Started at an F, Now We’re Here!

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Published on March 31, 2016

There may be a chance to recover gracefully from the wrong start to a semester without all of the stress.

Not all of us get the Cinderella four-year college experience. If you’re at a two-year school, more “real life” happens. Besides a strong desire to get an education, there are often other pressing obligations students face such as: feeding and clothing their children, supporting their elderly parents, or even supporting themselves.  Most HCC students have more responsibilities than getting “turnt up” and worrying about which social event to attend next, but slacking off does not always cause students to get off track during the start of a semester. Being employed also causes a student to get off track. They need to worry about putting food on the table rather than worrying about their upcoming test.  Their bosses may be on their back as well,  needing them to constantly be there whenever they call, making it hard for students to find the time to put the effort they need to into a class.


Despite the circumstances, the problem could be a lack of study skills. English Professor Kirk Hughes has dealt with students who have been able to recover their semester.

“College-level work demands a much more complex, layered, and recursive kinds of critical thinking,” he said.

Hughes suggests to determine the most effective ways to study. “Often, however, it’s not the number of minutes that need to change; it’s about changing what we do with those minutes.  It can be helpful to take a study-time audit asking all kinds of questions,” he said.

He says that you should change the way you study. If one method is not working do not be afraid to change it. You’re not born with the skill of studying; it is learned.

Studying is also different for each course. “Problem sets, are different from biology quizzes, which are different than first drafts, which are different from reading time….. and the list goes on,” Hughes said..  

Not only is it the method, but there can be distractions around you. Students need to have their own study time free from interruption. Turn off the phone. Get away from the kids. The more peaceful you are while studying and doing homework the easier it becomes.

Taking advantage of the extra help HCC offers can be helpful as well. The Academic Support Center is always helping students because it offers tutoring in every subject. Emma Ovchar, a General Studies major, said, “I always thought I never needed tutoring then I started getting behind and went. It improved my grades drastically.”  

“Even if students do get the material in the class putting in extra effort can take a student a step further. Why settle for a B when you can go to tutoring and bring that up to an A?” She added.

A lot of the time talking to your professor can help you rescue your semester. Explain your circumstances, and they normally will help as much as they can.  Most professors assign extra credit that is optional as well, if you do as many of those as possible it can help greatly.  

Casey Bakos, Humanities major, had a hard time catching up after having a kid during her semester. “Having a kid while in college changes a lot. I got really far behind, but once I explained my situation to the professors it helped a lot.”

Bakos also talked about how you should not be afraid to ask for extra help. “I always was nervous to ask for extra help. Then I realized this is my education, and if I don’t understand something then I am missing out and cheating myself.”  Students need to take education in their own hands. If you’re not understanding something a professor isn’t going to know unless you say something.

Figure out when it is time to throw in the towel, and just drop the class. Not everyone can come back from a bad semester, and that should be nothing to be ashamed of. Do not try and recover the class if you are only able to obtain a D. Let’s say you have done extremely well in all your classes besides one. Would you rather drop the class and retake it or, get a bad grade and let it affect your grade point average? In most cases if you get a bad grade you will have to retake the class anyways, so one needs to figure out what loss is worth taking.