February for me means the quarter semester crisis. This isn't often talked about, but the stress and strain of September/February is real for many students. It's the time of the year when the heat starts getting turned up, you get your first test or paper scores back, and even though there are tons of points left in the semester you begin to worry about if you can actually pass a course or not. Not to mention that in most schools the drop deadlines for a W are usually approaching quickly during this time. This can be a stressful time, but here are my tips for handling this time in the semester with grace.
Remember There Are Plenty Of Points Left
Now is not the time to completely freak out. You have to get a handle on your emotions so you can make the best judgements about any courses that you are in. Remember, courses in college are extremely backloaded. What does this mean for you? Probably that most of the course points haven't even happened yet. A few bad quiz grades or a bad test score are not indicative of your final course grade. When I took Biology in undergrad I failed a test or two or got lower grades than normal on the tests. Since the class weighed the final really heavily I was able to breathe, focus on doing really well on the cumulative final, and I ended up with a B in the course. If I had given up when I was failing in the beginning/middle I wouldn't have ever seen that B on my transcript. Be careful of jumping to conclusions about your grade based on information given to you in the first few weeks of class.
Schedule An Appointment With Your Professor
Your professor can seriously be so helpful to you during your Quarter Semester Crisis. They are your go to if you are ever having a problem with a course. Always go to your professor before you do anything rash like dropping out of a course. Your professors are there to help you and talking with them is such a beneficial thing for your studying habits. They write the lectures, tests, and know the book pretty well. They can help you hone in on how to effectively study for any test because they write them and know what they are looking for. If you have any tests or papers I highly suggest stopping by your professors office hours to discuss items on the test that confused you the most or any writing assignments that you have to see why certain points were taken off.
Find A Classmate To Help Cope With The Quarter Semester Crisis
If you haven't found a study buddy/awesome classmate yet I really encourage that to be something you do. Classmates can be such a helpful tool in your study plan for a class. Comparing notes with someone else can help you fill in gaps in your own work. Having a classmate in a course that you know can be a really great bonding experience as you talk about what you love about a course or what aggravates you. Having a classmate is also great because it gives you someone to look to in case you are sick and can't make it to class. It's always great to have that someone to depend on in your courses. The more the merrier on this, as long as the relationship is beneficial for all involved. Be careful when you pick the classmate you look to for help in a course. You want to make sure they take notes that are on par with the notes that you would ordinarily take and that they take the course as seriously as you do. Your classmate/study buddy should be on par with you if not a smidge better than you academically. At the end of the day you just want to make sure that both parties benefit, so there can be imbalance in this relationship, just make sure both parties are okay with any imbalance in a classmate/study buddy friendship.
Fix Your Study Plan
I suggest using the same study plan for all your courses up until you get your first test or few assignments back. After that though, it's important to adjust (given your assignments) your study plan. You have to make adjustments, because if something is not working, why continue to do it? In order to fix your study plan, having a study plan to begin with is great. If you didn't really have a study plan you have to do some retroactive thinking.
- How much time did you spend studying for the course, like really studying, not just "studying."
- What did you study?
- What did you study the most?
- What was the makeup of the tests/assignments?
- Did you study the right things?
- Did you fill out the study guide?
It's important to take a good look at how you studied and compare it to the layout of the test. Check out my blog on my test tips for some great ideas on how to study and ace your tests! After you have analyzed your study plan you can make any necessary adjustments to study time easily as well as using what was on a previous test to determine what sorts of things you need to know for the next test. For example, if your first History exam tested you on a ton of dates, it would be safe to say that trend will continue so you need to shift your study plan so you focus on memorizing more dates.
Find Outside Help
Sometimes it's important to realize that you can't do it all on your own. During these moments I really suggest going for outside help. If you're studying, your professor, and your classmates weren't of much help, try a stranger. Especially in the lower level classes there is often tutoring to be found around campus to help you out with studying for classes. These tutors are trained by the university and they are super well versed in the classes they tutor for. You could enlist the help of an older friend in the department, a sorority sister, or someone else who may have had the class in the past. As far as papers there are often writing centers on campus or various people in your life that you can get to proofread papers for you. Always look for help outside of the classroom if necessary because it can be so helpful for you in succeeding in your courses.
Dealing with the quarter semester crisis can be difficult. During this time of the semester it is so important that you stay calm, stay the course, and try to work out your year the best you can. I hope that this has been helpful for you in regards to dealing with your quarter semester crisis. I also hope that this was able to provide you with the hope and encouragement needed to survive college while going through a quarter semester crisis.