Wednesday 18 October 2017

Dear Mary: After working so hard at college I'm mortified by my degree grade

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I know this may sound trivial compared to the problems of others as I know at the end of the day I have my health, which is the most important thing.

I have recently gotten my college results and have found out that I will be graduating in November with a 2.2, while other people in my class whom I would have considered no less or more capable than I are graduating with better grades.

I never failed to attend class once over the three years and gave each of my assignments 110pc.

I am crestfallen and extremely disappointed as I know that despite my hard work this has closed a lot of doors to me employment wise.

For instance I am now restricted from applying to many major graduate programmes and for someone who has always been quite ambitious and driven this is devastating news.

But what is worse is the fact that this comes despite the fact that I worked so hard for this degree, completing it at night while holding down a full-time day job as well as looking after an ill family member.

Other people seem to discount it as if it were nothing and laughingly refer to it as a 'drinker's degree'.

This couldn't be further from the truth in my case but I fear that no matter how many explanations or excuses I try to make for my less than stellar results, I will always be stigmatised and looked down on by elitist employers who will inevitably always hire the Trinity grad when it comes down to it.

I have invested considerable time, effort and money of my own into trying to further my education and better myself and now I worry that, because degrees are so commonplace and my grades are pretty average, mine will not be worth the paper it's printed on.

I know it's not the end of the world and that there are much worse things in life than a disappointing grade, but I am a perfectionist and I can't help feeling like I have let myself and everyone around me who encouraged me over the last few years down!

Please advise.

Mary replies: Well done to you for getting your degree. I suspect you haven't given yourself nearly enough credit for what you have achieved.

I am sorry that you are so disappointed in yourself because I'm sure those closest to you are very proud of you.

Have your queried your results and asked for a re-examination of your grades?

If you have and they still stand then you should speak with somebody at the university, for instance your tutor, and explain how unhappy you are and ask for their advice.

Also investigate with them the possibility of doing a higher degree - it may be that not all doors are closed to you.

In my experience prospective employers never ask the details of the applicant's degree - they simply need to know that they have one.

Much more important when you get to the interview stage is to present yourself in the best possible light, believing in yourself and your suitability for the particular job and making them convinced that they would be foolish if they were not to employ you.

I have never before heard the phrase 'drinker's degree' and I don't think much of it.

Anybody who has gone through college and graduated is to be applauded - there has to be hard work and dedication involved no matter how hard they have partied along the way.

It sounds like you had a particularly heavy workload as you were literally working day and night.

Indeed a lot of the fun side of college life which for some is seen as a rite of passage is denied to those who, like you, are working to put themselves through their college years.

Life is always difficult for perfectionists - they expect the very best from both themselves and other people.

Try to think about the words 'good enough' and not to be too hard on yourself when going through your life.

You have already achieved so much so give yourself a little pat on the back and then look to the future with excitement and hope.

Sunday Indo Living

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