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How to make an academic comeback

It’s possible to redeem a GPA from bad grades.
Illustration: Mazie Neill · The Sentry

steps to take towards success

When one first gets to college, one may feel confident about conquering their coursework. But what happens when one fails to meet their own expectations? And what happens if one actually fails a class?
Evaluate why the downfall came about. Honesty allows problems to be addressed at the root. Be realistic about how many classes and activities are manageable. It’s hard to say no. Although there are now fewer items on a resume, students can concentrate on a specific activity and emerge with more profound accomplishments!
Next, plan ahead more thoroughly. In the first week of classes, take all class syllabi and review all major due dates and exams. Write all dates into a paper calendar in addition to a digital calendar, such as a phone. Services like Google and Microsoft push reminders on phones and laptops to cover all bases.
Multiple reminders can be set weeks, days, or hours before each respective date. This is helpful to the absentminded, because it keeps them on track and curbs procrastination.
A document breaking down each day of the week by the half-hour is useful as both a plan for activities, homework, class, and office hours. It also provides feedback about time expenditure. A comparison of the planned schedule versus the executed schedule obliges one to confront and tamp down on time-sinking habits.
Utilize class time efficiently by practicing active mindfulness. Try ditching the laptop, which can become a source of distractions instead of a notetaking tool. Instead, try picking up paper, pencils, and colorful pens. Hand-writing notes compels one to exercise more cognitive power and focus meticulously on what the professors are saying: It requires listening carefully, rewording ideas, and thinking through every letter painstakingly written. It’s more engaging than quick and easy keystrokes.
Colorful ink keeps notes attractive and organized and upregulates memory-related processes, both while scribing and when sitting down to review them.
Communication with professorsis the most underrated tool in the box. Participate more actively in class: respond to or ask questions. Visit office hours at least once every week or two. If that isn’t possible, reach out by email. Let professors know if personal struggles in the background are complicating academic performance.
Situations that aren’t dire, life-or-death issues can still corrode one’s performance. Even if there isn’t a serious emergency, developing a relationship (sometimes even a friendship) with the professor makes it possible to have some sort of leniency or extra help extended to everyone, which will benefit classmates, too. Be polite, truthful, and forthcoming – it doesn’t hurt to ask for help!
Hiding flaws is the instinctual and comfortable preference. It takes bravery to admit shortcomings and to request assistance. Whether it’s future employers, graduate schools, or professional schools, comeback stories are often admired. They show who is resourceful and resilient enough to recover from mistakes. Being prepared and succeeding initially is the safe and favored path, but in case of failure…
As Winston Churchill said: Never let a good crisis go to waste!

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