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Five ways to bounce back from a bad semester

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Re-examine setbacks

It’s easy to say that you didn’t do well because the instructor was an asshole, but there’s usually something on your end as well. Be critical about your study habits! Sometimes the reason is not as obvious as “I just didn’t go to class and crammed everything in the last week.” Maybe it’s because you’re studying to music with lyrics and you need to listen to ambient sounds instead. One of the best apps around is called “Noisli;” download it onto your phone and get ready to focus like never before.

Learn to adapt

There’s no one way of studying that will get you a 12 in all subjects, so make sure your study method is appropriate for what you’re trying to do. This will increase your likelihood of success and minimize wasted time. If you need to memorize a boatload of notes, you want to test yourself with cue cards (or the like) and not just read your notes. If it’s a problem-based course, you want to do as many practice problems as possible instead of focusing your time on reading the textbook.

Time to get organized

In your planner or calendar, mark down all the quizzes, tests, and assignment due dates for all your courses. This way you can plan ahead and know when you cannot afford to go to Motown. If you want to be even more detailed, set your own due dates for when you want a part of your assignment, or a reading, to be done. That way you won’t have a revelation at 2 a.m. that you have a 2,000 word essay due in a week.

Get a fresh start

If you need to get the sour taste of those 6s from last semester out of your mouth, get a fresh start by getting a new set of stationary and notebooks. Clean up your room and start a new routine. These changes require time, preparation and commitment, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t succeed initially. Actually sleep at appropriate times. Don’t fixate on your bad marks, because you can’t change those and they just add an unnecessary pressure.

Pencil in a break

Your mind tends to become petrified into stone when you continuously focus on one task for too long. Take 10-minute breaks for every 40 minutes of studying. Switch subjects every few hours. Go to the gym or even the grocery store. To ease your guilty mind when you’re not studying, know that your break can still be productive in some way. Try downloading the Pomodoro Timer on your laptop or phone, a great app to help you keep track of your work and of your breaks.

 

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Author: Shane Madill

As a graduate of McMaster’s Economics program and the Editor-in-Chief for Volume 88, Shane is a seasoned Silhouette contributor who formerly acted as an Opinion Editor, Online Editor, Online Reporter and Andy Volunteer. A man of many names and talents, his presence and work at The Silhouette is a constant reminder to “be the Shane you wish to see in the world.”