Feeling Like A Failure: Hey everyone... - Anxiety and Depre...

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Feeling Like A Failure


Hey everyone. So today, I got my grade back for an A.P. Calculus exam I took, and it was 8/20, which is a failing grade. It really brought my mood down because I thought I had done well and I thought I knew the material, but I guess I didn't. And looking back at it, I feel like I'm not going to do well in this class this school year. I feel like I probably wouldn't be as upset as I am if it wasn't in fear of what my mom is going to say. I'm not the type of student to typically fail exams, and I'm afraid of what my mom will say to me about it. I'm afraid of getting punished or being told off. I've already cried over this for like an hour, so it's not like I don't feel guilty. I'm just feeling like a failure, and it makes me wonder if I'm even going to be successful in life. My highschool has the option to reassess exams if you do poorly (so obviously I'm going to do that), but what happens if I fail a major exam in college and can't retake it? Then what? Am I just not cut out to do well? Maybe I'm overthinking the entire situation. Just thought I would share how I'm feeling. Hope everyone's day is going better than mine. Much love.

23 Replies

Hi! I graduated college in 2018. I was an AP student in high school. I got my worst grades of life my senior year of college. Like a whole GPA point below anything I had ever gotten before. I failed 2 courses. I know you aren't me, and everything in your life won't turn out like mine, but I just want to give you some hope. I have a steady job that gives me purpose and joy, I am pretty happy with my life especially compared to how I was my senior year (depression, isolation and drug use led to those poor grades). Our society puts so much pressure on perfection, and I just want to share a different perspective with you. Once I left college, it was much easier to let go of the need to be perfect. Who is keeping track? Only me. A failed test will not determine your life path. What can you take away from that failing grade? Maybe you didn't spend your time wisely and get enough studying in. Maybe calculus is not what you want to do for the rest of your life. Maybe you have test anxiety. But you are not a failure and you are not doomed to be unsuccessful in life. The difference between guilt and shame is the difference between "I did something bad" and "I'm a bad person" (insert any given negative adjective for bad). Learning about the difference between the two has really opened my eyes. I am not a failure. Yes, I failed two classes, but what were the circumstances that led to that? We are in a pandemic for crying out loud! There are so many stressors in our lives right now. Gently give yourself some grace if you can do so.

Thank you so much for reaching out! You honestly really gave me a great perspective to look at this as. I guess I was just scared of the consequences, since my parents hold pretty high standards for me. You're right; it's not a big deal. Thank you for giving me that perspective. Sometimes it's hard to realize that it's not the end of the world when you get upset about a mistake you've made. But I'm going to try to breathe a little and tell myself that I made a mistake, but that one mistake does not define me. There are definitely way more positive things than this one incident. I had a good day otherwise. Thank you for taking the time to tell me that; it really helped and brightened my mood. I hope you are doing well!

Hi, I hope you are feeling better at this point. Just wanted to say, if you got a poorer grade on calculus than what you usually get on an exam, all it means is that calculus isn’t your strongest subject right now. Possibly it means that you didn’t have the greatest instructor. It doesn’t mean you are not intelligent and certainly doesn’t make you a failure.

By the way I never took calculus at all so you are way ahead of me 🙂Way to go! 👍

Oh my! AP Calculus is no easy feat. I took regular calculus and struggled terribly and hardly passed. Look over the exam and assess where you went wrong. Shake it off and take it again. Don't worry about college and the rest of the year because you will put extra stress on yourself which will affect your ability to concentrate. If you need extra help during the year get a tutor. Hang in there. You will be fine.

Thank you Phil-4-13 and froggymom88! I guess I just got afraid of what might happen. I'm definitely going to take it again, and I'm also going to talk to the teacher about it. Things like that just scare me. And yeah, my teacher isn't the greatest. He's known in my school as the teacher who doesn't teach, so lucky me haha. Thank you guys for the awesome advice!

stronglittlerose put it best. So I'll echo a bit of what he or she said,....you are a human being and there are other factors at play. Hopefully your parents will understand. If not, you aren't a failure. When you get out into the world, you can be anything you want and you'll be fine.

Thank you Caringrose. And you're right; life is just scary sometimes. Just gotta put my big girl pants on haha.

That's not what I meant. I meant ok, you failed one class and that is not going to determine your whole future. You will see see how awesome and big the world gets in a good way when you leave high school. ((((Hug))))

I can't wait to be out of highschool haha. Wish it were sooner.

In a blink if an eye you'll be out and can't believe how quickly time flies.

Very true!

Not every day is going to be your best day, not every class is going to be your best class and not every grade is going to be your best grade. None of us are perfect! Make this situation a learning moment for yourself. What didn’t I do? What could I do better next time? After that let it go. You are in AP classes for goodness sake! That is a win all by itself. Try to be a little more gentle on yourself. You are wonderful just as you are!

Thank you so much! My parents just set such high standards for me that I get fearful of not meeting them. I'm going to try to relax and not be as hard on myself. One bad grade won't define me after all. <3

Hello my dear friend.

Just up from a horrendous depression.

Will write later...wanted to tell you I have so much to write about the CI (Calculus Issue).

Miss you.


Hey sophie4! Miss you too! I'm really sorry to hear you're not doing well. I look forward to talking to you! I hope I can be of help to you!

Hey, hey, hey!!!! Have I ever missed my dear, dear friend Sunkissed_Panda!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm OK now.

I was in the middle of this reply to you all about the CI (Calculus Issue). And now I can't find it. Figures. So, later, I'll begin again. VERY IMPORTANT. Can you send me a copy of what you wrote?

Later, my pal.


Hey sophie4! I'm glad to hear you're doing better. It's totally okay that you can't find what you wrote; I will direct message you a copy of what I wrote. Maybe that will help a little haha! Can't wait to talk to you!

It's me...your sophie4. I need your understanding. I have a ton of stuff I HAVE to do before 9 and I want to watch the Debate....can I write real late tonight or tomorrow? Did I tell you I'm a FULL-TIME caregiver to my sister?

Yes you did. I don't know how much later I'll be up, but you can message me whenever it is convenient to you. And if I don't answer tonight, I will be sure to do it first thing in the morning.

I CAN'T FIND YOUR ORIGINAL POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where do I look for it???????????? I miss you and our conversations.


Hey there! You should be able to scroll all the way up and see it. If you scroll all the way up, it should be right below the banner for the Anxiety and Depression Support page. The banner is the 3 pictures you'll see. Hopefully that helps!

I FOUND IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You gotta admit there just be something amiss with me and it comes to....and there was this mean looking, second grade teacher....I even remember her name....doesn't matter. I had her for spelling in the second grade. Couldn't spell 'cow'. To me it sounded like a 'k'...kow. So, this little witch comes over to me and takes hold of my face and begins to squeeze my cheeks...harder and harder and harder. I imagine she was doing some weird demonstration of how to spell 'cow'.

"You'll NEVER learn how to spell!!!! You're a dummy!!!" I was seven years old and bought into her prediction lock, stock and barrel. And, the curse from the witch worked. I thought I would never be able to spell so I instantly became a lousy speller. Credit given where credit's due...she sort of knew, probably from experience. I've never been good at spelling. I spell the way it sounds to me. Sort of makes sense. Over the years I've become better but that prediction sort of lurks inside my ears.

Then came math. NEVER passed a math class in my life. I went to Girl's High...THE school for the big brains...everyone graduates and goes to one of the ivy league colleges. But, I never 'got' math because this guy teacher, who smelled terrible, kept asking me why I was so dumb and in this fancy-smancy school...he would send me to the board and say to the class, "OK folks, time for Laugh of the Day!!" In 12th grade the principal and vice principal called my parents into their office to tell them the startling news that I would not be allowed to graduate and should try to get my GED. The head of the math department attended this hysterical meeting. And of course my parents were there. My mother, bless her soul, listened quietly and then....BOOM..."Do you want an 86 year old woman sitting in your math class ????" "And who is at fault here? My kid or her math teachers?????? Seems to me that it's YOUR responsibility to TEACH her. She's not exactly stupid. You have to have an IQ of 135 just to get in this school. And, by the way, why, when we told the little dummy if she brought home all A's we would take her to see "The Music Man" on Broadway did she bring home ALL A's...including math???? You will see that she graduates or you will have the enormous, oh what's the best word?...PLEASURE... of having a daily meeting with me!!!!!!!!!! Needless to say, I graduated. I shamed the pretentious school because unlike every single girl in the graduating class I did not go to one of the top universities....I went to a Community College...loved it and refused to leave...it's a two year program but I was loving learning and stayed an extra year.

In the fourth grade my parents were called to have a meeting with my teacher because I was "a very bad little girl who constantly cheats". "Do you cheat?" my mother inquired. "What's cheating, Ma?" So, once again my parents trudged into school only to learn that my teacher would constantly move me around the room and lo and behold I very quickly had the exact same handwriting as the kid in front of me. My mother blew up!!!!! "She's (me) obsessed with handwriting...always has been since she began trying to write before she was two years old!!!!!" She finally decided when she was about 8 or 9 that she adored my handwriting and her father would bring home tracing paper so she could trace each letter and finally words and sentences I would write for her. To this day we share the exact same handwriting!!!!

My mother meant that as I continued to grow up I decided that I would write exactly like she wrote and I really worked at it. As a teen and young adult, people would often comment on the fact that they couldn't tell our handwriting apart. My mother wrote backhand...and beautifully.

On my father' side of the family, everyone was incredible artistically talented. My father's sister won a contest as best letterer in the country. Everyone painted...sculpted...but I wasn't even slightly talented. I was walking with my father one night after dinner and asked him what I should try..."sewing".

My father was an athlete. Before he went to war, he was given a letter by the man who owned a baseball team and stadium. It welcomed my father to be a pitcher for this pro team when he returned from war. Long story. Never happened because he was badly wounded. However, even with his handicap he almost became a pro golfer. He began teaching me to play golf when I was just about two. I won my first tournament when I was six (Daddy/Daughter tournament) and went on to be the junior champion of something or other...can't recall...after winning all the games in this one summer. I became the junior champ of the city after winning all the tournaments and in those days, only boys played golf.

Oh my gosh...haven't I been rambling....but there's a reason: You wrote that you felt like a "failure" after failing a A.P. Calculus test. You wrote that you felt like a failure and wondered if this meant you would become a failure in your life. You were so frightened of what your mother's reaction might be. You worried that maybe you were just not cut out to do well...I assumed you meant in life. You were worried that your mother would punish you. And all along you felt as though you knew the work and did well on the test.

First of all, just being able to take Calculus is a wonderful accomplishment. You're 16 years old and you're taking Calculus!!! WOWEE!!!!!!!!!! Am I ever proud of you.

Something's up though...your mother actually punishes you for doing not so hot on a test? How must that make you feel? What message are you getting about yourself?

Listen...performance on tests are reactive to so many things...how you feel physically, emotionally...how the previous night went with you parents...how you feel about yourself meaning self-confidence etc. Did you possibly have a not so great interaction with some other kids the day before the test? There are infinite possibilities.

I am NOT in favor AT ALL in giving children and teens tests of any kind. There are a myriad of other ways for the student to communicate to the teacher what he knows and feels about a particular subject. And, everyone learns at a different pace so how can a teacher pick one day to give a test? And oh yummy, what about those pop quizzes?

You are a very bright , very intuitive...and I can go on but it's getting late...young man. You have this fabulous ability to connect with other people. You have a wonderful and unique sense of humor. You are so obviously BRIGHT!!! Yes, you experience depression/anxiety. Well, at least on this forum, don't we all? I believe it's impossible to live and not experience some reactive or innate depression. It's only reasonable. Of course, there are so many individuals who have D.D....Demon Depression. And there are so many reasons why. I'm depressed every single day and have been since early childhood.

The point is, my dear friend, is to continue to enhance your self-confidence, collect positive experiences, allow yourself to have lousy experiences without any self-judgement at all.

I know that you are an extraordinary human being with magnificent, multiple qualities and talents.

Sending you extra huge hugs!


Thank you so much sophie! That honestly made me a little teary haha!

Thank you for sharing your story. You are very strong to have been able to deal with those comments and actions as a young child. People are just jerks; they bully those they see as "lesser" than them because it makes them feel good about themselves. But in the end, it accomplishes nothing. But I am so proud of you for being able to handle that.

That's awesome that you love writing! I definitely love writing too! Although, I'm picky about what I like writing about. English essays are mentally draining and a huge waste of time in my opinion. But writing freely on forums such as this, or things similar to this, are soooo enjoyable. I love expressing my opinion on things haha!

So yeah...my mom is the kind of person to punish me for any wrong thing I do. I am the oldest sibling in my family, so I am held to the highest standards, and sort of have to be the role model. It's stupid, but it is what it is. I don't like it one bit. It makes me think that I'll never be good enough to her. But my dad just tells me to ignore it, so that's what I try to do.

Honestly, I don't think I had any bad interactions with anybody before I took the test. I was overall pretty happy. If I took the test today...well...that would have been different. But that's a story for another day. I was also overall pretty confident in myself, so I don't think that was it either. I don't know. I'm a little confusing sometimes haha.

Thank you for all the positive encouragement. It's hard to tell myself those good things and not immediately think bad things. I guess it's just instinct. But I'm trying to get better. I want my mental health to improve. Don't we all though?

Anywayssss, thank you for taking the time to write all that to me. It really moved me. I hope you are doing well as always. And remember that I am always here for you. Sending love always!

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