Academic Recovery: What Do I Do Now?

William Spencer, Writer

Second semester at Catawba College is in full swing and along with the new semester comes more classes, more homework, and more pressure to do well. This pressure is especially present for those who had less than stellar grades to come back to after the holiday break. Now they must ask themselves ‘how can I fix the mistakes I made last semester?’ The freedom that comes from being away from home can be quite tempting for those who enjoy a good party or two, but sometimes it is easy to get carried away and forget what college is for- your four year degree. Just because your grades weren’t looking too hot last semester does not mean that all is lost. But it is up to you to decide whether throwing yourself into your favorite Netflix program is more important than your education.

It is safe to say that your first year of college, if utilized well and responsibly, is anything but boring. For some students, the prospect of doing well is second nature to them and for others, not so much. In between tests, quizzes, mid-terms (and the occasional afternoon nap if you can squeeze it in), some students get lost in the clutter and can not seem to find a way to prioritize and re-evaluate their study habits and behaviors. This issue is one that in the past 24 years of her teaching career, Catawba educator and Director of the First Year Experience, Dr. Sheila E. Brownlow has taken note of. When asking her about getting students motivated for the new semester she states, “No matter what happens in your first semester, you still have time to play catch up…but you probably have only one more semester to make it right.” The objective of breaking the cycle of poor academic performance is one not easily broken and according to Brownlow, sometimes overlooked. “The first thing is to remember that everybody fails at something at some point, and failing isn’t the issue.  The issue in failing is to deal with what you did wrong” she states.

To those who feel like giving up, remember that the work you put into your studies now, however boring, will pay off in the future because a degree is a useful thing to have when looking for gainful employment (never hurts to have a smile either). The rewards of good study habits and academic turnaround are great as well- good grades, less stress, and more security in your chances of fulfilling your dream job. Remember to be honest with yourself, don’t tell yourself you are “going to do” what you should be doing already. In the words of Dr. Brownlow, “The key is remember that even if your first semester wasn’t successful, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it.  You can.  But remember that do is a verb.”

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