I’m a Hard Tryer

Sometimes all I can do is try.  Often, even my best of tries turn out to be failures.  Still, at the end of the day, I really am a hard tryer.

Remember that exam? You know, the first exam I’ve had since my last pap smear?  I knew I had missed a few points, and I was already beating myself up over them.  I figured I had cost myself a few percentage points, and that at the least—the very least—I would score a 90% (which in itself would have made me mad, because I know I could have gotten 100%).

It’s backwards, but you get the idea.  39/50=78%.

Hi.  Try 78%.  By my standards, I might as well drop out of school right now, curl up in the fetal position in the corner of my basement, and make friends with the spiders that build their webs there, because I’ll never amount to anything.  No, I know: “Bs and Cs earn degrees,” and 78% is still passing.

NO. 78% is, in this situation, a BLATANT, GLARING, EMPHATIC FAILURE. (And I don’t capitalise my words very often, so you know I mean business.)

Why?  Because this is a basic English class.  If it were calculus or chemistry or biology or trig or (heaven forbid) computers, I could accept a 78%.  It would be a low score, but it wouldn’t be surprising to me.  However, despite the fact that I have already taken—and aced—both English 101 and 102 at an accredited university, up here I am taking the very most basic English course for the third time in my college career.  According to my Canadian university, those 101 and 102 classes taught me nothing, so I have to take their prerequisite English class in order to continue with my major (English).

“Okay, that’s fine,” I thought to myself, “I’ll spend $1,000 on a class to learn something I’ve already done, and I’ll sail right through it.”

And this exam, though a bit nerve-wracking, was not that hard.  I literally expected the LOWEST I might get would be a 90% (and even that would have been annoyingly low for me).

But 78%??  Even in my dumbest of subjects, a 78% is a disappointing grade for me.  78% is a C.  I am not a 78% English student.  (Again, the sciences and the maths?  I could be a 78% student.  I know my flaws, people.  Trust me: I’m very aware of them.)

I have a myriad of issues with the way the exam was worded and consequently graded (as far as I can see it, 6 of the 11 points I missed are completely controversial, and if I got them back, I would be back at the 90% I was expecting), and I am so frustrated with it, I actually might go talk to my professor about it.  I never thought I would be that person—the one who could not accept a low grade, and automatically assumes there must be something wrong with the exam if I’m getting a 78%.  But look at me now; I AM that student.  I’m the one who is about to whine to her professor about the way the exam was graded.

I’ve never done this before—I really don’t like confrontation, and saying I really don’t like confrontation is kind of like saying MINI Coopers™ are cool: it’s an enormous understatement.  Part of me knows that approaching the woman isn’t going to get me anywhere; she has a doctorate, I am in remedial English; she will counter all of my arguments with beautifully-formed rebuttals that leave me shaking in my fake Uggs™; she will laugh in my face, leave me with my 78%, and proceed to grade me even more harshly for the remainder of the semester.

But the other half of me remembers how I was taught to fight for what I believe, and not to let the world get me down and all that motivational stuff.

And you know what?  I buy it.  I believe all that motivational stuff.  I consider myself—without a doubt—an A student when it comes to English.  Not a C student.  Not 78% good and 22% bad.  I need a better ratio than that.  I suppose that sounds arrogant and cocky, but I consider it “confidence.”  I know what subjects I’m not good at (anything math-related), and I accept those flaws.

But I can’t seem to come to terms with this 78%.

All I can do is try, right?

…that, and drown my sorrows with a face mask.

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at facebook.com/archivesofourlives, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
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32 Responses to I’m a Hard Tryer

  1. linda rae says:

    Yes GO to the professor. You can do it. Your sweet, darling nature will win her over.

    I just know it.

    And if not, eat chocolate.

  2. anna says:

    I can totally relate. I was getting a C in one of my Accounting classes and went and had the teacher sign a withdrawl form. I was seriously going to withdrawl and retake the class just so I wouldn’t get a C. The teacher told me not to do it, but signed the form anyway. I walked around for a few days with it, but in the end decided not to withdrawl. Good thing, because I didn’t get a C and I didn’t have to wait another semester to graduate. And I wonder why I’m still having nightmares about college…

    Talk to your teacher! I was one of those annoying people… and it normally worked out great. :)

  3. Maureen says:

    I think you should talk to your professor. I didn’t confront my prof about a faulty test grade in my major subject and I still regret it to this day. Kinda sad, but true.

  4. Holly Decker says:

    i think you and my husband are from the same planet or something.
    he cannot fathom getting less than an A. and even if its BARELY an A he still feels upset with himself.
    i simply cannot relate. because, well, i am one of those people that are content with just passing. (thank goodness Jeff is going into the medical field and NOT me… or people would be dying)
    but Jeff, ALWAYS discusses his grade with the teacher… A or not… he debates even the smallest points. and not once has he been unsuccessful in raising his grade just a tad. one time he straight up told the teacher that her test had questions on it that she did not tell him would be on it, and she took off those 5 questions for the entire class.
    so i say… DO IT.
    Jeff supports you. *and i know you REALLY care about Jeff supporting you in this…*

  5. Joel says:

    Yeah, go talk to her. Most professors are willing to discuss answers with students (and the ones that aren’t are arrogant a-holes that shouldn’t be teaching [yeah, there is a story there…]). Don’t waltz in and tell her that the test is wrong or it was written or graded poorly, though. Cause even if that is the case, it makes people defensive and thus uncooperative. Just say that you had a few questions and explain what you were thinking when you marked a particular answer. If you aren’t just wrong, she’ll listen. If nothing else you’ll learn more how she thinks, which is very advantageous when the next test comes around. I used to carefully read the syllabus of profs I didn’t know to try and glean some sense of what they think is important or how they will phrase questions. But I’m a loser working on a Ph.D., so there you have it.

  6. Katie says:

    Be nice when you go talk to her. I once went to speak with a Spanish professor about one of my grades and I became so frustrated I ended up yelling in her office. Me. Yelling. It was crazy.

    Count to 10 before you go into her office.

  7. bRAD says:

    This one time I went and talked to a professor and he listened for two second and then kicked me in my jaw and told me to get the h out if his office.

    Not really. It was always a good experience when went and spoke with a profesor.

  8. Lauren says:

    You are the first person I know that looks absolutely HAWT in a face mask. Srsly.

  9. Lauren says:

    I know how you feel about the 78%. English is my best subject and when I was in ENG102 (my professor was a d.bag) the highest score I got was a 73%. Ended up I had the highest grade in the class, so he had to curve it and I got an A. I am pretty sure that was a blessing for paying an extra 10 bones in Fast Offerings. In any event…I am an over-acheiver too. It sucks to not get A’s. Here is so advice…a Fast Sunday is in 3 weeks. Remember the extra 10 bones. Maybe even 12 bones…

  10. niki says:

    U look great in green;)

    I’m cheering you on…you can do it…go give that absurd teacher a price of your mind. She needs to be set straight on how to write a test AND how to grade. No seiously, I once had a teacher(biology) who, at the end of the semester told me to continue to talk to my teachers when I have a problem with scores and grading. She told me most teachers would get annoyed by this but to continue because it was my right. That was the summer before 10th grade and I remembered that all throughout highschool.

    I’m so proud of you for losing 9lbs. You go girl! That’s hard to do.

    One last thing, I read your comment on laurens blog and thought it was so funny! It’s my mission in life for us to meet!

  11. niki says:

    *corrections to my type-o’s: piece, not price and had, not have*

    I get self concious about my English skills around you…

  12. sarah says:

    Some teachers like it when you talk to them about a test grade. It shows that you care. It also might help with the next one… maybe it is just a weird way of grading.

  13. afton says:

    it’s all in how you approach the professor. go to her saying you want to learn and understand more instead of reminding her that the exam was completely idiotic and worded horribly (even if that is the case). they’re way more understanding when you give into their superiority and let them know that you know they are the one holding the doctorate degree. good luck!

  14. Camille says:

    linda rae– Sweet and darling? Ha!

    anna– You’ve given me hope.

    Maureen– That is sad! I hate living with regrets, so you have a really good point.

    Holly Decker– I am not like this in every class, though. Just English ones.

    Joel– I know, I need to remember to be sweet about it, not bestial. Thinking kind thoughts… Also, I have NO problem with simply conforming to a professor’s ideals and standards, if only I could figure out exactly what this one wants!

    Katie– How funny that I can’t imagine you yelling, and I don’t even really know you!

    bRAD– You’ve taken away some hope, and then given it back to me. Thanks.

    Lauren– What a funny thing to say! It’s a horrid picture. And good advice about the bones. I think I will.

    niki– Thanks for the encouragement! But really, I am not that great in real life. I’m sure you’d be disappointed if you ever did meet me. I’d hate to lose your high esteem, so… Oh, and your typos? I didn’t even catch them. I’m only a 78% English person, remember?

    Crazy– Good advice, it’s true. I’ve already made my appointment. Think of me tomorrow at noon…

    sarah– I hope it helps, I really do.

  15. Crazy says:

    I agree with the general consensus. Wouldn’t hurt to try, done gently, after a nice face mask. I would always kiss up to professors, have chats after class, because they were easier to talk to than the other students….that is to say, they (mostly) weren’t dumb as a brick. And it’s not arrogant to know what you can do well.

  16. HeatherPride says:

    You totally RAWK that face mask though. If it makes you feel any better, I once earned a B (final grade) in a college acting class where we did nothing all semester but “blossom” and “wither.” Whatever, man. Apparently I suck at blossoming and withering. And I had to go to college to figure it out.

  17. jami says:

    you are so funny. well I, sorta understand. Typically I would be happy with a 78% in any of my classes, but since I have put so much effort into my chemistry class, I would feel pissed if I didn’t get at least a 90% as well.
    I am sorry for you 78%, I would talk with the teacher. It has been my expirence that when you become friends with the teacher, and show them your effort, they like you more. AND they are more willing to accomidate you.
    I once at a D in my computers class, and talking to the teacher, and he gave me a B! Pretty good huh!

  18. NobodyNose says:

    I always agree with Mrs. Akers about my grades.

  19. NobodyNose says:

    Whoops! Meant to say argue!

  20. Lindsay says:

    i cant believe no one has even mentioned that beautiful black basket thing behind you in the picture! it’s soooo pretty, i could not stop covitting it! please tell me where you got such a delightful thing!

  21. Geneva says:

    Always talk to your professors! At least at NAU, it was definitely a minority that were jerks. Having the prof learn your name is almost always a good thing. They will grade a little more lenient knowing that you really worked for your grade. I even taught a college class when I was working on my masters and was happy if a student came to talk after. Just don’t go in grade grubbing. Think of it as a way to do better on the next test and be satisfied even if you end up with 78%

    Good luck! I expect a post about the results…

  22. anon10 says:

    I shouldn’t be saying this because it will prove I am a hypocrite. But, you should talk to your teacher if you really think there is a problem. Although I would be too scared, it’s always worth a try!

  23. Camille says:

    afton– I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. I have to keep telling myself that.

    HeatherPride– You were robbed. I bet you’re an EXCELLENT blossomer and witherer. I should have majored in drama; I am a great liar, and that’s all it really is, right? Lying about who you are, acting like someone else…

    Jami– That’s exactly it. It’s all the hard work I’ve been putting into it that makes me sad I got a 78.

    NobodyNose– Ooh, be careful! Mrs. Akers’ kid reads this blog! I actually always thought she would be a fun teacher, but I guess that’s just because I know her in real life. Teachers are never as fun in class as they are in real life.

    Lindsay– Costco. I had coveted it, too, for MONTHS, if not an entire year, but it was originally 40 or 50 bucks–NO WAY. Then it got marked down to 20, and I was thinking about it. THEN it got marked down to 10, and I was sold. Or rather, IT was sold. To me. Now my only problem is that I can’t figure out what to put in it. Any ideas?

    Geneva– You taught a college class? I used to think it would be fun to be a prof, until I realised how much I dislike every one I’ve ever had. I couldn’t take it if everyone else disliked me so much… Don’t worry, I’ll post about the results.

    Crazy– She’s a gem, yes.

  24. Crazy says:

    i will.
    Thank heavens Geneva’s here.

  25. anonymous says:

    oh i’m sorry! how’d you get the camera to take that pic backwards or inside out or whatever i’ve been trying to figure it out and it’s hurting my head!

  26. Anonymous says:


    Do tell on the outcome, please. And by the way, I think Mini Coopers are the ugliest wastes of metal I’ve ever seen. But I don’t want to kick you when you’re down…

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