T Nation

Depressed/Anxious About Grades


A little background: Grades have been everything to me my whole life, I have always put getting an A above pretty much everything else, even if it meant having to miss on on sleep or fun activities to study. Graduated 8th in class of 325, etc.

But now I am in my first year at Georgia Tech, and lets just say computer engineering is a very hard major! I was able to make A's my entire first semester (Calculus 2, English 2, politics of Georgia)

now I am at the end of my second semester (Calculus 3, Calculus Physics, World Civ 2)

I am for sure going to have an A in World Civ 2, but Calculus 3 I will only make an A if I get above an 88 on the final, and I will only make an A in physics if I make above a 65% on the Final. Now I know what you are thinking: "A 65%, thats not even passing, you could fail and still make an A"

No, because this is an near-impossibly hard physics class, where over half the class is failing, so to get a 65% actually is like getting an A because of the curve.

My situation is that I am extremely depressed/anxious at the thought of making a B in any of my classes. I started college with a goal I was determined to meet: Get a 4.0 in my 4 years of college. Now, I am not even a year into school, and I might not meet my goal.

Like just imaging that B on my transcript brings a level of rage and anger to my mind, like its a reflection on me as a student, like if I would have worked a bit harder I would have the A.

Not only that, but once I make one B, I can never have a 4.0!

Any advice?


You are not even into your core classes yet, just the silly stuff you are probably never going to use. Forget about the grades, and focus on getting competent on what will pay your bills, which will be the stuff in your 3rd, 4th, and possibly 5th year classes.

You need to focus on what is important, i.e. trying to bed every darling college girl that catches your fancy. Throw in some boozing and a small amount of recreational drug experimentation, then travel out of the country for a semester, and you will know every thing you need to know to be successful in life.


Why on earth do you care about your grades so much? Given your specialty, finding a job is not likely to be too hard, so your grades won't affect it. Unless you're applying to some post-grad program, grades will have no effect whatever on the rest of your life. If it's important to you for some reason, study hard, and don't worry about what you can't control.


Oh NOES!!! B's.

You sound like the gunners we had in premed that freaked out if they got a B in intro bio. Those are the same people, mind you, that later switch majors out of premed.

Advice: chill the fuck out.

3.8's and 3.9s are still VERY good GPAs. One B in college does not ruin your future. Like theuofh said, college is as much a time to learn life skills a to get grades. Life skills like coping with minor disappointments.


Never, ever, ever, ever, ever has anyone ever asked for my GPA from my Alumni in order to get a job.

Don't stress it so much, you are really sweating the small stuff IMO.

The only time I've ever heard of anyone talking GPA was from a candidate trying to get a job. Nobody cares if you got a 4.0 or a 3.5 in school.


Op is headed for a nervous breakdown


Relax, dude. 3 and above is quite good for an engineering major.


Shit, I felt the same way a few weeks ago.

honestly, man, you'll be fine. Just relax. You seem like you take care of business in the classroom so you should roll through it.

as a freshman you need to take this to heart



I had the same mindset all through college. Looking back on those years (not very far, I'm afraid), I should have been a little less obsessive about what marks I got and more focussed on learning the material (the two are not always the same thing). This sort of (mostly self-imposed) stress can really wear you down, so be careful.

Advice? Prioritise, focus on your studies, and do your best: if you have been doing your best all term and continue to do through finals, you will be fine. And get some sleep (especially before exams); you'll function better.

If you are worried about transcripts because of jobs, read the comments above; if you are worried about them for grad school, bear in mind that the admission committees fully realise the difficulties of the subjects on your transcripts, as would anyone who had been in such classes.

Further consider seeking out a study centre for advice on optimising your study techniques, time management, etc., even if you think you have it under control (you never know what you might learn). If you're a DIY sort of person, try out books like Oddbjorn* By's 'Memo' and that sort of thing.

Also consider that the first year of college is a major adjustment for some. It becomes more routine as time goes by.

*slashed o -- stupid computer.


you are doomed

take some psychiatric drugs maybe, it will help you stay competitive


I'm currently a senior studying Computer Science, and my serious advice is to just do your best and make learning your goal, not getting an A. If you do this, the appropriate grade will follow. A 4.0 is an amazing achievement, but a 3.5+ is also excellent in a "real major." You will have areas that you are strong in, and you need to show those off in your classes and go the extra mile. Doing just that has landed me a job in a research lab, and I honestly believe that means tons more than my grades (which are decent, but nothing special).

Also, there will always be someone who does something better than you. Find those people, and work with them; chances are you can do something better than they.

As far as dealing with the stress, well ... you'll be far more relaxed next year.


Wouldn't it be much more beneficial to spend this time studying instead of bitching about an "impossibly hard" physics class?


One day you will be dead.

You work hard enough it sounds like. Sometimes you just need to accept that life doesnt let you control it. Go have a beer. Then go back to kicking ass, which you obviously do.

Concern yourself with the optimal process over the outcomes.


Are you considering pursuing an advanced/professional degree after graduation?


Alright, so I was in the same boat when I first started college, made it my goal to get straight A's. I had a semester similar to yours with some really tough math and phys courses. And, similar to you I was set on getting a 4.0 so I blew off everything that wasn't school for the next 4mos (work, fam/friends, sleep etc..). I was able to pull it off and keep the A's it was kind of cool having a 4.0 but probably not worth the effort, there are some classes where the amount of work needed to get an A over a B is drastically different. The only reason that I'm glad I stuck with it, is that it showed me that when shit gets tough I could buckle the fuck down and take care of business.

The funny thing is, now I'm taking a much easier class load and will most likely not keep up the 4.0. Partly because I was already accepted to the schools I wanted, but I've also reassesed my priorities. I've found it alot more satisfing to be well rounded, so take the same discpline you have for your studies and apply it to other areas of your life(work, squats, research, getting laid). Since your obviously hard working you shouldn't have a hard time maintaining a very good gpa while excelling in other areas at the same time, which I can guarantee will look much better to any employer/grad school.

So to summarize go ahead and bust your ass for the next couple weeks. Knowing you gave it your all and showing this to yourself will be the most rewarding. But after that I would strongly advise you reconsider what you want from college. Considering that your a comp sci major maintaining a 4.0 will either cause you to drop out, drive you crazy (like eating your own shit crazy,) or at the very least you will graduate as a complete social fucktard. And like some of the other posters said after you graduate nobody will care at all about your gpa.


I just got an e-mail tonight saying I'm not set to graduate college in 10 days as scheduled and a fucking parking ticket. Quit your bitching, b4 I make the trip down to ATL and rip your balls off and shove them down your throat. Something tells me you can't deadlift or squat for shit and can't hold your own at a party, whatsoever. Please buy yourself some maxipads and thicker glasses on your next trip to CVS.

That is all.


I feel for you, man. Don't worry so much about the grade; it's more important to know that you've learned what you needed to learn. Having a good GPA is great, but not the most important thing in life. I've maintained a 4.0 all throughout high school, but I know I'd be lucky to maintain a B average in college.
Good luck on your tests!


The more you freak out the more likely you are to study really fucking hard. So do it.

Learning the math and science really well now will make your higher level engineering classes that much easier. Also a 4.0 makes getting into a good graduate school or getting a job an absolute cakewalk.

For physics just do a shit ton of problems, do all the homework again, work the examples in the book, and memorize whatever principles the prof emphasized in class. If you can, hit up any upperclassmen that you know for old exams so you'll know what kind of problems to expect.

My advice to you, get off of tmuscle and study, you can get those grades.


I know exactly how you're feeling right now, and it's going to be just fine. I'm at Cornell myself with a tough major (Biological Engineering with a Mechanical minor) and pre-med to boot if you were wondering where all of what I'm about to say is coming from.

Breathe. One B, regardless of what graduate school or job you apply to, especially in a non-core class, will by no means sink you. If you look at the top schools in the country, the average acceptance GPA is at the most a 3.7-3.8. A 4.0, while fantastic, is not the be all end all indicator of success. The most telling statistic I have seen in my time here was a chart cross-referencing MCAT scores and GPAs in relation to med school acceptances. The highest percentage of acceptances were NOT for those who had a 40+ MCAT and 4.0+ GPA. It was for a lower GPA and MCAT score range.

Does this mean a 4.0 is bad? No. Does it mean that dropping all other things in favor of a 4.0 over a 3.8-3.9 is a bad thing? That's for you to decide. The reason those kids with a 3.8 and slightly lower MCATs got accepted to their top choice more often is that they made the decision to get involved in something besides school. They cultivated friendships, found things on campus they were passionate about, got involved with the community, became a leader, etc. Develop yourself as a person as well as as student.

For the rest of this semester, the best advice I can give you is to work your ass off the next couple weeks. Push for that 4.0, doing everything in your power to succeed. After that though, take a week off from any responsibility and think about what you want to define the next three years of your life. You will, in all likelihood be working until you're 50-60. Think about what you want out of life. If it's a 4.0 above all things and nothing else matters, then by all means, do everything you want to make that happen. I just personally feel like there is more to life than perfect grades.

I personally faced the same crisis you are facing earlier this semester. My goal is to have a 3.85 by the time I leave here, in a college where the average GPA is a 2.7 and the average grade for each class is around a 60 (hooray for curves...kind of). This semester, on my plate I had Organic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry Lab, Physics (Electromagnetism), Differential Equations, Mechanics of Solids, and Thermodynamics: a daunting load. Over winter break I had to decide whether or not to focus solely on my work or do the things I wanted to do, at a possible detriment to my grades. I struggled with the thought and decided I would not let my course load stop me from doing the things I wanted to do. So, this semester, I pledged a social fraternity, was the Public Relations/Inter-Chapter Relations/Regional Delegate for my honors fraternity, was president of my hall council, took a job as a personal trainer, continued playing Varsity Sprint Football, was a member of an organization putting on events for all the dorms, and dedicated one weekend night a week for date night for my girlfriend, regardless of course load. In the end, I can say that I will not have a 4.0 this semester. I will likely end up with a 3.7-3.9 if I bust my ass on finals. I can also say that I would not trade the new friendships, experiences, and personal growth I have experienced for anything in the world, including a 4.0.

The decision is yours. Work hard, achieve to the highest of your potential, but remember that there is going to be a day when you look back on your life in all aspects and think about what you may truly regret when all is said and done. This is something I continue to struggle with every semester, so if you want to talk to someone going through the same thing, PM me.

...after your tests are done :stuck_out_tongue:

Best of luck!


It's just ink and paper man, just ink and paper. I try to get good grades to, but you can only do what you can. Don't get stressed out over the small stuff. Consider yourself lucky to be where you are, it could be a lot worse.