Spooky Situations: The Bad Grade Boogeyman

Hello, my name is Rebecca, and I am a scaredy cat.

I HATE horror movies with a burning passion. I hate blood, I hate gore, I hate jump scares, and I hate misogynistic subplots. So each year when Halloween comes around, you can most definitely find me re-watching Halloweentown or Hocus Pocus rather than engaging in the latest slasher-flick.

Unfortunately, real life doesn’t come with a G rating, and therefore there are some terrors that I just can’t ignore. As students, we come across spooky situations on the daily so I thought I would highlight some of the meddling monsters who feed off the fears and anxieties of post-secondary students everywhere.

But don’t you worry – this movie has a happy ending as I share my best tips to help face your fears and slay the beast!

So let’s get into it (if you aren’t too scared) 


The Bad Grade Boogeyman 


Feared by all and haunted by many, the Bad Grade Boogeyman lurks in lecture halls awaiting the famous professor’s call: “I will be handing the assignments back at the end of class”.

Anxiety rises in students young and old as they wait impatiently for the BGB to strike. Who could be the next victim? Only time will tell.

As the lecture comes to a close and graded papers start flying, the unsuspecting student reluctantly looks down at their latest assignment when – BANG! A sudden sharp jab to the chest as the student sees that their page is coated in red… pen.

Despite their efforts to achieve so-called “success” the final mark on this latest assignment is less than ideal. The BGB stands watching, as tears start to well in the student’s eyes. He cackles manically as the student begins to spiral. “How could I be so stupid?” they think to themselves; “What ever made me believe I could do this? I’m an idiot. I’m useless. I’m a disgrace.”

With his victim’s self-worth sufficiently diminished, the Bad Grade Boogeyman disappears into the night (or afternoon, it really depends when your class takes place) waiting for the next chance to bring down a student spirit.


How to Slay the Beast:

There is no question, getting a bad grade SUCKS, big time, but it is completely normal and when dealt with correctly, a bad grade can teach you a lot.

So it important to point out who the actual monster is in this situation. The BGB isn’t the bad grade in question, but rather the negative self-talk that comes with tying your value as a person to a test grade.

As someone who identifies with being considered “smart”, bad grades have and (let’s be honest) still continue to hit me like a ton of bricks because it feels like my whole identity is being called into question. I’m bad a lot of things (sports, online dating, folding my laundry… the list goes on), but school, I’m suppose to be good at that. Who am I if I’m not smart?

When I start to feel myself getting sucked into this downward spiral these are the things I do to try and force myself out:


  1. Realize the Whole is Larger than the Sum of it’s Parts

Often when I get a bad grade, I am blinded by the letter or percentage that I see on the page, that I forget to take into account what this assignment looks like in the grade breakdown as a whole. Go back to your syllabus and check to see how much this assignment is actually worth (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve freaked out over a bad dictée mark, just to realize that it worth only 5% of the final grade). If you have received a few grades back, use a grade calculator (like this one) so you can get a feel for where you are in the class. Often times you’ll realize that things aren’t as bad you’ve made them out to be in your head (and even if they are, you can at least start to deal with the problem knowing exactly what is going on).

  1. Asses and address

Whenever I’m visited with the BGB I am greeted by one of his best friends, the Shame Wizard (any Big Mouth fans?). As soon as I see that bad grade I am instantly embarrassed and I want to shove the test to the bottom of bag to be buried with the old receipts and loose tampons. This is obviously not helpful at all. While re-reading all the professors comments and examining all your mistakes doesn’t sound the most fun way to spend an evening, it is the only way to answer the question “What went wrong?” Was it an organizational issue (i.e. you focused on the wrong chapters, you didn’t manage your time properly, you rushed your writing process, etc.) or is there an actual concept that you don’t understand? Facing your “failure” head on is the only way that you can move forward and make sure this won’t happen again.

  1. Put Things into Perspective

As I mentioned before, the way the BGB gets you is that he makes you believe that bad grades = bad person. This is clearly BS and the faster you can recognize that the better. Rather throwing yourself a Halloween-themed Pity Party start listing (either in your head, on your phone, or on paper) all the things that make you awesome. You’ll soon realize that you are worth so much more than a couple arbitrary letters on a page.


Have you ever dealt with the Bad Grade Boogeyman? What did you do to slay the beast? Let’s continue this conversion on Instagram where I’m taking over the @eambassadorsgl account this week. 

À la prochaine,


Twitter: @RebeccaKGL

Instagram: @RebeccaKazdan

Follow the eAmbassador Instagram: @eambassadorsgl

Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash


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