When dreams of a perfect semester fall short, plan to recover during finals

A lot can change over the course of a semester.

In August, many students come into the school year with big plans about how they are going to step it up this year, how they are going to study harder than they have before, or maybe even how they might actually attend all of their classes.

But, over the course of a semester, particularly the fall semester, a transformation occurs.

Students are no longer bright eyed and bushy tailed. Instead, by November they are slowly making their way around campus, just trying to find a way to get by.

In some cases, real life got in the way. The passing of a family member, the complications brought on by a job that affects one’s performance in the classroom or just an unequivocal feeling of being overwhelmed haunts their every waking moment.

By November, many are preparing to admit defeat. Midterms may have nosed their grades straight into the ground in spectacular fashion and they just can’t figure out a way to recover their semester and end it on a decent note.

Once midterms come and go and you reach the point of no return, there are ways to cope with the stress that inevitably accompanies the final few weeks of the semester.

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First, and most importantly, talk with your professors. Most professors really do have a heart, despite what some people may tell you. Professors have been where you are coming from and might be willing to work with you a little bit.

Second, don’t make the same mistakes that you may have made during midterms. Finals are a completely new deal. Study hard for the last tests of the semester. That can make all the difference between a passing grade – though it may just barely be passing – or a failing grade, which causes you nothing but pain, stress and having to stick around college for at least another semester.

Third, find a place where you really can sit down and accomplish something on the academic front. For some, it may be the Student Union. Others prefer sitting in one of the spines. Others choose to lock themselves in the library. Maybe your house or a coffee shop is a place where you can relax and really study and get things done.

No matter where you choose to go, just try to not let yourself get distracted.

The last thing, don’t get all hopped up on Red Bull, Rockstar or coffee and pull a string of all-nighters. It really doesn’t help you, especially in the last day or two leading up to the test. All that does is make you tired and mentally unprepared to pull your grades out of the gutter.

Of course, we should be encouraging you to not put yourself in a position where you have to become a miracle worker to make something out of nothing, and we do encourage that. But, realistically, it is something that happens frequently. More often than not, people need the encouragement to recover their semester than to start it off well.