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By Lauren Joffe
Your semester didn’t go so well? You’re not alone.
Getting in the swing of things whether you’re freshman or an aged senior can be rough. From bad grades to bad roommates to bad dates, don’t discount the second part of the semester as being the perfect opportunity for an impressive rebound. Need some help making the ultimate comeback? Read on....
Roomies can often be more of a burden than a blessing. “Freshman year, my roommate and I were like oil and water,” says Stephanie Shaw, a Dickinson College senior. “She would leave open bottles next to my computer, eat nuts in the room when she knew I had a bad allergy to them, and brought her loud, obnoxious friends into our room when I was napping.” Don’t let a less-than-perfect roommate dampen your once-in-a-lifetime college experience.…
Create a contract
If you’re in a dorm, you likely had to fill out a roommate contract the first week of school. But be honest -- the first week you and your roomie were still being polite. Contract? Ha, why have a contract? Two months later... Talk to your RA about editing your contract or creating a brand new set of guidelines. Because dorm living is regulated by campus officials, breaking a contractual agreement could mean trouble for the offending party. If you’re living in off-campus housing, create your own contract to formalize the living experience.
Tell your RA what’s going down
Aside from requesting a written contract, have a discussion with your RA. Having an authority figure in the loop will help should your roommate situation escalate. Since your RA is trained in conflict resolution, he or she might have some advice on how to minimize disagreements. Not to mention...if another dorm room opens up, it could be waiting with your name in big, sparkly letters.
How to avoid your roomate
While you can’t move your roommate out, you can remove yourself from the room whenever possible. “Avoidance was key,” says Shaw. “I purposefully avoided the room when I knew she’d be there and reduced our time together to the absolute minimum.” This means doing your homework in the library instead of your bed and pre-gaming in a friend’s room instead of your own. Suggest posting both your schedules in a common area so you’ll know when the other is in class. Some separation might just make the time you do spend together less irritating.
Hold your ground
Make sure you both adhere to any parameters, rules and regulations you set. And since you aren’t exactly friends, common courtesy likely doesn’t rank high on your roommate’s checklist. “I had constant conversations with her about how if she wanted me to respect her space, she needed to do the same for me,” says Shaw. Treat your living situation like a professional relationship to emotionally distance yourself.
How to Correct an Awful GPA
Living away from home for the first time or returning to the party scene you sadly left behind last year can spell out trouble for your GPA. First semester can sometimes be a kick in the butt for students who forget how demanding a college course load can be. While you can’t take back your grades from September, you can drastically improve your GPA and balance out the semester. This means that if you got a D on your last bio test, the pressure is on to score an A on your final exam. You might not end the semester with a 4.0, but a 3.0 is way better than a big, fat fail.
Start by evaluating what you did wrong. Was procrastination your enemy or did you not comprehend the material? Says Kimberly DaCosta, associate dean of students at New York University, “Follow up with your professor to see exactly why you didn’t do well. So few students actually do this and they don’t ask their professors for practical feedback on how to improve your GPA. Don’t ask for extra assignments because it only creates more work for the teacher. Instead, ask if it is possible to redo the past assignment and ask for advice on how to improve the next time around.”
Here’s a list of common mistakes students make to mar their academic success:
- Not leaving enough time to study (you put the “pro” in procrastination)
- Reading comprehension (or lack thereof)
- Messy, careless work
- Poor study habits or note-taking
- Lack of class participation
- Fatigue from all-night partying
Whatever vice was holding you back from getting a good grade, figure out how to combat your weakness… and fast! Once you nail down the problem, seek help from a teacher or advisor -- or your student union can help point you in the right direction, be it through tutoring or smart-study tips. The clock is ticking, so get on it!
Dry Spell is Hell
A little tense, eh? That dry spell sure isn’t helping. With hours upon hours spent in the library and your subsequent lack of energy to hit up the social scene, did you expect anything other than a big, fat gap in your hookup history? Lucky for you, dry spells (unlike roommates and grades) are almost immediately fixable with a few minor tweaks.…
Tweak No. 1: Don’t brood
A male University of Maryland senior Brett Stone* advises that when going through a dry spell, the best thing to do is not dwell over the fact that you aren’t getting any. “If all I think about is that I am in a dry spell,” says Stone, “I end up getting so nervous and anxious, I can’t do anything productive to get out of it. My best advice would be to forget about whatever slump you are in.”
Tweak No. 2: Take a break
Your studies are important, but you aren’t going to meet anyone if you’re buried in books. “Focus on having a good time with your bros,” says Stone. “Sooner or later, something will happen. Just get out there, and don't hide in your room.”
Tweak No. 3: Be confident!
The opposite sex can smell a dry spell like a dog can smell fear. Shake that stank. Says NYU senior Samantha Doherty*, “When I get into a dry spell, I usually feel that it’s because of my own lack of confidence, so I start to make an extra effort to pamper myself and try to regain my confidence, whether its going to the gym, buying an outfit I feel great in, or just spending some time working on myself.” Feeling good about yourself is a one-way ticket to sucking face with someone by night’s end.
Tweak No. 4: Relocate
For freshmen, the scene is getting stale, and for seniors, the selection is quickly drying up. Changing locations is a great way to shake it up and meet new people. If Greek socials have been your thing thus far, maybe it’s time to hit up a pre-game party. Or vice versa.
* Due to the risqué subject matter, students’ names have been changed.
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