There’s still time to change habits; not likely time to change grades

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If students have not attended class, failed to hand in assignments, and skipped tests, they must brace themselves for the truth: Chances for a passing grade may have been killed. 

Never give up

Regardless of the mistakes a student has made, it is never too late to try. It begins with facing your teacher.

Communication adviser Bryan Jacobs said: “Teachers want you to succeed. Go talk to your teacher.”

Take all exams

Another step you can choose is to take the final exams. Even if you fail, it will help when you re-take a class. 

Communication adviser Bridget Sheffer said: “If it is too late in the semester, let it go. It’s not the end of your life. “

Mace Jacobson, student support services tutoring center adviser, said: “The hard part of honesty is when you realize that you are the one to blame for your own failures. It can be a crystallizing moment when a student decides to quit making excuses and take responsibility for his or her own life.”

By letting your failures and excuses go, you can develop new habits that will help you next semester. Here are five key habits that you need to acquire, if you want to succeed in college.

Follow the syllabus

First, Jacobs said, “Read the course syllabus and follow it.”

Your professor provides a syllabus to you, so you know what is expected of you.

Don’t ditch class

Second, Palmer said, “Show up for classes consistently.”

If you miss a class, let the teacher know why before class begins, if possible. There are some professors who take attendance. If you have a class where attendance is not taken, it is still your responsibility to show up and take advantage of classroom instruction.

Turn in homework

Third, Jacobson said, “Hand in all the assignments, and on time.”

It is irresponsible to turn in late work. You should expect a poor grade when you don’t meet the deadlines. Remember, procrastination is your enemy. It steals your time and ultimately can destroy your life.

Follow up with professor

Fourth, Sheffer said, “Talk with your professors.”

You should go see your teachers before or after class or during office hours. Ask for comments on your papers and upcoming tests. Most professors are unable to read minds. They are there to help you be successful. It is so important to have good, meaningful conversations with your teacher. 

“Every instructor is different,” said Rick Palmer, director of student advisement. “Higher education is more about understanding the pace of a course than the rigor. If you never approach your professor for help, you only have yourself to blame.”

Plan far in advance

Fifth, plan sufficient time for studying every day.

“If you start to slide or struggle, get help at that very moment,” Jacobson said. “Don’t put it off.”

These final tips will stop procrastination and prevent a pile-up of work. You have to develop the habit. Most professors expect you to put in a lot of time outside of class to master the materials. 

Students who work hard will replace bad habits with new habits. If you are struggling and don’t seek help, change the habit. If you simply don’t show up for class, change the habit. If you don’t do the work required for learning, change the habit. No excuses; no one to blame but yourself. 

Change your habits and you’ll change your grades and ultimately your life. 

Written for Dixie Sun News by Victoria Baird