When You're Falling Behind at the Starting Line

It’s the beginning of everyone’s favorite quarter, and after syllabus day (we all know there’s no such thing as syllabus week in the quarter system), things immediately kick into gear and before you know it you have three midterms next week and no study materials. Here are some tips on what to do to prevent feeling like you’re falling behind in the quarter or remedy your Week One mistakes!

1. Actually go to class!

It’s oh-so-tempting some mornings to snuggle back under your blankets and avoid getting up to go to lecture, but is it really worth the dip in your grade, whether it be participation in discussion or missing a small quiz? Get in the habit of going to class, taking notes, and getting the most out of what you’re paying for.

2. Find a buddy!

Did your roommate take the class last quarter? Ask them for help when you get stuck on an assignment. Recognize a friend from a club or another class? Sit near them and propose a study session for the upcoming midterm. It’s easy to feel lost when you’re trying to do everything by yourself, and your study pal may be just the person to explain a concept or two that you can’t seem to understand in the slightest. Also, Google Doc study guides are way more fun when you’ve got someone typing in notes at the same time as you.

3. Go to office hours and ask questions.

This is slightly more applicable to schools with discussion sections, but if you’re stuck, an extra pair of eyes to look over your work might be just what you need to succeed. If you can’t make it to office hours, send your TA an email and set up an appointment for one-on-one work. If you’re confused early on, go earlier in the quarter and get answers earlier rather than later. Before the big midterm or final, your TA or professor may be bombarded with student visitors. 

4. Set your priorities.

We’re all students, and during midterm weeks, classes can overlap with essays, projects, exams, and it can be difficult to balance all this. So get your priorities straight in the event you’re faced with a study time crunch, overlapping review sessions, or a double-test day. Do you value a class that you need to do well in for your major, or your GE you’re taking for a GPA boost? Are there extra credit opportunities down the line to remedy any grade dips? Is a score in the class dropped and you can afford to study a bit less? Assess your situation and do what you feel is best for yourself and your peace of mind.

5. Take a breath. Don't give up.

The quarter system sometimes feels like it moves so fast that if you fall behind in Week One, you’re doomed for the rest of the term and might as well quit while you’re ahead. DON’T. Make a plan. Figure out how you’re going to catch up. Then…

Sorry, I had to. Happy Winter Quarter, Aggies!