Coming back from the brink of uni failure

Posted August 8, 2013, by Andrea Riddell

Did you blink and realise that you’re almost at the end of 2013? Did you wake up at the end of Semester One with more hangovers than HDs? Forgot about all those New Year resolutions you made? Before you cut your losses and write this year off, remember it’s not too late to turn it around and finish off on a high.

Here are some tips to help you save the day, and the year.

Keep your eyes on the prize

It’s easy to let the excitement of a new university year get the better of you. But don’t let this get in the way of the reason why you’re there – to get a degree. While at present you may only be thinking of fun, your future self may not be laughing when you get an ‘F’ or two on your transcript.

Come back to your initial goals. Did you think you would have an internship sorted by now? Do you need to up your grades to apply for a scholarship for next year? Or were you simply aiming for ‘Ps get degrees’?

Make a pact with yourself to try and achieve your key goal. Remember it. Write it down. Chant it before bedtime. Tattoo it on your forehead. Tell you friends so they can hold you accountable. You’ll be amazed at what peer pressure can make you do. 

Pencil it in

Find out what assignments or exams you have left for the year and their due dates. Put up reminders to start studying a few weeks in advance so you’re not left cramming the night before D-Day.

Also find out the weighting of each of your assignments or exams. This will help you figure out just how much work you need to put in. If you’ve really left it down to the wire, concentrate on the bigger tasks – the ones that will rake in more marks – and pour your soul into making it a work of art that da Vinci would be proud of. 

Eliminate your distractions

Perhaps you’ve committed yourself to too many things and, to avoid letting other people down, you’ve let your grades slide. Here is your wake-up call: it’s time to put your education first!

If you’re a ‘procrastibaker’ or a natural born slacker, then you need to take action. Hide all your baking ingredients and tear up the university social calendar. As point one iterates, you need to keep your end goal in mind. Study isn’t always fun, but being the campus Beer Pong Champion is not something you can put on your resume.

As a rule of thumb you should be studying two hours for every hour of class you have a week. Timetabling these hours into your schedule should help you keep on top of things.

Just do it

Is failing not enough of a motivator? Or, is the fear of failing if you do try paralysing you? Whatever it is, you need to change your mindset. Nothing will feel worse than the feeling of regret you will have when you see your transcript and realise it’s too late.

Maybe you actually don’t want to be at university. Perhaps this isn’t the course for you. This realisation is as important as realising that you’re about to fail. If your heart’s not in it then how the hell will you find the motivation? If this is the case, reassess where you’re at. Plan a new start at a new university. Or ditch university altogether and embark on something crazy. Who knows? Just do it.

Andrea Riddell

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