By Alexis Rodriguez > Junior > English > Cornell University
For many of us spring break is now just a memory and only weeks are left ‘til finals. You wake up Sunday morning after an all-night rager and you suddenly recall getting a few tests back this week with pretty low numbers on them. It’s a little more than mid-way through the semester and you’re starting to realize that you just might not be doing as well in some of your classes as you’d like. Raise your hand if this has happened (or IS happening) to you.
You are not alone, trust me. It’s inevitable. We start to slack off around spring break and we never seem to get back on track despite all of our solemn vows to do better. It’s one thing after another that gets in the way of goal. So how DO you finish the semester strong when it feels like you’re struggling to survive in an academic quicksand?
Aside from actually showing up to class and turning in your homework on time, your professors do have a plethora of other expectations. They didn’t invent office hours for the hell of it. The thing about professors is that most can be very understanding…IF they actually KNOW who you are. Most of your classes are probably rather large and if to them you’re just a name on a homework assignment how can they help turn that C+ into a B? Utilize their office hours. Go in there after you receive yet another less than satisfactory grade and tell them “Hey, look. I’m not doing that well in this class right now. How can I do better?” No they can’t magically turn a D into an A but if they see you making a genuine effort they’ll tend to be a tad more lenient than they would if you were nothing but a faceless name. Not to mention, if you form a relationship with your professors you can always ask them for a recommendation.
One of my many mottos is “better late than never” (though there is such a thing as “too little too late”). If you are one of those students who does show up to class, but sits in the back trying to pass the time stalking your latest hook-up on Facebook, there’s no time like the present to change that. Believe it or not, participation does factor into final grades (it’s NOT just something professors put down on syllabi to foster wishful thinking). You still have time. Start raising your hand and answering questions. Even if you’re wrong, so what? It is never a BAD thing to at least stand out a little (though there is a fine line between standing out and brown nosing – no one likes a brown noser).
There is always hope but don’t wait to the last second. Yeah, it sucks that we couldn’t live up to our plan of working really hard all semester, but it takes a big person with strong character to admit when they’re wrong and fix the problem. There are always a ton of solutions, find them. Talk to your professors, explain your situation to them. They’re here to help you, not to fail you (or else we’d call them grim reapers instead of TEACHers). Finish this semester with a bang and remember, summer IS just around the corner.
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