College Survival Guide: 6 Ways To Ace The Course You Hate
Is your chosen course sucking the life out of you? Well, here’s how you can still ace your grades while being stuck in the course you hate.
Published 07 Jul 2020
So, you’re 2 months into your semester and you’re struggling with your course. Whether it’s just plain boring or the subject material is way over your head, you feel like you’ve made the huge mistake of choosing the wrong course.
What can you do? Is quitting the only solution? Or are there other ways to tackle this?
Well, don’t panic! This article will tell you how to go about this sticky situation.
#1. Make sure that the course is the main issue
Have you made any friends that you can study or hang out with? Is your campus environment conducive to learning? Could it be that you’re homesick or struggling to settle in properly?
There are many factors that could affect your interest and motivation with the course you’re taking that you should take into consideration. More often than not, you might just confuse the feeling of disliking your course when it’s your environment that’s preventing you from performing your best.
If you’re unsure whether your course or environment is giving you a hard time, take this opportunity to make the most out of your college experience. You can start by joining clubs and societies that you find interest in, participate in any college events and make an effort to befriend your coursemates. This way, you’ll be able to pinpoint which area that’s contributing to your college agony and help you figure out your next move.
#2. Avoid skipping classes
While this may seem perversely counterintuitive, skipping classes is the last thing you want to do. Not only will you be missing out on attendance that may play a part in your credit hour scores, but you’ll also miss out on a large chunk of your studies. You’ll end up becoming more confused as you fall behind on your lessons.
Avoid this pattern and try to sit in for most of your classes — especially the ones you’re struggling with the most. This will help you stay in the loop of your lessons and you’ll also able to ask questions about things you don’t understand right away as opposed to getting your wires crossed on your own.
#3. Find creative ways to understand your course material
We tend to push away things we don’t understand, so there’s a high chance you hate your course because you don’t quite understand it. As confusing as things may be, there are plenty of ways to get a better grasp of your subject material.
For starters, consider experimenting with different learning styles to optimise your learning sessions. If you’re a visual or auditory learner, opt for mind maps, creative diagrams or YouTube videos for you to obtain your subject lessons effectively instead of reading brick-sized textbooks.
You can also try relating your course content to things that you like or daily activities. For instance, think about physics and how sound waves are created by electricity and magnetic movements. Now, visualise that with your headphones and how the sound waves bounce off the speakers to your eardrums.
Ultimately, gaining a better understanding of your course material can improve your motivation and ultimately, your love for the course.
#4. Don’t be afraid to seek help
While consulting your lecturers about your troubles can be unnerving, talking to them might help you change your perspective about your course. It’s important that you are honest about how you’re struggling and feel demotivated. After all, it’s your lecturer’s job to ensure you receive adequate knowledge and they will appreciate your honesty even more.
You can also try and form a study group if you have difficulties studying on your own. Not only will you learn better, but you may also find others who are facing the same struggles as you are. While finding time for everyone to meet can be challenging (not forgetting the Malaysian timing), the effort of working together can make your college experience significantly more pleasant.
#5. Avoid making initial judgments
How often have you thought than an assignment was too difficult or confusing to execute even before actually doing it? In fact, you get the nagging feeling that you’ll get a poor grade despite your best efforts.
According to psychologists, you are more likely to confirm your own expectations once you’ve made a prediction about it beforehand. In this instance, because you expected to perform poorly, it leads to you having a hard time understanding and completing the assignment.
As the old saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” And while it’s normal to whine about subjects that are too hard, it’s best that you avoid making snappy judgments before going through it. Not only will you struggle to deliver your best, but you will most likely be demotivated to continue with it.
#6. Do what’s right for you
“When you try your best but you don’t succeed.”
As famously quoted by Chris Martin from Coldplay, if the saying resonates profoundly, then it’s probably time to do what you think is right for you. There’s no reason to stick around in a course you’ve lost interest in or find too difficult to cope after putting in significant effort. After all, leading up this blind alley will pull down your grades and cause you lots of mental stress.
You can opt to change your study pathway and switch to another course, but it’s important to remember that your decisions should not be influenced by your peers or parents. Ultimately, you’re the one who will need to sit for the exams and classes so choose a course where you think you can give your absolute best. Consult an education counsellor or speak to friends who are taking those courses so that you have a better idea of what to expect.
Every field and course comes with its own challenges and it’s up to you to find ways to be above it. While choosing the right course for you is important, remember that your decisions don't have to be permanent. You are bound to have a change of heart as you get older but it’s what you make out of it that matters. All the best!