We have all had those moments. The ones where we get back a test, quiz, homework, even full set of final grades and realize that it just wasn’t as good as we wanted or needed. It can be a huge hit to one's ego or overall grade point average. With that, we always need ways to come back, to prove that we are as capable as we know we can be and get those grades we deserve. So for all of you that wished last semester had been just a little bit better, here are my tips for you.
1. Forget about last semester and focus on this one. It’s easy to get bogged down with thoughts of your previous downfalls and everything that went wrong the last time you were in a class, but you have to realize that it has already happened. It’s done and over with so take all that attention and focus that you’ve been directing toward reliving the past and turn it towards making this semester better. There is always room for improvement. Approach it with a good attitude and put in the effort and you can do anything.
2. Find a new studying style. This may mean having a style to begin with if you coasted through last semester on nothing but sheer dumb luck, but if you are finding that even though you study you just don’t seem to be getting good grades, know that there are other options out there. You can research them and find a lot of new types to try. On my campus there is a tutoring center where the tutors are happy to help you go through various types of studying and note taking styles because they were taught them before they began tutoring.
3. Remember to take notes. This is vital. You can’t look back on what was covered during class if you don’t take notes. A tip for classes where the professor puts the notes online for you is to write the notes in your notebook before class and leave some space to add things as they are talking. This allows you to add anything additional they say and also just to listen rather than scrambling to write what is in front of you. If your professor allows it, you can record the class and play it back later when you are able to take your time and have better notes.
4. Talk to your professors. If something is going wrong and you are unable to do everything as well as you would like, you can tell the professor. Remember that they are human too and will understand any of those human problems you may be having that are making school difficult. Even if you aren’t having these, you should still create a relationship with your professor, making sure they have your back and know that you are trying.
5. Turn off Netflix. If you are watching on a different streaming platform, turn that off too. Make it a reward to yourself for once you finish all your work, not something you can enjoy before or while doing your work because then you will never get anything done. College involves focus, oftentimes much more than high school ever asked for, so you may need to take a step back and give the assignment your full attention for once. Our lives revolve around television shows and social media, but these things should be off while you are trying to learn.
6. Have access to a textbook. I’m not saying you should buy it, since that is a total scam, but you should at least know someone who will share with you or be willing to go to the library and ask to see the one your professor put on hold. The textbook will always have more information than the professor will and will come in handy on the tests or when writing papers. Some professors will use the textbook for homework, testing to see if you have it, so make sure you’ve found a way to get a hold of it for these circumstances. It’s not worth the failing grade.
7. Understand and accept your needs. Maybe your friend is able to go out every night and drink like there is no tomorrow but you need to be limited to just weekends. That’s okay. Maybe your roommate can survive on four hours of sleep but if you have less than eight you fall asleep in the back of the classroom. This is okay too. You just have to recognize that you can’t be living the same lives as your friends, especially when it causes issues with your schooling. The college experience is amazing and you should totally participate, but know your limits. College is for learning. Best of luck this semester. No matter how you did previously, I’m sure you’ve got it. College is a learning curve, both for information and understanding ourselves. It takes time to realize when we have to take a step back and try a different approach. I’ve been there, and I’m sure most other people have too. Take a deep breath. Now go and get it.