Is That Mark Out of a 100?!

Getting marks back is perhaps one of the most stressful experiences of being a student. Whether its checking online on Portal, or on your phone on BlackBoard, or waiting for your name to be called out in Tutorials. The seconds of anxiety, as the heart pounds in your chest is incomparable.

There are assignments you do good on, perhaps the first one which was just a High School review, and you go:

And then it started to get difficult.. every lecture felt like a week of high school workload.

The actuality and reality of university is starting to kick in. The amount of work we used to put into high school to get a B, which could be next to none for some UTM scholars 😉 , is not even enough to get a C in university.

Just a few weeks ago, I got my first math quiz back, as I eagerly awaited the mark for it on BlackBoard. It was only seconds before a large bold double digit number glares at my face.


I didn’t know what to think. Blank.

Is this out of 100? Maybe its out of 55, or maybe like 75, worst case scenario.

But I had to face reality. It was a percentage, per-cent-age, per-cent, a cent is a 100, it was out of 100.

It is times like these when you rethink life. Or maybe you’re like the person who goes into panic mode and attempts at fixing your grade, by any means.

Or maybe you go into a stage of denial…

Or maybe you’ve accepted it, and are hence just sad. It’s alright, it honestly is. It is an experience gone through by a majority of first years. I can say a lot of inspirational things at this moment, about how you can’t rise if you don’t fall, or how a failure is just an opportunity for success, but I won’t. (Although I just did, sorry.) What first years like me, need is perhaps less of external motivation, and more of internal. You don’t need pressure, you need support.

A bad mark doesn’t mean we’re dumb, it certainly doesn’t mean we’re incapable. It means we simply haven’t yet learned the skills needed to answer university-level questions. Einstein, the genius behind many of the things we’re learning, himself said, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, he’ll live his whole life believing he’s stupid.” And it’s so true. Our professors have mastered (literally) the courses they teach. And you will soon as well. Or maybe you won’t, you can’t be good at everything. Maybe in high school, we were the masters of all subjects, but in university, it’s hard to keep that streak going. We have to pick our strengths, and shed our weaknesses.

Your bad mark is OK. It is the first step. It will lead to great places, I promise. My next mark in math ended up being a 65 (out of 100). It isn’t the best, but its improvement.

I say, “compete with yourself, and you’ll never lose.’ 

And that’s all for today. Hope your day is going swell.


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