Fresh coming off the completion of my bachelor’s degree, their is many things that I have learned and experienced. Some things good, some things bad.
So, where shall I start? Well, I’ll start off with my first semester, first year. Were going back 4 years ago now. If you are someone that is reading this and is in high school or is just starting their bachelor’s degree, then that first semester for you, will be your toughest! And when I mean toughest, I mean you will probably struggle a lot. I know for myself and a good majority of my friends all of us struggled and not one person did as good as they liked (Most of us still did good according to university standards but it wasn’t exceptional in anyway). The biggest thing and reason why I think people struggle so much with their first semester of university is because they don’t know what to expect. E.g., A person coming out of high school and going into university will have no experience with how things work. They may not know how much to study for an exam, they may be afraid to seek help from some of the professors or GA’s, or they may just be partying to much. All of these factor into why someone may not do exceptional in their first semester or even their university career. Although, the transition seems to be the toughest, especially when you haven’t experienced a 5 course workload in one term. A young 18 year old teenager doesn’t know any better at the time and only experience will really turn things around. However, that’s not to say people don’t do well in their first semester. There are a few geniuses or super school focused people out there that actually do well. But their is only usually a rare few (maybe 2 or 3 individuals?).
So… What is my advice to you?
Well to be honest…just don’t fail any of your classes and try your best to stay off academic probation! If you do fail a class or two, then this will really put you in a bad position. You will or may have to re-take the course again at some point, which would suck BIG time! Luckily, first semester, first year university isn’t your most important semester and sometimes you can almost just forget about it.. if you don’t do well. I know that most graduate programs don’t really look at your first semester, let alone sometimes your first two years! A lot of programs actually just look at your last 2 years. However, that’s not to say don’t aim to do well because their are programs out there that do consider your first year, especially for scholarship funding. Also, if you do have an entry scholarship coming out of high school, then your going to have to focus on maintaining their standards in order to keep your scholarship. I know for myself, I lost mine after the first semester, which kind of sucked but it was all part of the learning experience.
To give you guys an idea of the position I was in, I had a 70 average my first semester of first year university. A 70 average isn’t bad and it’s actually considered good standing. However, if you think about it, academic probation is usually a 65 average or below. I was only 5 percent away from being on academic probation. You could say it was almost like cutting teeth. However, after this semester, I realized that I needed to do better and I made it my goal to get exceptional grades. After my first semester, I made Dean’s Honor Roll, for the remaining 7 semesters and ended up with “Distinction” next to my Bachelor’s Degree. It was a great achievement and feeling to say the least!
Keep in mind, not doing so well in your fist semester of first year university, isn’t always the worst thing. Think of it this way, you just did bad… now your feeling more pressured and motivated then over to do well. This is what kind of happened in my case after my first semester. I was a new person after my first semester and people took note! My goal was just to do exceptionally well and ultimately I put my mind to it and I did very well.
Now, if your someone that wants to do very exceptional, not just first semester but throughout all your semesters, you need to be motivated and driven! You can’t just say, “I’m going to do well”, which actually saying this I think is a good thing but…. your actions need show it as well. What I mean by your actions showing it… your going to have to sacrifice you weekends of partying at times for school, your going to have to attend GA office hours, your going to have to attend extra class workshops, your going to have to meet with your professors, etc. These are just some of the things you will have to do, in order to obtain exceptional grades, especially first semester. Let me tell you, it’s not easy and it is a grind but it will be worth it in the end.
Think of it this way…your spending $40,000 on your education. Don’t you want to do well and get your money’s worth? or do you want to see all of that money go to waste?
I know I’d rather get my money’s worth and work towards getting the best grades I can get 😉
P.S. Those grades have payed off quite nicely, as I have been recently accepted into my Master of Human Kinetics, along with an entry scholarship of $7000. Check out my previous post about why I decided on doing my Master’s Degree if you haven’t already Why Did I Decide To Come Back and Do My Master’s?