Five Steps to Turn your Semester Around

By Matthew Curtis

Many students find the middle of the semester a time of high stress. Photo: Getty Images Pro.

You don’t know how you got here, but here you are: your inbox is blowing up with emails from online profs wondering where your work is; missed online quizzes are starting to pile up faster than you can say ‘procrastination’ and all those lies you told yourself about your ability to watch online lectures after Thirsty Thursdays are catching up with you. It’s the time of year most students dread—the turning point of the term when you round the bend and find real life and responsibilities staring you in the face. You may be asking yourself, is there hope? Can you save your semester? It’s possible. Follow these five steps and you just could be in luck.

1. Admit you screwed up.

It’s often said that the first step to solving a personal problem is admitting you have one. Start by accepting that you haven’t been your best self — after all, a little self-acceptance goes a long way.  The sooner you do, the easier it will be to start taking action.

2. Figure out how much work is ahead of you.

It’s not going to be easy, but you’ll need to take a long, hard look at your grades for this step. You know, the type of look you’ve been avoiding this whole time. Calculate where you stand and what grades you’ll need to achieve moving forward in order to pass the term. This will be the best indicator of the amount of work it will take to save your semester.

3. Plan it out.

Remember all those documents your profs gave you at the start of the term? The ones they told you to keep in a safe place and to refer to diligently? The ones called a syllabus? Dive into all the syllabi you have and pull out all the dates for the assignments that are left in the semester. This will help you stay organized and on top of your work. (If you’re in an online course, it’s likely these dates are already on the calendar in cuLearn — aren’t you lucky!)

4. Let your profs know.

Seriously. If you swallow your pride and let your profs know how bad your situation is, but that you’re willing to do what it takes to turn your grades around, you’d be surprised how much this can help your case. After this you just have to…

5. Put in the work.

Make no mistake: it’ll suck. You’ll sweat over every assignment while knowing you only have a tiny margin of error for every test you take,and if you’re smart, you’ll be done with Thirsty Thursdays for the rest of this semester. But stay positive by thinking that it will all be worth it. After all, you just might pass.