Strategies of a Scholar- Grades: "Whattchuu GET?!?!?" - How You Can Use Old Grades To Become A Better Student!
At the start of this new year and new semester let’s talk a little about grades. How did you do last semester? Whether you got straight A’s, you’re facing academic dismissal or you’re somewhere in between this post is for you. Read on. Grades are assessment tools. They measure whether or not we've retained course concepts and if so, whether or not we're able to successfully apply what we've learned practically. Grades don't just stop at your transcript. GPA's are one thing but students should also use their grades in order to gauge the effectiveness of the classroom and study strategies they are employing. This post will hopefully help you measure you efficiency as a student. Is what you're doing working? Great! Lets think about how to maintain your momentum. But if what what you're doing is not working, ( as evidenced by subpar grades) what steps can we take to turn things around.
If you did get all A’s, let me be first to congratulate you for you hard work and dedication. I know it wasn’t easy but Baybeee.. it’s worth it. As you approach this semester, reassess your study strategies, make note of what worked and REPEAT. :-) Now's also a good time to think of things that you could do differently. It's not the time start smelling yourself and believing your next 4.0 semester is already in the bag. Engage in your classes, review your syllabi and set goals. Figure out what it required to succeed in each class. Don't let anything sneak up on you, know when tests/quizzes will be given and papers will be due. Make sure that you keep a calendar that contains this information for each of your classes and manage you time. Gaining momentum and taking off was difficult and maintain your altitude will likely be just as challenging. (Who remembers that Cosby show episode? God I love that show:-)
Ok, so l et’s say, you did well in most of your classes but there was one or two classes that gave you grief. I understand your plight, we’ve all been there many times. At one point it was my statistics class with my Bulgarian professor. Not only was the content of the course intimidating but the language barrier in the classrom was enough to have me in office hours with my TA every single week! For some of my peers, this was course of action was drastic. They picked up the material on their own or withing study groups. But that just wasn't enough for me. This situation helped me identify the extra steps that help me navigate through challenging courses. I encourage you to think about the Fall 2011 semester in terms of what made it tough. Then take some time and think about your response to those challenges an your response to the challenge and how effective it was. Challenging courses that I've faced throught my academic career have helped me realize that recording my lectures, making extremely detailed class notes, visiting the writing/learnings center, etc, where resources that were beneficial in helping me digest difficult subject matter. There is no shame is taking advantage of the resources available to you. Ive learned that in many cases, the individual that appears to have learned everything is usually not half as sucessful as the individual willing to admit what he/she has yet to learn.
Finally, as much as I would love to believe that this is not a problem for most of my readers but let’s just say one or two of you may have gotten a D (or dare I say an F) this past semester. * Give me a minute llow me a minute to clutch my pearls and recite a small prayer! Just joking * Okay.. No worries.. it happens. Keep your head up; all is not lost. Now is definitely the time think about the classes (or classes) you didn't pass and figure out where you went wrong. I also encourage you to supplement your individual self reflections with an email/visit to that professor. I ‘ll talk about this in future posts but it doesn’t always pay to be to proud. Your humility will get you a long way( even if ain’t completely genuine). Bite the bullet and let him/her know that you regret not doing well in class and you want some help in figuring out where you went wrong so you can make it right. You may be able to finagle an incomplete in the course, until you can rectify previous tests/assignemnts that you missed or didn't do well on. If you professor is not up for negotiation I would then suggest meeting with your financial aid/academic advisors to figure out the best time for you to retake the course you failed. There is no real excuse for D’s and F’s on a transcript, especially if you have aspirations for graduate school. So if you can it's best to try and make your wrongs right.
I hope this helps.
In Constant Pursuit of All Things Fabulous,