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The five stages of grief after getting a bad midterm grade

By Gayathri Peringod, March 14 2018 —

Grief is an inevitable experience. Whether you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one or the harsh consequences of binge-watching Netflix the night before your midterm, grief occurs in five key stages. It all begins when you hear that the professor posted the marks, impatiently click the red dot on D2L and experience the sinking feeling that we’re all too familiar with. Here we go.



This is the stage where you act the most normal. Your brain shuts down the regions responsible for rational thought and recuperates from the blow. You convince yourself that the odds your professor accidently entered in the wrong number or that D2L incorrectly calculated your percentage grade are pretty good. You keep refreshing the page in hopes of a better result. Savour this stage, because it’s the calm before the storm. Ignorance really is bliss.



When your crappy grade really starts to sink in, the fight-or-flight response picks up. If you’ve curled up in a fetal position in your bathtub muttering, “She better curve those grades,” you’re most likely now in the anger phase. Suddenly, every evil thought that you’ve had about your prof floods your mind. The filter that usually screens out your hostile tendencies begins to disintegrate. You start to accuse your prof of schadenfreude — I mean, does she not realize that you have four other classes and a social life to worry about? How dare she.



Who. Needs. University. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t. Neither did Michael Scott. And they’re doing fine. Maybe dropping out will be the best thing that ever happens to you. You can go find yourself in Europe or invent the next Facebook. Okay, so you can’t afford that, but you can still find a job with a high school diploma and work towards your Europe trip, though it might turn into a hitchhiking trip to Kansas. Regardless, the point is that you’ll be fine without a degree.



Oh no. You won’t be fine after all. This is where it all ends. This is the part of the movie where you get eight cats and drink yourself to oblivion. This grade will haunt your dreams, floating above your head as you slump onto your lumpy couch, sleep-deprived, bloated and brain dead. This exam will define your life and career. Ah, well. At least the cats are finishing all the spilt milk you’re currently crying over.



This stage won’t come for a while, but when it does, you’ll feel lighter than air. The closure will come, most likely when you talk to the others in your class and realize that they all curled up in their bathtubs the night before as well. Everyone failed that midterm. A wave of relief will wash over you as you smile reassuringly at the friend that did worse than you and silently rejoice at the fact that you’re not the most incompetent person in the room. Amazingly, life isn’t over – until the next midterm, of course.


This article is part of our humour section.

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