Ask Tré: Welcome back, let’s jump in


Dear Tre,

I just failed an exam, what do I do?

Anonymous reader

Dear Reader, 

Exams are difficult. There is no way around it. Exams at Middlebury can be  exceptionally onerous. For what reason, I’m not sure. Maybe our professors think they are challenging us intellectually, but really they are just making our lives harder than they have to be. 

Failing an exam in college to some can look like the end of the world, but trust me, it does get better. Think of failing an exam as one of those things that you have to go through. I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to stress yourself out (like most students do here). Exams are like the seasons: they come and they conquer, and then they pass. 

Now, what should you do if you do happen to take an “L” on an exam? Well, there are a few ways to handle these situations. You could cry, scream and curse out your professors, but we all know that wouldn’t be helpful. What you first need to do is accept the fact that you didn’t win this one. Ask yourself, what could you have done to prepare better for this exam? Oftentimes we tell ourselves that we did everything we could, but that isn’t always true. Maybe next time don’t hang out with friends, or binge-watch GOT so you can catch up (these are just a few examples among a giant list of distracting activities we might find ourselves doing instead of studying). 

The next step is to go and talk to your professor directly. Professors have office hours for a reason. Go look over your exam together, and make sure to ask questions along the way. You can also go a step further and communicate what your specific needs are when taking exams. Never forget that this institution works for you and with you.

Last but not least, if you fail an exam, let it go and try again. As I mentioned, exams are hard, but they are not the end all and be all. Next time, prepare more. Ask for help, go to office hours and make sure you are taking time for yourself. 

The first time I failed an exam here at Middlebury, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Then, I looked in the mirror and realized that nothing in college is supposed to be easy. Yes, it’s stressful. Sometimes we fail, but we still deserve to be here. My advice to you is to take a deep breathe and remember that it’s ok. A failure today doesn’t mean a failure tomorrow. 



Author’s note:


I hope everyone had an amazing summer break. Even more amazing, “Ask Tré” is back by popular demand. You already know the deal, and if you don’t, here is the run down.

“Ask Tré” is a column written by me, Tré Stephens. In this column, I respond to questions and messages people send to me via submission on the “Ask Tré” form (go/asktre). We back at it again, and I am ready for what the new year has in store.

Look for the latest issue of “Ask Tré” in your Campus paper, and don’t forget to send in a question to the go link. See y’all on the flip side!