Second Semester Success

Welcome back! I hope your holiday break was exactly what you needed and you enjoyed your time away from campus. Now that it's time to go back, let's get down to business, jump into action and, perhaps, jump start your GPA. Last semester is what it is. We can't change it, but we can learn from it. This is how you start . . .

A new calendar year and a new semester are an opportunity to self-assess and move forward. Your first-year experience course or seminar probably mentioned self-awareness, and this is where it comes into play. Take stock of where you are academically, personally, and professionally. Maybe you're exactly where you want to be, or maybe you'd like to make some changes. In many ways all three areas are connected, and you will find as you change one, the others will also change. However, be careful about making changes in all three at once. Ease into new habits little by little. Since T2T focuses on academic strategies, we’ll start there.

First, think about where you stand academically based on your fall performance. Reflect on the fall semester from start to finish and ask yourself, will your current GPA where you want to go? IF you’re not sure, then let’s go with the typical 3.3 – 3.4 that will make you competitive for most scholarships, graduate programs, and employment. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we all make decisions. Think about what behaviors either improved or hindered your academic performance. Did you spend the appropriate amount of time studying each week? Did you read each text? Did you complete all assignments and submit them on time? Be honest with yourself about whether or not you’ve done these things. If you did, is it possible to do more or is maintaining good for you? If you didn’t, will you commit to it this semester?

While you’re reflecting, also take into account external factors that were at play. What things happened last semester that supported or hindered your success? Think through how your personal life – family, dating, friendships, etc. – impacted your ability to be a good student? There are things that go on with us personally that work in our favor and things that do not. If there are issues, address them as best you can alone. If you find it’s a lot to manage, do not hesitate to visit your campus counseling center to connect with someone who can provide more guidance or assist you with thinking through your challenges.

Lastly, every college student needs experience in their field prior to graduation. It allows you to learn about your chosen profession and also helps you determine whether you made the best choice. Hopefully, you began identifying and applying for summer positions last semester. It’s not too late if you haven’t and you can start now. Use your career center, student arms of professional organizations, and company websites to search for opporutnities. Experience makes us wise and – in this situation – more competitive. Make sure you have some type of summer plan before the semester ends.

Being successful this semester is three-pronged approach: look at what you’ve done academically, personally, and professionally to see if what in each needs to stay the same or change to get you where you want to be. Only you know the honest truth about each area, and I trust you to dig deeply and come to terms with whether or not you did all you could. (Although I’m not in school, I do the same type of reflection 2-3 times a year for the same reasons. If I'm going to make certain things happen, I have to make a plan, work the plan, and review the plan. I also have to be honest with myself about how hard I worked the plan.) Sometimes, the universe takes care of us and puts us on the right path or presents opporutnities. However, no matter whether something falls in your lap or you seek it out, there’s work to be done to keep it. If you are doing the work now, you’ll be ready and won’t have to get ready. Let’s get it.

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