Tips to Survive First Semester at BGSU

One of the most difficult things you can do at BGSU is admitting you need help. It’s hard to put yourself in a position of vulnerability, depending on someone else, and accepting that emotions that come with not being able to rely on yourself when it comes down to the wire. I know how it feels to open your grade book and feel your stomach tense because you know whatever’s there likely won’t be good. I’m familiar with the feeling of struggling so hard and having a grade so low, that just seeing the percentage raise by one is enough to make you feel better. The stress compounded with the other areas of your life is enough to make your scream, but it can be relieved and I need you to stay focused.

1.  The First Step

A more severe ending to struggling in courses is having a meltdown. You won’t be able to function if you reach the point where you’ve worked your mind to it’s edge. BGSU offers a free and accessible counseling center with walking hours during the week. Utilize these resources and work your thoughts around before you get to a point that’s hard to recover from.  Assess your grade and the work you have left in the semester, if you complete these assignments on time and accurately could you reach a particular goal? That’s the question you want to be asking yourself, it’s unrealistic to think you will jump from a D to an A. Start smaller and create little goals that work into a grand scheme, if your current grade is a D make your short term goal a C.

2. Looking in the Mirror

It’s time to take a look in the mirror, when we fail classes it usually isn’t just because our instructor sucks no matter how much we would like to tell ourselves that. Instructors at BGSU can be seriously unhelpful sometimes but it isn’t always an academic death sentence, we can do this. Where does your time go in the day? I started using and was amazed at the answer, I felt pressured by the amount of homework I found myself trapped under weekly. This program gives you calendar tools, exam notifications, general reminders, homework due dates, and more it all comes down to how you want to use it. The semester is coming to an end and we don’t have as much time left as we want to make ourselves believe, get in gear.

3. Study Habits and Time Management

How much time a week do you really devote to studying at BGSU? Be real with yourself, I don’t mean glancing over the content and assuming you know it or ignoring it if you don’t. Put your phone away, turn off the music, and put yourself in an environment geared towards study (no, not your room) then take time to review the material with full focus. I recently started using the 15, 5, 15 method. This method can be edited to fit your needs but what you’d do is take 15 minutes studying or working on assignments to the best of your ability, when the timer goes off take a break for 5 minutes doing the activity of your choice. Giving your mind time to rest and effectively take in information is a crucial step to in the success process, cramming can only take you so far.

4. Academic help centers

If you’re struggling in a specific course head over to the library and check out the Learning Commons . This is a free resource that would get you group or individual tutoring in almost any subject on campus. All you have to do is go into the Library to the desk and swipe your BGSU ID in to get started. If you are a first generation student, limited income, or just are in need of academic help TRIO learning services may also be able to help you.  It’s always important to stay in the know about what options are available for students who are having a rough time with the semester.

5. Know your Adviser

Talk to your academic adviser if you have one to be sure you’re taking all the steps you can to succeed. It becomes far easier to ask for help once you remember that there are other students just as lost on the material as you are. So far we made it to the middle of the year in this stage of life we’ve never touched before, be proud of yourself! What I suggested above isn’t the only answer, it’s just a possible one. I want you to be able to walk to class with a bit more confidence in your heart because we have a long way to go and need to be prepared for a fight.

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