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So, You’re Retaking a Class 

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

Throughout my college career, I have taken several classes more than once. While this is never ideal, having the opportunity to retake a class can be a great learning opportunity, but it can also come with tremendous amounts of shame and embarrassment. Being confronted with what seems like academic failure is an uncomfortable experience that often pushes you to compare yourself to your peers and question your intelligence and ability to succeed in academia. All of these feelings, coupled with the pressure of a rigorous course load, can quickly cause you to question whether college is the place for you. But here’s the thing: retaking a class (or two) does not make you a failure. In my experience, having the ability to recognize and rectify my mistakes has been incredibly empowering and has only strengthened my resolve to continue improving academically. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you find yourself in this position: 

You Probably Already Know How to Succeed 

The first class I retook was a chemistry class focused on thermodynamics. During my first attempt, I found the class incredibly difficult. I watched the lectures and passively reviewed the information until I felt confident, but this did not improve my test scores. The quarter system moves so quickly, that by the time finals came around I was furiously trying to retain as much information as I could. This is an ineffective way of studying and I was left feeling overwhelmed and frustrated that I did not know how to succeed. The second time around, I had a much clearer understanding of what it took to pass the class and score higher than the average. Similar to many subjects, chemistry requires active and consistent practice. Taking a class for the second time, requires you to seriously analyze where you went wrong and where you need to make up points in the future. This puts you at a great advantage since you will already be familiar with the material, especially on quizzes and exams. 

Failing a Class Has Nothing to do With Intelligence 

Once you process the fact that you will have to retake a class, it is very easy to fall into a negative cycle where you may question your intelligence or chosen major. These reasons can seem like an obvious justification for a lack of academic achievement, but the root of the issue may be less life-altering than you think. MANY college students struggle with the rigor of their coursework and it is completely normal to struggle in subjects like chemistry, physics, calculus, etc. These classes will also often have a very generous curve since exam averages tend to be fairly low. I was one of those students who was completely unprepared for the challenge of college STEM courses and had no idea how to approach studying until I could utilize available academic resources. Your academic institution likely has many resources for tutoring and other forms of academic assistance, and it’s important to seek out these resources ahead of time, especially when you need help. Rather than viewing the ability to succeed academically as something based on intelligence, I find it helpful to think of your classes as just sources of information. While your classes may be challenging in nature, you are simply being asked to receive, process, and understand information that is completely accessible to you. There is no secret or insurmountable obstacle that makes this information only accessible to supremely intelligent people. You can learn challenging material, even if it takes you longer to understand than your peers. 

Retaking a class can be hard to process without feeling like a failure, but you only fail when you stop trying to improve. There is no shame in trying again.

Jaylah is a third year global disease biology major. She enjoys traveling, singing along to musicals and discovering new music.