This semester was definitely my most challenging yet, followed closely by the previous semester. Going from freshman to sophomore is not an easy transition. Classes get harder, you actually start getting into your major, and you also start thinking about what you’re doing to prepare yourself for life after college.  Even though this past semester was a tough one, I still learned a lot.

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Putting aside everything I learned in the classroom, here are a few things I learned about college during the past four months.

18 Credit Hours is Harder Than it Sounds

It’s only one extra class, right?  While that is technically true, it is one extra class that comes with extra work as well.  Extra time sitting in class, extra time working on homework, less time doing other things.

I only did 18 credit hours to get back on track and be out in four years, and that is the only reason I didn’t drop one of my classes and go down to 15 early on in the semester.

It’s Tough, But You’ll Make It

Clearly, I made it to the end of the semester and didn’t have to drop any of my classes.  I had the motivation necessary to push through and overcome the challenges.

If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, you can make it through your tough semesters and harder classes too.

One Bad Grade Doesn’t Mean You’ll Fail the Class

Get a C on a test or paper? As long as it’s not your biggest project of the year worth 25% of your grade, you can overcome that.  Sure, it will hurt you and you want to do all you can to avoid those bad grades, but you will mess up and you can still have a passing, acceptable grade in the class.

Sometimes You Have to Redefine Your Expectations

Maybe in high school you expected a lot out of yourself and made all A’s every year.  You might have even breezed through freshman year of college without breaking a sweat.  But now you can’t and you’re mad at yourself for it.  Don’t be.

Some people can hold a 4.0 through college, but most people can’t.  If you aren’t one of those few people, don’t burn yourself out trying to become one.  A 3.0 and higher GPA is still fantastic, especially in comparison to most students these days, and you should be proud of that.

Professors Look Out for Each Other

There are rotten professors at any school, just like there are bad people at any workplace that don’t know how to do or care to do their jobs.  Speaking from personal experience, you can try to complain about those people and report them to the higher ups, but there’s a good chance that the person you go to will side with their fellow faculty member instead of listening to you.

Don’t Get Too Involved

First semester this year was rough, but this past semester was even rougher when it came to being involved in organizations and maintaining my grades.

It was a constant effort to balance everything and a lot of the problem stems from being too involved.  While you should certainly be involved, find something you truly care about and stick with that instead of trying to get your hand into every pot on campus.

10-Page Papers aren’t THAT Bad

Even though it is the longest paper I’ve ever written at any level, it wasn’t that hard to write.  I wrote 4 pages of it back in February and finished the other six a couple weeks before it was due.

I did it when I had the time, while also not putting it off till the last week, and broke it into manageable chunks.  The most important piece of advice I could give you on how to do this yourself is to stay organized.

Having a Detailed Schedule is a Must

I didn’t the start the semester with one, but once I bought my iPad halfway through, I set up a very detailed daily and weekly schedule to live by.  It not only kept my organized with meetings but it also kept me on task with completing assignments.

There are so many possibilities for schedules, from Google Calendar to special apps to old-fashioned planner books and wall calendars.  Choose one that works for you and make full use of it – I promise you won’t regret it.

Group Projects are Still the Worst

I had a class this semester that was all group work for the entire second half of the semester.  When 50% of my grade relies on the work of four other people plus my own, I’m going to be a little uneasy.  Fortunately, my group was decent enough and everyone did their part.  But when you’re in these situations, just remember that no one likes group projects yet everyone has to do them and get through it to pass the class.

No Matter What, Time Will Go On

When you look at the list of things you have to do in two weeks before the semester ends and start to get overwhelmed, just remind yourself that the time will come when the semester is over and everything is taken care of.

Stay on top of things throughout the semester and it won’t be nearly as bad as it could be.  Sometimes, all you may need is a little break and you’ll be ready to tackle anything on your to do list.


What are some key take-aways that you got from this past semester about college?