Can failure be fixed?

For this high school senior, the hole seems so deep it’s impossible to climb out. 

Our elder offers a lifeline—along with the caveat that “you have to do the work.”

Dear EWC:

Hello, I am failing my senior year of high school and I don’t know what I should do to fix it. I am so behind in everything and my parents constantly let me know how disappointed they are. I am no longer in a position to fix my failing grades because the 1st semester ends in 3 days. I have never failed a class before in my life and now I am—when it is my last year.

I also have not applied to any colleges even though I know I have to, but does it even matter since I will fail? I already know it’s my fault that I am failing in every aspect of my life right now. I don’t know why, but I am so bad at managing my life; for example I didn’t even realize that I had a quiz in one of my classes until I got a notification that I already missed it.

My parents had super high expectations and I am ruining them all because I am such a failure. I have no plans or future and it feels like when everyone around me has been ready for months. I’ll get bursts of motivation to work but I have already dug myself in such a hole I can’t get out of it. I just want to know what happens now? Where do I go next after failing?

I don’t have anyone to talk to about this, and I don’t know where to go for advice, so I’m just putting it all here I guess. I’ve had my moments of falling off and always slightly struggled in school but I’ve never completely fallen apart like I am this semester, just everything is going wrong because of me.

Thanks for reading this, but I won’t be surprised if you don’t know what happens next either.

GrannyJ replies:

Having been your age once, and having also raised two kids, I can reassure you of these two things:  1. You are not the first young person to be in this situation, and 2. Every problem situation has a solution. You may not be able to see that right now, but I can tell you that it is within your ability to work through this. But you have to do the work.

My suggestion is to take one thing at a time. If you have, indeed, failed classes this semester, there is nothing you can do about it at this point. Accept it, put it behind you, and figure out what your next steps are. Go talk to your school guidance counselor and find out what will be needed to make up those credits. If it involves summer school next year, or some other form of remediation, that’s just the way it’s going to be. Accept it, own it, and commit to it. 

I also encourage you to realize next semester gives you another chance to be successful. You may feel discouraged because of the “hole” you are in, but you have to get out of the hole sometime, don’t you? Why not make that happen next semester? If you are tired of failing, get up and do what you need to do.

As far as college is concerned, that is another topic you can discuss with the school guidance counselor. College is still within your reach but it may just happen in a different way or at a different time, and that’s ok. I’m sure your parents would still be proud, even if it takes a little longer. Sometimes when things don’t go as you expect, it helps to be flexible and open to other options.

Things will work out, so try to stop beating yourself up. I imagine the hard part will be telling your parents of your failed classes, so once that is done, relax, take a deep breath, and put it all behind you. Take what you have learned from this experience and use it to help you succeed. I know you can!





    1. Administration Reply
      March 11, 2021

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