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 | 

How to Stop Writing like You're in High School

No one cares if you have a cover page.

It's time to unlearn many of those high school writing habits. They just don't exist anymore in college.

In high school, you might have learned to start every paragraph with the main point and end every paragraph re-stating the main point. That's not the case in college. You have much more freedom to write in the way that serves your ideas and argument.

College professors want you to think critically and write persuasively. Here's a cheat sheet to help you shift into college writing gear.

Source: K.C Uthus, FlockU

Word to your flocker.

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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: @jeremywilson

Surviving The Second Semester Struggle

GPA dropping like my motivation.

Summer is so, so close. The sun is teasing you by shining though the windows of the library, but not quite as bright as the highlighter marks in your agenda of all the upcoming assignments that will keep you hidden there for days.

The "second semester slump" is an inevitable occurrence for every college student. The realization tends to sink in on the flight home from Cancun when you arrive back to school from spring break all sun-kissed and checked-into summer mode and checked-out of school mode.

Luckily, it's not too late to salvage your grades! Here are some tips to hold onto and keep up your motivation just like you're trying to hold onto that spring-break tan.

1. Differentiate your short and long term goals.
Sometimes we tend to get fixated on what we want certain outcomes to be and we don't take the right steps forward to achieve them. It is important to set short term goals to set yourself up and lead you toward your long-term goals. By doing this, you will find yourself slowly succeeding instead of running around in circles. For example...

  • If your long term goal is to make the dean's list every semester... then your short term goal should be to check up on your assignments and coursework for each class before you are tempted to start a new Netflix series.
  • If your long term goal is to have a summer body before summer actually starts... then your short term goal can be making a daily effort to eat healthier, buy less snacks when grocery shopping or make time to exercise.
  • You want to be financially stable during and/or after college? Only buy your necessities, don't pull out of your savings, pay off your credit card debt, or get a job or two in the meantime.

QUICK GOAL SETTING TIPS: Write them down, keep them attainable and realistic. TBH goals are attractive AF.

2. Stay on top of things.
Ya know, like actually use your agenda! It's crazy how a $10 investment can keep your life and grades on track. Optimizing your planner at this point in the school year is even more crucial because those final exams will creep up on you faster than you think.

If you're tired of reminding yourself of what to do, than make a to-don't list in your planner! DO make time for schoolwork, to eat and sleep. DON'T substitute any of those to keep up with the Kardashians.

3. Don't let the "10,000 foot view" scare you.
After you read and update your agenda, you might quickly get discouraged by the number of assignments that are coming up. When you look at everything that needs to be done from a "10,000 foot view", it can be quite intimidating. Continuing to stare and flip through the endless pages of directions will leave you overwhelmed and wanting to throw in the towel.

Having an idea of the "big picture" helps to brace yourself for the work that's cut out ahead of you. Instead, break them down task by task. This might sound like an endless endeavor but it adds up in the end and you get things done quicker than you think!

4. Shift Gears.
NEWSFLASH: school books and laptops still work under natural light!

It may be hard... and it certainly took me time to train myself and adjust to being productive while doing homework outside, but it is possible! Fun times don't have to just be for the weekends. There's nothing wrong with making your way to you favorite coffee shop on a Wednesday to change up the homework scenery.

Do you ever find yourself thinking: "Ugh, I don't want to go to bed because I don't want to wake up and do tomorrow" because all your 'tomorrows' are already planned out? Try your best to make each day interesting, and break up your mundane routines.

5. Remember WHY you're here.
College is expensive, and studying sucks A LOT less than failing, especially if you're the one paying for it. If you put in minimal effort and preach "C's get degrees", just remember that "C's get degrees", but they don't get jobs... well not easily.

We all know that the extensive seven page, critical thinking sociology paper due at the end of the month is not worth spending time on, but it's vital to meet your educational goals.

I promise you that even though the stress may not seem worth it, achieving your goals isn't meant to be easy. Continue to remind yourself of how fortunate you are to be at the college you're attending and that when your classes are over, you're one semester closer to being done and conquering the "real world" and everything it has in store.

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Classes |  Source: N. Leeper, Shutterstock

6 Simple Steps That'll Make Studying Easier

Coulda used this last semester.

So, now it's summer and you're either soaking up the sun or back in the classroom for summer semester. Whichever it is, there is never a bad time to help yourself study better. Whether you use it now or next semester, here are some tips to make you more effective.

1. Speed it up.
Whether it's a lecture, an audio book or some absurdly long video, increase the speed it's playing at and you'll immediately notice how much time you're saving. The human brain has the ability to listen (and understand) words up to 400 words per minute. Compare that to the average speaking rate of 125 WPM -- or 100 WPM if it's one of my professors -- and you could potentially finish listening to something in a third of the time. Who wouldn't want that?

2. In one ear, not out the other.
I wish I could go back in time and figure out this hack in high school -- it's that good. While you're doing the mundane little things in life like: cleaning your room, doing the dishes, running on the treadmill -- hell, even sleeping -- try turning on a recording of what you're supposed to be learning. Even if you aren't giving it your undivided attention you'll still pick up a lil something.

3. Treat yourself.
Determine what your largest tasks are -- anything from writing an essay to studying for an exam -- and then divide them into smaller, more manageable tasks. For instance. If you have to write a 3,000 word paper, consider rewarding yourself after you've written the first 500 words, then the next, and the next.

Make the reward something simple that you can do easily and quickly. It could be an episode of your favorite TV show -- you can never go wrong with Friends -- your favorite sweet treat or a small nap. Just don't forget about the thing you're "treating yourself" for.

4. Chew-chew.
According to a study conducted by St. Lawrence University, chewing gum while studying could potentially improve your score. The act of chewing gum helps you wake up and give you a burst of energy when you really need it -- and when do you need it more than at 3 a.m. in the library?

Help yourself remember even more information by chewing the same gum while you study and while you're actually taking the test. Hubba Bubba here I come.

5. Find your light.
Have you ever noticed that in a class with no windows and harsh lighting you find it harder to concentrate? Well, it's no coincidence, it's science. When your body is introduced to harsh artificial lighting it becomes more stressed and it gets more difficult to focus.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you have too little lighting your body will be naturally tired and any information you put in your brain just won't stick. The best thing for you, your brain and your grades is to study someplace with loads of natural light. Trust me, it'll make a world of difference.

6. Work it out.
A good cardio workout is not only good for your heart and body, it's good for your brain too. When we exercise our bodies are flooded with serotonin and endorphins, natural chemicals that help you feel happy, energetic, and even focused.

While that's happening, our brains are getting more oxygen, which helps improve things like memory and learning. Do you need another reason to get your butt to the gym?

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Classes |  Source: N. Leeper, Shutterstock

4.4 GPA Student Banned From High School Graduation

All for wearing a normal shirt?

Summer (seen above) is a 4.4 honor roll student at Hickory Ridge High School in Harrisburg, North Carolina. Believe it or not, Summer was in violation of the school's dress code all for wearing this normal shirt that only exposed the shoulders. Crazy, right?

Allegedly, Summer was enjoying her meal in the school cafeteria when her principal, Michelle Cline, decided to flex her authority and correct the travesty that was Summer's outfit. If anyone has ever seen the movie Bad Teacher, Michelle reminds me of Amy Squirrel, the psycho teacher that tries to get Cameron Diaz fired from her job. The two of them even look the part with the matching red hair. Anyways, that's besides the point.

Cline confronted Summer, demanding that she change her shirt. When Summer declined the asinine request, Cline got the school security involved, threatening her to either remove the shirt or be arrested. Summer told a local media source that, "the officer was five feet away from her, with his hand on his gun".

The incident led to a 10 day suspension of school and school-related activities--including Summer's high school graduation! As hard as that is to believe, Cline has reportedly suspended 45 female students this year alone for wearing leggings. Thank God we have Michelle Cline cleaning up our streets and serving proper justice.

Summer has college scholarships on the line, and it's absolutely ridiculous that she is in this predicament. She is clearly a high school student that has worked her tail off and earned the right to walk across that stage. There was absolutely no reason for her suspension, especially considering that the shirt wasn't even revealing.

Just another case of authority using unnecessary force, for reasons that cannot be explained. Job well done Michelle Cline, you really stuck it to her!