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Give yourself a break!

Give yourself a break!
May 25, 20222 min read

I’m gonna be blunt.  A’s are great but B’s and C’s also get degrees.  Higher education is a process to be mastered while you learn some new things and acquire some new skills.  Try your best - but within reason.

I got some really bad advice when I went to college about how to pick classes.  My GPA at the end of the first semester was a C-.  Despite my less-than-stellar start, I still graduated with honors.  I got smarter about picking classes and honed in on my interests.  I discovered a love of sociology and African-American studies and made these the primary focus of classes. 

I discovered another nugget of brilliance:  in the areas where I was weakest, I took the lowest level classes that satisfied the requirements.  I took statistics instead of college Algebra - statistics is math, but in a context - with nice charts (a game changer for me!!!).   That was years ago; now, students can take classes like Data Science if that is a better fit.  

Many Literature classes are cross-listed with other departments.  Instead of composition, try a class reading about a familiar topic.  Using audiobooks and closed captioning with movies, as well as accessing other summarizing resources available on the internet, makes reading several books no longer as daunting.  

If you have already taken a language in high school and have no desire to learn a new one, take the lowest one or two levels of the class instead of piling on more advanced classes.  Repeating and reinforcing what I already knew makes it easier to satisfy those requirements (wish someone had told me).  Another option is to take CLEP exams in your language.  Many colleges take those credits - check the websites of the schools you are attending to make sure.

If you are taking four or more classes, consider taking a summer class at a community college. That way, you can take one less class.  Literally, no one will notice how many classes you are taking.  Everybody’s only worried about their own load.

Finally, If you are not a morning person, do not take early morning classes if it is not absolutely necessary.   Some of us take longer to get up each day and that’s ok. Some of us do our best work in the afternoon, and that’s ok too. Often neurodiverse students find they have a later sleep cycle - work with what you know you can do!  Know your preferences and govern yourself accordingly.    Lots of jobs no longer require early morning hours - no need to “practice” for something that may not happen.  

Whatever you do, be kind to yourself, and give yourself a break! 

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