Taking responsibility for the grade you earned

Kaitlin Sansenbach

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Many college students blame professors for grades that are less than desirable. But it is the student’s own responsibility to make sure they do everything in their power to receive the grades they want.

Every semester professors hear all the excuses students give. The final draft of the paper was “lost” when my computer crashed, my car broke down on the way to school, my boyfriend or girlfriend just broke up with me and on top of that,  students seem to vanish the last few weeks of the semester.

When professors give poor grades it is most likely due to the students’ inability to show up to class and put in the right amount of effort to pass.

That being said, a student will inevitably perform less than satisfactory at one point in their academic career. But the main factor is how you learn and grow from the situation.

A bystander can hear the chatter among Sacramento State students about how horrible a professor was and that is the sole factor in getting a low grade. You  often hear, “Well if the professor actually taught us something in the classroom, maybe I would have done better in the class.”

That is completely the wrong attitude and Sac State alumnus Joseph Dooley, 25, agrees.  

“A lot of students will blame the professors for bad grades, when really it is usually a lack of effort from the student. They chose other activities to engage in, instead of being a proactive student,” Dooley said.

If students are expecting their professors to grade tests on a curve or to use other tactics to make good grades easier to come by, they should probably find another path of life outside of school.

That type of mindset, always expecting the easy way out and unwilling to work for what they want to achieve is pure laziness.

Nursing alumna Savannah Trimboli, 23, agrees  students hold the ultimate responsibility for success at Sac State.

“I think that good professors can definitely have an impact on an education, but it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to get motivated and put in extra work. I cannot say enough good things about the faculty in Sac State’s nursing program, they go above and beyond to help people in the program,” Trimboli said. 

Motivation for studying can be hard to find at times, but studying is the best way to achieve stellar grades in any particular class–whether it is mechanical engineering or children’s literature.

A common aphorism is “if a student fails, the teacher fails”. But this is not the truth for all circumstances.

One of the distinguishing factors between kindergarten through 12th grade education and higher learning at a college level is the transfer of responsibility. A college professor is supposed to provide a well-structured curriculum to make the objectives of the class obtainable for the student to pave a way for learning.

But, like another aphorism, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”.

Sac State journalism professor Reed Parsell believes in that theory. 

“Obviously, some instructors are better able to get their points across than are others. And of course, some instructors are more glib and inspirational. But unless there’s a gross negligence on the part of the instructor, ultimately it’s the student who has the responsibility to learn, and to be held accountable for how she or he does in a class.”

Taking initiative is the student’s academic responsibility if they want to become successful.

A student receives a bad grade based off their performance from the entire semester. When students look at their final grade and are surprised, it doesn’t make sense. Professors don’t  randomly get grades out of a hat and assign them to students – students earn  grades.

At the first sign of bad test scores, studious students should go talk to the teacher and really hone in on the problem and do better the next time around.

At some point, students have to realize they are the product of their successes and failures. Students need to figure out that if you want to succeed there are certain steps that have to be taken.