Student life: How to bounce back from a bad semester…

First thing first: don’t panic.

Shit happens. Don’t start freaking out on me. That’s rule #1 in any survival situation.

So take a deep breath.

Step 1: Don’t shut down yet. 

I know how it is at the end of the semester. You’re exhausted. You’re sick of staying up late and getting up early and you want to eat anything other than ramen. But don’t get into vacation mode just yet.

If you’re already there, then wait two weeks before the new semester and start prepping for class then.

You don’t want to shut down just yet because you need to keep the wheels moving while you’re in that school mentality.

Now, I know what you’re thinking; Why the fuck am I going to keep studying and working after I turned in my 20 page paper and finished my Chem Final?

Because this is where we unfuck the next semester.

Step 2: Unfucking yourself

This is the nitty-grtitty of it. You should be registered for your next semester and have the resources available. (If not, no big deal, we’ll come back to you later).

Think through the past semester and jot down all the times you know you fucked yourself over for school. Was it an extra shift at work? Maybe a first date that had you primping for over an hour and half? Or a birthday party for your grandma?

Jot down all these instances. Literally, put it on paper because you’re going to need a physical form for you to see this.

Now everything that was optional and you could’ve lived without doing, put a star next to it. Everything that was necessary and unavoidable, cross out. Examples of both are; a night spent out drinking with friends from high school you don’t exactly like a lot – optional and unnecessary. Grandma’s 90th birthday party – necessary (unless you got a grandma like me and she wants you to study instead of party so she uninvites you to her party).

Every unnecessary instance (starred) will show you were you dropped the ball on time management. Maybe you got caught up in a new Netflix show. Maybe you dated someone before a messy breakup. But now, you’re wiser than at the start of the semester and can learn from this mistake.

Maybe this means you have to stop hanging out with your friends in the sorority because as nice as they are, they aren’t on the same major as you and don’t have to work as hard to be an architect as to be a doctor. Maybe this means you have to cut your crazy uncle out of your life for a while because he only shows up to bum some cash, couch surf, and party. Maybe this means you have to take a break from your S.O. because while they may be studying history and you’re studying Literature, they may distract you from getting your work done.

This may seem like a shitty thing to do, but you have to remember that you are racking up a huge bill to get a step further in the world. You can’t cater to anyone else’s feelings right now. This is your time to grow and those in your life need to understand that or they need to get out. So tell them either get behind you or get our of the way, because you can’t make it through this journey with half-assed support and people dragging you down and turning your attention away from getting this shit done once and for all.

Step 3: Plan, Plan, Plan, and Plan some more

This is also why you need to be stuck in that studying mindset still.

You have to make a real plan for the next semester. I know that I’ve screwed up a semester or two because I went against my plan and let myself be spontaneous as any college kid does. DO NOT KEEP DOING THIS!

While it’s good to live a little, you are spending thousands of dollars to learn and grow, and spending 4 years being studious and boring is better than spending 10 years stuck in a dead-end job because you dropped out of college.

Everyone will tell you to enjoy your youth while you have it and to live it up while you can, but let me tell you something; we’re here for a good time, not here for a long time, so live it up small but don’t leave yourself SOL when you need cash or time or a better job.

So plan out your study time and work schedule now to get a jump on telling your managers when you’ll be available. This is also a good time to think about if you may need help for next semester. Look into study groups or tutoring for those classes that keep coming back to haunt you. Look at what messed you up this semester; was it poorly written notes? Was it ineffective study groups? Was it Netflix? Was it spending too much making flash cards instead of reviewing them?

So figure out a game plan for the next semester.

Step 4: Let it go 

No, not the song.

Well, kind of like the song.

Just make your peace with this semester. Time marches on and soon this will be just a challenge you overcame for grad school application essays. Now, I know you’re thinking, how am I supposed to get over the worst time in my life? This is so horrible and I’ll never get over it. I’m a disgrace and a waste of space…

I’ll tell you how. You should still be sitting down looking at your plan. Take a deep breath. Now tell yourself the truth; you messed up, but guess what? You’re cleaning up your mess and you’re going to make it better.

So if you need a strong drink and a good cry to make your peace, well you and me both, friend.

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