The middle of the semester is always tough for me. The initial excitement of the first month of school has worn off, and classes are starting to pick up. College courses can be overwhelming at times, and feel even more so when you add in student organizations, sports, friends, and family life. My confidence always takes a hit after my first grades for assignments or tests come back.
But seeming cool and composed can go a long way in the eyes of professors, administrators, and friends. Being self-assured can help you perform better on assignments, manage your personal relationships, and build your professional network. It’s important to seem confident in your college courses, even if you don’t necessarily feel that way.
Talk to Your Professors
If your confidence took a hit after your first exam, don’t worry. One of the best things you can do is to talk to your professors. Not only can they help you figure out where you went wrong, but they can also give you the encouragement you need to maintain your composure.
My professors are always helpful in helping me identify both my strengths and my weaknesses. Sometimes they’re even willing to modify assignments to fit my learning style. I’m an auditory learner, for example, so it helps to be able to record lectures and listen to them again later. Meeting with my professors and addressing these concerns helped me immensely in my studies. Focus on the skills you have and the areas in which you excel. This will help you build self-assurance in future assignments.
Use Campus Resources
Most schools have peer tutors available for students in college courses. Tutors can make it easier to understand course material. I sometimes feel unintelligent when I don’t understand concepts the first time. But sometimes it just takes another person’s spin on the topic to help me understand. Good peer tutors can help you build confidence in your skills and encourage you to do your best. My school’s Academic Success Center helped me learn to manage my busy schedule. This made it easier for me to perform well in my college courses.
Maybe meeting with your professors and trying tutoring didn’t cut it. You might still feel a little discouraged during the mid-semester period. But like my mentor always says: “If you can’t make it, fake it.” Dress well (studies have shown that people tend to trust professionally dressed over casually dressed peers). Use a planner (it will give others the impression that you have your “act together”). Be on time (even if it means running to your next appointment). Speak slowly (this will give you time to think about your statements before you become frantic). Take a deep breath and relax as much as possible. This will go a long way in helping you seem cool and composed, even if you’re panicked.
The important thing to remember is that no matter how much you “bombed” that first test or misunderstood your essay assignment, you still have time for damage control. The semester is only halfway over, so there is time to make up for your earlier mistakes. Use your resources, keep calm, and hang in there!
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