You Had A Bad Semester, Now What?

You had a bad semester, everyone does at some point. With the difficulty of college courses, you are bound to have some semesters be better than others.

The best way to avoid this problem in the future is to be proactive and not sulk. There are many steps you can take to ensure future semesters are productive and rewarding.

You can’t get down if you have one slump of a semester, because the truth is, college is more difficult than high school, and some people adapt more slowly than others. As you progress through your college years, you classes will become more challenging, so if your grades fall a bit for a semester or two, you can’t beat yourself up.

Instead, follow these proactive steps to improve your grades if you were unhappy with them, or need to get out of your funk.

  1. Evaluate your schedule strength: Before you beat yourself about having a “bad semester,” consider the difficulty or strength of your schedule. Freshman and sophomore year your entry-level classes or general education requirements might not be that difficult, and your grades reflect that. However, as you get into your 300-400 level classes, you might notice a dip in your GPA, but don’t fret! You may just need to acclimate to harder classes, so give yourself some credit.
  2. Evaluate your study habits: How did you study this semester? Where did you study this semester? Often times the biggest problem with grades falling is the study methods people choose, or lack thereof. Reflect on the study habits you developed during the semester. Were you successful or do you need to adjust the way you work/study? If you did poorly on exams this semester, try adjusting how and where you study. If you never make flash cards, try it! If you always study in your dorm, try relocating to the library or a coffee shop where there are fewer distractions.
  3. Don’t overload yourself: Are you the person who has 16 credits, writes for the paper, plays a club sport and volunteers on the weekends? If, so you might be overloading yourself with activities, making it hard to keep up academically. Balance your schedule so your class load still allows you to participate in extra curricular activities and enjoy a social life. I have made the mistake before of taking all very difficult classes at once to “get them out of the way,” but it ended up hurting me in the long run because I was too stressed out and doing poorly.
  4. Hire a tutor or find a study group: If you have been struggling in your classes for multiple semesters, you may want to consider hiring a tutor. Many colleges even offer free group tutoring for notoriously difficult subjects. Take advantage of free services your university may provide, they could end up truly helping you increase your GPA. Also, it’s always good to form study groups in classes you find more challenging. Getting feedback from your peers is a great way to learn more and gain a different perspective than just the lecture from the professor.

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Madeline Fetchiet

Madeline Fetchiet

Madeline Fetchiet is a sophomore at Michigan State University, studying journalism and philosophy of law. Aside from reporting, Madeline enjoys tae kwon do, reading, writing, researching and traveling, and can be considered a music enthusiast. Madeline currently works as an intern for, and is a banquet server at Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor, MI. Perfecting the storytelling side of reporting is something she looks forward to in her future career as a journalist.
Madeline Fetchiet

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