Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Say your goodbyes to the mountains of holiday food and take a deep breath, because we’re in for another year and most importantly, a new quarter. What does this mean (aside from the sad return to workload)? For some, it could be a wake-up call for poor work ethic in the previous year, and for some lucky others, it could be the start of something great. Regardless, 2015 brings us a new academic slate that can either help or hurt us in the long run.


So you wrapped up last quarter with grades you are satisfied with — congrats! It’s definitely not easy and it’s reassuring to know that all the hard work has finally paid off.

Try to remember your most effective study methods and apply them again. Now that you’ve got the hang of it, the days of trial and error are gone for the most part.

Despite your recent success, however, it’s definitely not an excuse to get lazy, even just a little. New classes mean different professors and different grading methods, so it’s important to update your studying tactics to suit each criteria and look up your professors on (with a grain of salt of course) to see what you might be in for.

Let your previous beautiful grades page on Growl motivate you for the quarter and if you are ever tempted to slack, keep that rewarding feeling in mind and stay focused. Those grades are from hard work and dedication and nothing less so don’t let your efforts go to waste.

We’re only one-third of the way done with the year and the sad truth is one golden quarter will not compensate for two less-than-mediocre ones (darn quarter system) and oftentimes that realization occurs when it’s almost too late. Raising your GPA takes time of steady success, so if this is your first time tasting the glory, do not make it your last.

Recovery Plan

And if you just read the above paragraph with a scowl and inked palms from clutching onto the paper so hard, then maybe fall 2014 was not your quarter after all. Many say that the fall quarter is always the worst: Vacation mode doesn’t wear off until midterm time and the mindset of “Oh I don’t need to write that down,” still lingers. Then we are stuck with the mediocre grades we earned until the end. And if you have one of those grading systems where it’s 50 percent midterm, 50 percent final, you’re toast.

Crack your knuckles and warm up those limbs, because winter 2015 will not go down without a fight. First thing to remember is read the syllabus. Most professors will send them the week prior to the first class so students are well-acquainted with the curriculum and what the class has in store for the next 10 weeks. Do not be that student who looks around blankly when the professor asks everyone to take out the syllabus. Be prepared to order books, get all materials needed, and (if the professor means business) start on the required work ahead of time, instead of scrambling before the first meeting — because fumbling with papers and scribbling gibberish does not make a good impression.

Which brings up the next step to recovery: a good impression with the professor and TA. I cannot begin to tell how much it helps to create a great rapport with the person who decides your fate in the class. Now, you don’t have to be that person who runs to shake the hand of the professor and be a brown-noser, but taking the time to stop by office hours to get a full grasp on the material and earn a chance for them to really get to know you helps. A recent UCR graduate Conor Jones explained, after his very last class, that the one thing that has gotten him the grades he earned was knowing professors and TA’s at an almost-personal level. It is always better for the professor to put a friendly face to the name when they input final grades, rather than just another meaningless grade.

Remember: Stay on top of your business and never take on too much that you cannot handle. You need a job, divide your time accordingly to fit your already-packed schedule. Just took on a second responsibility without knowing? Take a step back and put priorities into place. Chin up, we are almost halfway done.