There it was, glaring and permanent, an ‘F’ on my transcript. Seeing it for the first time shouldn’t have been a shock, given my obviously less than stellar performance in the class, but it still stung.
The concept of failing a class was entirely foreign to me before coming to Penn. Like most of my classmates, I had gotten good grades throughout high school and generally (save for some chemistry struggles) felt I understood what was going on. I arrived here perhaps a little overconfident, and by second semester, with budding aspirations of a Wharton transfer, I decided to test the waters in a finance class.
Needless to say, I’m still in the College. The entire semester was an unmitigated disaster. I felt shell–shocked every time I went to class, unfamiliar with the jargon constantly spewing from my peers’ mouths. For some reason that I still can’t recall, I neglected to switch out or take the class pass/fail, leaving me completely stuck. I’m not sure whether or not my failing grade on the midterm or the final (or any one of the homework assignments) sealed my fate, but did it really matter?
I still cringe when I see the class on my transcript. It’s not that I’m some academic superstar otherwise, but nothing in the subsequent two years has come close to matching that mark. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t cry, Dean’s List aspirations dashed by the merciless Finance department.
I’m sure it doesn’t look good to potential employers, but I’ve gotten over it. If nothing else, this literal failure helped me refocus and work on what I was really good at.