How to Have the Best Semester Ever



Some of you may remember the burning pile of feces that was last semester. I’m not stretching the truth to call it the worst term of my university career. I mean, I barely held onto the GPA required to keep my scholarship and that’s a 2.0… So low. And I vowed to do better, to never fail that hard again, and this semester I followed through and then some.

So how did I do it?

I’m not going to take full credit here. Three of my classes were upper-level courses which, generally, focus on lectures and bigger assignments instead of participation and busy work. And I write a mean essay. However, I know that if I hadn’t worked hard I wouldn’t have done as well as I wanted to.

I am a pro-procrastinator and always have been. I was the girl who stayed up till one in middle school to work on a huge project due the next day. However, this semester I wanted to stay on top of my assignments or even work on them ahead of time and—for the most part—I succeeded. For the small homework assignments I did a lot of them right after lecture when I had a break between classes and the material was fresh in my head. The bigger assignments I tried to work on a bit at a time, especially the full-length screenplay I had to write.

There was a lot of reading to do this semester and I’ll admit that I wasn’t as on top of this as I could’ve been. I frequently used my break period to read the material for the next class or spent entire mornings tearing through a thirty page article on American-Chinese trade. The Captain’s soccer games were great excuses to unplug and read for class, especially since I tend to stay inside my nice weatherproof car.

This is the first semester in a while that I’ve had a great relationship with one of my professors and, trust me, they always pay off. Professors who like you and know that you’re interested in the material and work hard are more likely to give you a break or bump up your grade if it’s needed. Plus if it’s a subject you like it’s always fun to learn some stuff that might not be in the lectures, and it always pays to ask questions on anything that you’re having trouble with.

Study guides were my best friends this semester, and I made sure to go through all the terms and sample questions carefully. I learned early on that if I wanted to succeed in one of my classes I’d have to full-ass the study guide instead of just perusing it like I normally do. Which is why I spent six hours studying for the final—which was only ten questions. Keeping up on the readings, lectures, and discussions helped out on quizzes that related to those.

My attendance, as usual, was not as good as it could have been. I was on my game for the first month of school, but then suffered a setback after my grandma became ill and I in turn got depressed. But I managed to somewhat stay on top of things, and make-up the work that I missed. Which is how I pulled up one of my grades from a D to a B-.

I did some extra credit this semester too, and I recommend that if it’s offered do it! A lot of the opportunities were short responses, attending and participating in after class events, and extra discussion. A few extra points here and there help make up for moments when you have issues with assignments.

So what were my grades? I got two As and two Bs, and this is the first semester that I haven’t got a single C. I’m proud because this means that I managed to accomplish one of my resolutions, that I definitely did better than last semester, and it gave me some of my academic confidence back. My plans for next semester are to continue on this winning streak and continue to raise my GPA in the hopes of possibly applying to graduate school.



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