So, you managed to survive a semester filled with instructors who “act like this is the only class I’m taking”; “ grade so hard I won’t get into my pre-screened major”; in spite of all your hard work you end up in summer school instead of kicked back on the beach. I feel your pain because I’ve been there and done that myself. In writing this article I thought about what advice I could give to someone reading this and help her/him realize I really shouldn’t be so hard on myself because I didn’t ace that course. I believe we all occasionally place unrealistic goals on ourselves and end up feeling defeated or depressed—which as you know is not healthy. We torture ourselves with negative talk which chips away at our confidence. May I suggest that you turn that negative energy into something positive like letting yourself off the hook! If you had to take a “hard” course or ended up with a tough instructor then accept that and know that you gave it your best. However, if you didn’t put your best foot forward then you can and should know there is time to think about how you can do better next time. Utilizing core or general education courses allows student the opportunity for exploration in areas outside of the chosen major or to choose a major if they are undecided.
Taking the summer to work on developing specific skills such as improving communication skills or becoming proactive versus reactive is a good place to begin. A summer job in a field that you are interested in would be a good way to “test the waters” to see if you want to declare that as a major. There is an abundance of non-fiction reading material aimed at providing information to help individuals work through issues affecting progress in their personal and professional lives. As a contextual example, consider the challenges of collaborative learning in college. Working on a “group” project can produce a tremendous amount of stress and conflict. Developing new skills that will make you more adept at communicating your points of view and develop leadership skills is a worthwhile investment. Remember that you can’t always control everything and everybody, but you can control yourself so stay positive and don’t let negative thoughts hold you back from striving to challenge and change for the better.