Once upon a time, I came to college as an overly confident, lazy, and mediocre student who had never had to try too hard in school. I was quickly overwhelmed by college academics, unsure of how to navigate the heavy course load and high expectations. I tried harder in school than I ever had, but it still didn't seem to be enough. At the end of my sophomore year, I was exhausted and discouraged. I had a lower GPA than I ever wanted and I had no idea what to do.
Honestly, I felt like a failure. I was ashamed that I couldn't maintain the grades that were expected of me. It seemed like everyone else had it all together, but then there I was with a poor GPA and a handful of other problems. I was about to begin my junior year, meaning I would soon be entering into upper-level classes with heavier course loads and even higher expectations. I was afraid of what was to come, both the work load and my grades that would come in the end.
Between my sophomore and junior year, I was able to rest. I came back hopeful and ready to work hard. I was done with my core classes and would only be studying in the fields that I chose to. I was afraid, believing lies about myself as a student and convinced that my hard work would always be in vain. I didn't think I could ever be enough.
I was wrong.
That semester, I took the hardest classes I'd ever been in. I wrote at least one paper a week, read more than I ever thought I could, and I loved (almost) every minute of it. Now that I was studying the things I was good at, I could navigate my classes with more ease. I had to make sacrifices, spending my weekends with my homework more often than my friends and giving up Netflix for a while. The work was hard, but I could do it. I remember getting my first upper-level English paper back and being sure that I'd done poorly, but I got an A. (tbh I cried about it.)
Now, I'm six months out from graduating and my GPA has been resurrected. It hasn't come easily, but it happened. I was once ashamed of my GPA and now, thanks to a lot of hard work and motivation, I'm proud of it.
There's a chance that you're able to identify with my story. Maybe you've resurrected your GPA, too, or maybe yours is currently in the need of some improvement. If so, know this: you are enough. If you try hard and make sacrifices, it's possible to get your GPA up. You're still smart if you have to try. You can still be a good student if you don't have a 4.0. Don't be discouraged or afraid to ask for help. My GPA was redeemed and yours can be too.
As a bonus, here's some advice on how to begin the process of GPA redemption:
- Talk to your advisor. Be honest with them and with yourself. They should be able to help you navigate what to do next and give you more tips on studying.
- Talk to your professors. If you're struggling in one specific class, talk to your professor and ask for their help. They'll be able to point you in the right direction.
- Learn how to study. Click here to read the Choctawkers studying tips.
- Make sacrifices. There comes a time where you have to understand that you're in college to get a degree, so you can't spend every night hanging out with your friends watching movies.
- Give yourself grace. You're never going to do better if you're setting ridiculously hard expectations for yourself.
- Ask yourself how you are. Is there something else going on that's keeping you from being able to focus on school. I know that was true for me. Be honest with yourself and don't be afraid to visit MC's counseling center.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help. MC has a ton of resources for you, from the Writing Center, Career Services, and almost every department has tutoring available. Explore MC's website or ask one of your professors if you need help in a certain area.
The end of the semester is coming. Remember, your worth is never measured by your GPA.