Is it Normal to do Bad First Semester of College?

A student fell asleep studying on her desk.

The reality of college has proven to be more challenging than you anticipated. Before you went to college, you may have thought it would be somewhat more complicated than high school. 

However, you have discovered something new at college, and I would say college is a lot more challenging than high school. Instead of trying to handle many things, you now have several things to manage. 

High school offered a range of activities that you could combine with academics, sports, and other activities. Now, you have to balance courses, move into the dormitories, find part-time employment, and perhaps more when you’re in college.

Knowing that college is difficult has caused you to question if your GPA will succeed this term. You don’t know for sure whether you’re going to flunk your first semester since your grades were considerably lower than what you’re accustomed to.

In this article, I will share with you what having a bad first semester means, the most likely reasons you’ll screw up the first time, and of course, how to bounce back!

What is a Bad First Semester?

No matter where you are, life will sometimes get in the way. Especially if you are a first-timer college student, this may have a negative impact on your performance.

Perhaps you were absent from class due to an illness, or a close family member passed away, or you may be overwhelmed by the newness of it, or your mental health took a turn for the worse. Another possibility is that you did not understand the content for the first big exam in your class or that your extracurricular activities took away valuable study time.

No matter what the cause of a bad semester is for you, there is still time to change things around.

Typical First-Year-College Academic Mistakes

For first-year college students, some of the most frequent academic mistakes they make include the following:

Think College Is the Same as High School

This is a look at a college math class with multiple boards.

When you are in high school, your instructors keep you responsible for completing your classwork and being on time for class. However, once you begin college, it is your responsibility to keep up with your classwork and assignments and show up for class. 

Developing self-discipline is necessary for this, and some first-year students struggle to achieve it, resulting in poor grades and many headaches.

Not Going to Class Often

Cutting classes in high school may not seem like a huge issue, but doing so in college may have significant ramifications for your future. It is important to remember that many instructors use attendance as part of their grading system and that you are still responsible for any courses that you do not show up for. 

Depending on your college university, the financial consequences of skipping a single class may range from $100 to several hundred dollars.

Running an Overloaded Class Schedule

Sure, you may be able to squeeze in four or five courses a day, but when will you get the time to complete all of your homework assignments? Take it easy on your class schedule during your first year while you determine how much work will be needed outside of class and how much time you want to set up for extracurricular activities.

Avoiding Seeking Assistance

No one is going to do your work for you while you are in college. If you have difficulty understanding an assignment or need assistance with course content, speak with your professor or teaching assistant! 

Most professors provide office hours during which students can come and speak with them regarding the course or their individual tasks. If you need more help, you may also take advantage of available study groups.

Pursuing a Career Based on Financial Gain

A close look at a college student frustrated while studying.

While it may seem logical to pick your major based on what would get you the best-paying job, this approach is not always successful. By continuing to study something you are not interested in or enthusiastic about, you will simply be placing yourself up for a lifetime of disappointment.

To a certain extent, there is nothing wrong with being realistic, but that being pragmatic should not come at the cost of your happiness.

Wasting Too Much Time on Social Media

Using social media is a fantastic way to remain in contact with your high school pals, but don’t allow it to block you from meeting new friends and spending time with them while in college. You should also be wary about allowing your Facebook time to interfere with your study time—education always comes first!

Partying Too Hard or Too Often

Despite the fact that college students are well-known for being party animals, no law says you have to be reckless while attending college. If you want to drink, do it safely and avoid driving—you should also ensure that your companions remain safe while drinking.

Remember to bring a friend with you if you are going to a party or an off-campus event.

How to Get Back on Track After a Tough First Semester

Here are some essential recovery tips you need to know about how to get back on track:

Take the time to work out where you need to improve.

There is always an opportunity for growth if you had a bad first semester. Some parts will be good, but it’s vital to know where you need to improve. 

So, be objective and honest with yourself, and examine your study and learning habits. If you do this correctly, you will be able to improve the following semester.

Re-orient your priorities.

A group of friends drinking beer and partying at a pub.

Maybe you only need to rearrange your priorities to perform better next semester. In reality, many students waste their college years partying rather than studying. 

The answer is to uncover a balance between study and leisure, which may be challenging to do. So, next semester, spend less time at the bar and more time in the library!

Avoid making the same mistakes again.

Everyone who has failed a semester has committed errors, both academic and extracurricular. The solution is to learn from your mistakes and prevent repeating them in the future.

If you can accept this, you should improve in the following semester.

If you can, consider a change.

Choosing the incorrect course may lead to a semester failure. Unknowingly choosing the incorrect major may severely hinder your capacity to study.

If you are not happy with your major, consider changing it sooner rather than later.

Written by The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis is a lifestyle blog about the journey of college to adulting. Here you can find the tips for college, self-improvement, adulting, and more.

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