When Your GPA Just Ain't What It Used to Be
Classes |  Source: Tatiana Popova (edited)

When Your GPA Just Ain't What It Used to Be

So long high school 4.0's and Straight A's, now I just hope I pass

We all joke about it during finals. We all see the memes about crashing GPA's. But most of us secretly know that our GPA will never actually fall all that low. We know we will pass our classes, keep that pristine GPA and move on to stress again next semester.

Or, at least, you know that until you check your grades and suddenly, your GPA is a whole point lower than it has ever been.

And frankly, that's pretty common when it comes to college.

College is tough, tougher than high school ever made you believe (preparing you for college, my ass). But the thing is, grades and GPA don't define you anymore. So here are a few things to do after your grades don't live up to expectations.

Give yourself some time
Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you did the best you could. Pour yourself a shot or two or twelve. Maybe throw a little funeral for your GPA. Do whatever it is you usually do to make yourself feel better.

You can cry and scream and hide in bed, let yourself be sad. But only for a bit, your grade point average is not something to wallow on.
Ask why
Did you not do well in your classes because:

A) they were hard as f**k for everybody (Organic Chemistry where you at)?

Or B) you hated the class and never put any effort into studying?

If your answer is A, then chill. You are fine, you are taking difficult classes and chances are good that your grades look pretty similar to that of your peers. But if your answer is B, maybe it is time to think about heading a different direction. Take classes that actually interest you, or even think about switching majors.
Change how you study
Did you put everything off until the last minute? Stop. Did you spend countless hours in the library until you went a little stir crazy? Leave. Did you stay out until 2 AM the night of your midterm? Change!

It took me awhile to realize that I hated studying in the library. I much prefer to study in the corner of a cozy coffee shop. I'm so much more productive in that environment than if I were to spend 12 hours in the library. Studying for college classes is all about finding what works for you and managing your time efficiently.
Don't, and I mean DON'T, panic.
Yeah, your grades weren't up to par this time around. But don't lose all hope, because, well, it happens to everyone at one point or another. It is really important to pick yourself up, fix your habits and go in fresh once classes begin again.

So, whether bad grades to you means a 3.8 or a 2.0, this semester didn't go as planned. Just prepare to work harder and smarter next time around. And also know that in the real world, no one will really care about one semester's GPA.

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Classes |  Source: @juro_zmatek

How to Get Back on Track This Semester

It's hard, but it's worth it.

In high school, I was not a great student. It's not even just that I copied homework in study hall, I just literally just ignored homework altogether. I didn't care about my GPA, (clearly, I misunderstood college admissions at this time), and I refused to stay up past 10 p.m. to do homework. Usually I was just lounging around, watching Netflix.

Once I got to college, I realized I needed to make a huge change. I worked my ass off and spent tons of time in the library. I actually got good grades. It was truly a shock to myself and everyone that knew me. I then became psychotic about grades and refused to get less than an A.

I continued to get great grades until I hit a tough semester - my classes were harder than normal, the grading seemed unfair, I was falling behind. Worst of all, I couldn't get myself to care. I would look at my grades and be pissed off at myself, but couldn't seem to drag myself to the library.

It took a few weeks and a lot of stressing to put myself back on track but there are a few important things I learned:

Email your professor and go to office hours
If you're falling behind, your professor is grading really tough, or you just know your grade sucks, talk to your professor. Either email them and express your concern, or better yet, attend their office hours. Putting in that small amount of effort can go a long way, and they may give you options that help you improve your grades almost automatically.

Set your alarm early, get a coffee, and force yourself to go to the library
Block all distractions, i.e., turn your phone on airplane mode and actually study. Sit down, take notes, and look at what assignments are coming up in the next few weeks. Prepare to actually put in time for them and hit the books. There is only one way to fully get back on track, and that's to study.

Go through your agenda
Label days that you have tests, days that assignments are due, and days you should study. Find a day you are less busy and make that your study day. Then, every designated study day, force yourself to spend time in the library completing your work and getting ahead. (Or, back on track.)

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Classes | 

To Withdraw or Not to Withdraw?

Wanting to get a head start on your weekend is not a good reason.

Add/Drop: a fleeting vision, a whisper of a dream. Or, to be less dramatic, the week or so you get to fiddle with your schedule one last time before you lock in for real for the rest of the semester. After that, the consequences get slightly higher.

It's not exactly a zero; and it's not exactly an empty hole in your transcript. It's a flag saying, "Hey, this kid dipped out at some point." I did it one semester; and while you might feel like you need to as well, there are some things you should do and know about the process.

You need to talk to your teacher, advisor, and potentially a financial aid advisor to see exactly how a withdrawal will affect you. For example, withdrawing from a required course could cause problems with later registration because you don't have the prerequisite filled. On the financial side, losing that class could drop your GPA or credit count too low, and you could lose aid and scholarships, or lose your place in things like the honors program. And obviously, it can set you back a little bit in your degree progress, since you'll have to make up those credits at some point.

I'll make this clear now; withdrawals aren't done so you can have a free afternoon. They're done when there is a big, insurmountable conflict in your schedule, or for significant personal reasons. FYI: wanting to get a head start on your weekend is not a significant personal reason.

On a light-ish side, taking a withdrawal can mean avoiding an F, meaning that grade won't impact your overall GPA. It acts as if you took, say, four classes instead five. Typically, it's used as a way to dodge a failing grade, but you gotta pick up the slack in your other classes to compensate.

Honestly that's the best reason to withdraw: You are crashing and burning so hard that, mathematically, you will not pass, your GPA will take the hit, and you'll STILL have to retake it. Withdrawals can save your ass, but use them wisely.

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Classes |  Source: twenty20.com

Four Items I Always Travel With

Get through this life with as little as you need for as long as you can.

Get through this life with as little as you need for as long as you can.

Though I have picked up many rules to live by in the few short years that I have been traveling this world, the rule above is one of those rules that I've come to live by, not only when I am traveling, but more importantly when I am not.

However, in regards to when I am traveling, there are always four items that I carry with me...


Source: Ratte

This is my backpack. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

It's my opinion that any hack-ass backpacker knows that their backpack sits atop their gear food chain. It's how you carry all your stuff; through state to state, country to country, and adventure to adventure.

In a way, it is your mobile home; a place to keep the shit you already have, and a place to store the shit that you are going to pick up along the way--the shit that you can't carry in your heart or your mind.

Black Clothing

Source: Ratte

There are three reasons why I usually only travel with black clothing nowadays. First off, if all your clothes are black, then, in principle, every configuration of clothing you can come up with should, in principle, match. Second, when it is winter, black clothing will absorb the sun's heat and when it's hot the black clothing will hide sweat. Third, you'll look stylish whether you are hitting up the clubs in Berlin or breaking into an abandoned dance hall, the likes of which are also in Berlin.

A Book

Source: Ratte

Someone once told me that they never trust any traveler that doesn't carry at least one book. I don't know why they felt that way, but since then I've always carried at least two books to make sure I appeased that total stranger. Books can be amazing in the way that they can transform as you transform during an adventure. Books like Into the Wild and The Old Man and the Sea can mean one thing at the beginning of a summer and a very different thing after that summer has died.


Since I've started to come into my own in regards to my writing, I've come to always carry notepads. This way, when I sit down to compose a piece of writing, I can check back on my notes, on my writing of the last few days, and I don't have to come up with everything right then and there.

Though, less technically, writing is also the only thing that soothes me. I need to write because of the therapeutic nature--the therapeutic chokehold--it has me in.

After an adventure, I can reread my work and reflect on who I was and how my most recent experiences changed me. Some people take thousands of photos; I write tens of thousands of words. In the end, writing about my travels also allows me the opportunity to send those works out and be published by publications like FlockU.

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Classes |  Source: truetostyle.com

Five Tips for Writing a Great Two Page Essay

Don't choose a topic that's too broad.

The biggest defining factor about a two-page essay is, well, it's only two pages long. You don't have a lot of space to state your argument and support it.

Instructors usually ask you to write a two-pager when they want you to explain your stance on a topic you (should) know well, such as a novel you're reading in class or a concept you've been studying for the past few weeks.

That means your instructor is mainly looking to see if you can make an argument that's interesting, original, and concise.

How? We've got you covered with these tips.

Focus on a simple, narrow topic.

You can't tackle a complex or broad topic on just two pages. So think of a topic that's straightforward and doesn't need a lot of explanation and backstory. This is simple: the No. 1 reason why technology makes us unproductive. This is complicated: how Homer develops the characters in The Odyssey.

Outline your essay.

The shorter your essay, the more important every sentences becomes. That's why it can be immensely helpful to first outline your paper so you don't go off on tangents.

Keep the introduction brief.

Your introduction should be about four to five sentences. Use the rest of the space for the real meat of the piece. The introduction should answer three questions: What is the main point, why does it matter, and to whom does it matter?

Write what you know.

Two-pagers tend to require much less research than lengthy thesis papers. By all means, look up any facts you need, but spend most of your time developing your ideas, organizing them, and fleshing them out.

Don't force yourself to write your paper in order.

Sometimes it can be easier to write the introduction after you've written the supporting paragraphs. You'll know exactly what you're introducing.

Every type of essay has its own challenges. For a two-pager, the challenge is to make an insightful argument in a small amount of space. Keep it simple, and the rest should follow.

Word to your Flocker.

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Classes |  Source: naked-science.ru

When You Get Bad Grades Your First Semester

How to pull yourself out of that funk.

College is a new, fun, and exciting place for recent high school graduates. Freedom is at your fingertips and its easy to get carried away with it. Ultimately, we're here to get a degree and learn on a different level than we ever have before, but the social aspect can sometimes overtake our focus on school.

With that being said, many of us practically flunk out in our first semester of college. So let's look at how not to get kicked out of our dream schools.

Find some better study techniques.
Studying in high school may have been easy for you, but the techniques you used back then may not work now. College professors like to talk really fast and you end up scrambling to take notes so that by the time you get home, you have now idea what the class was even about.

Try taking a look at what study habits didn't work and what did and build off the places where you were successful this semester.

Lighten the load.
Sometimes it isn't your study habits, but rather the amount of work you had. Sure, we all took between six and seven classes in high school, but we also lived with our parents and had everything provided for us. Plus, it was high school, c'mon.

In college, on average, people take about three to four classes, but we're also paying rent, cooking for ourselves, managing our health, time, and money, and constantly being distracted by the extreme amount of social interaction. Maybe consider how many classes you tried to take your first semester and lighten your load for the second semester. It's better to take three classes and pass them than to try and take five and fail half.

Manage your time.
With that being said about the millions of distractions and responsibilities that come with being in college, it's really important to figure out how to manage your time. There will always be time to go out and have fun and see your friends, so make sure you're leaving enough time to study as well.

Don't be like me and stay up until 5 a.m. on a Tuesday and then sleep until 2 p.m., miss all your classes and have no time to study. Trust me, it really doesn't end well.

Take care of yourself.
Lastly, your health is what is really going to affect how you do in school. Dorms are big petri dishes. When you're not sleeping, not eating healthy, not exercising, and just flat out neglecting yourself, you're going to get sick. And not like getting a cold sick. Actually sick.

I think I went through two sinus infections, an ear infection, two flus and a cold within my first three months of college. And out of all my friends, I had the best of it. If you're sick more than you're healthy in college, you'll never make it to any of your classes and you definitely won't have the motivation to get any work done. Just drink your Emergen-C and get some sleep, little ones.

College is a blast and we're here to have a good time, but we're also paying a lot of money for a good education. It's okay to screw up your first semester because it happens to a lot of people. There's people everywhere who are used to dealing with students who need help getting back on their feet.

However, you can do yourself a favor by sometimes just sitting down, shutting up, and studying. Now go get your money's worth.