management, spacing out studying and maybe even speaking to counseling services.

Meyerhoffer-Kubalik also suggests stopping by to pick up some helpful handouts and pamphlets.

“It is something we can certainly get for any student,” she said.


The counseling services also takes walk-in appointments from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, which Meyerhoffer-Kubalik said is a great way to get some one-on-one time with helpful people on campus. You can also schedule appointments for other days throughout the week.

Taking advantage of the tutoring availability on campus is the last proactive tip that was recommended. Working with students who have already taken the courses you are currently taking could be one of the best ways to get some inside knowledge on the most effective ways to study and perform in that course.

Regardless of how you did this fall, it is important to be understanding of yourself and to take the appropriate steps to prevent it from happening again. For now, it is time to enjoy winter break.