Bouncing Back After a Rough Semester

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Kayleigh Parish
A college student’s laptop open to a calendar screen for January 2024.

As you make your way through your college career, you are bound to run into some rough times. Whether it’s due to extenuating circumstances outside of the classroom or difficult course content, you might find yourself in a situation where the semester didn’t quite turn out like you originally planned. So, what do you do if this does happen? Here are four tips to help you through this stressful time to help get you back on track to do well in the semester ahead.

1. Take a deep breath.

It’s going to be all right. The courses you are taking are designed to be challenging. It’s okay if you struggled this past semester. This is the time to assess the situation you’re in and make any necessary changes. Double-check on important matters, like financial aid, and make a game plan to ensure that you’re not too affected. Look at next semester's course schedule and adjust your classes accordingly. Breathe. You’re going to make it through this.

2. Keep your notes and course work.

While they might not be the most helpful to you now, if you end up re-taking the course, they can be a great roadmap to build off of the second time around. Look at your notes and see where they can be improved. Keep any practice problems and work on them in between now and when you take the course again. This can help you build a solid foundation for your next attempt. Use what work you did put into the course to your advantage.

3. Do some research.

Look around your campus and see what resources they provide to their students. Find the tutoring services and utilize them throughout your courses. See if your university has any grade forgiveness programs in place and learn how to apply for them once you retake the class successfully.

4. Use the resources you have.

Ask classmates to join your study group. Utilize TA and professor office hours. Look at your own study patterns and adapt them as is necessary for your own success. Find clarifying videos online and use any course materials provided to practice before your future exams. Build healthy habits that can make your semester run smoother. Get organized and make sure you’re ready to take the semester head on!

Using these tips can help to prepare you for the current semester and the semesters ahead. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone has rough semesters. If you take the steps to bounce back strong you can help set yourself up for success! Good luck!

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