Friends, I hate to say this but fall break is over. It’s now time to start the race. There’re approximately 7 weeks left (excluding Thanksgiving break) to save your grades. This is not very exciting, I know, but hey, you’ve got to do this. College is your business and there’s no way you’re going to let it go down the drain, right? (Seriously you can’t, that’s a lot of money involved) But how to save the current grades? Don’t get discouraged, you can do it by saving the future grades. And how to save the future grades? Calm down, I have the 5R’s tips with me that you may find useful:

1. Reflect

Reflection is a very important first step. You don’t know where things have gone wrong without reflection. Write down your grades for every class and indicate specifically how well you did on exams, homework, quizzes, etc. Highlight bad percentages and think about what possibly led to them. Maybe you didn’t cover all of the topics, or you weren’t feeling well that day, or simply you were too anxious. Identify the problems as specifically as possible if they relate to studying: whether you read the textbook, do the practice tests that the professor handed out, take notes during class or whether you even reviewed before tests at all. Be strict and don’t be embarrassed, nobody is going to see this paper, only you know what is on there. Also, mark the good grades as well as the study techniques you used for those, because they can be your references.

2. Reconstruct

So now you know what went wrong. Don’t trip on the same mistakes again. Be open-minded when you plan your new timetable; you never know if something is going to work for you until you try it. Building a new schedule for studying is hard, but very rewarding if you do it right. Just make sure your new plan cover these bullet points:

  • Your study zone, meaning where you are most productive in studying
  • Your peers who can actually help you, not distract you
  • Your materials as well as useful resources
  • Study time: get yourself a fixed mental and biological clock and you will likely to be more effective during these hours. Important note: put away distractions aka phones
  • Rest time aka sleep
  • Time to get on top of your workload: know what tests are coming next week, or when the papers are due so that you don’t have to cram before the exams or write your papers in one hour
  • Time for exercising
  • Time for personal stuff such as laundry (Please always stay clean!)

After the big rocks are put in the jar, fill in with the smaller ones such as socializing, music, extra time for studying (why not?), exploring the city, eating out in restaurants, relationships, etc. Also, reduce unnecessary time such as time for walking back and forth between dorm and classes (carrying more things can also be counted as heavier exercising!) Finally, if you still have space in your jar, put the sands in, and this can vary depending on each person.

3. Reinforce

Now you have everything planned. Don’t just look at it, do it. Do it. Do it. Do it.

4. Resolve

Are your grades getting better? Do you feel more confident in academics? Can you go to bed at 11 on the day before the big exams? If yes, then congratulations! If not, I think you have to restart at step 1.

5. Rejuvenate

Always keep positive mentality!! Don’t ever think “Oh I can’t do this” or “This is too hard for me, I would rather be average.” Instead always tell yourself “I am strong enough to overcome this” because you are! Pin an inspiring quote on your room door to get motivated or set a positive wallpaper on your phone if necessary.

Everyone has their own ways of doing things and that is totally fine if your way is completely different. Just find one that works best for you. It’s great if my tips can help you, but if not, at least now you know this is not for you J Never giving up, you are already saving your grades. No matter what you show to your friends, you do care about them, little or a lot. This does not mean that you are nerdy, but that you care about the outcome of the money you invested in yourself. College can only be truly fun when you aren’t stressed out about your classes. And remember: “When they go low, we go high!”