I'm a sophomore undergrad and I'm thinking of applying to research interns in various labs for the following summer. I do not have an excellent GPA because my freshman year had been a mess due to various reasons. I'm however working/planning to work on self/supervised projects currently which I believe might make up for the "why I'm fit" part. But, I still feel bad about my grades. It's also that most of them have nothing to do with my actual major (Computer Science) and the intern I'm applying to. This is because students of all engineering majors at my university do common courses in their freshman year. I did slightly improve my grades from the first semester to the second but they're still far below what I want. Usually, students from my batch who get interns at excellent labs have 9.5+/10 GPA, I'm merely slightly above 8.
I think that I might lose many opportunities just due to my GPA, as it demonstrates my inability to learn or focus even if the courses taken aren't really relevant (except few basic ones) but are easier to score in. Should I bother explaining my GPA in my cover letter? If yes, how can I put it so that it doesn't seem like they're just excuses to my supposed lazy-ness? Is there any other way of going about this situation?