The royal GPA f*ck up.
We’ve all done it. Whether it was “I’m too hungover to go to class” semester, or the easy freshman mistake of loving the lack of attendance policy way too much, at one time our GPA has clicked down point-by-point faster than the funds in our checking account after drunkenly opening a tab at the bar.
I may be only a freshman, but I’ve pretty much already declared my major in GPA Sabotage, with a concentration on Accidental Stupidity. Having been such an idiot my first semester of college, I speak from partial experience on the five unfailing ways to destroy your GPA like a Category 5 earthquake.
1. Racking up a big streak of absences for your class. It’s pretty obvi, almost to the point where it seems ridiculous to bring up, but it’s the most effective method for watching your GPA drop like an axe. Keeping up the good fight in your classes is all about resisting the incredibly tempting ability to skip class. Even if there is no attendance policy, chances are extremely good that you don’t want to miss what’s going on. Plus, catching up after a missed class is a massive headache for anyone with a decent course load.
2. Not participating in class. This is kind of a gray area, but for the most part it can be really destructive to your grade in a class if you just waste your time there. Classes are only worth the money they cost if you’re retaining the information presented, and the professor is there to make sure you do just that. Communicating with your professor and participating in class is definitely the way to get the most out of it, and it can make even a 9 AM lecture more enjoyable. Plus, if you make a big mistake in your class, your professor will likely be extremely helpful in getting you back on track knowing that you are invested in the course.
3. Sleeping through class sessions. This is a biggie. It can be actually painful to try and stay awake in class, especially when it’s one of the soulless 8 AM courses. It risks being mind-numbingly dull to stay awake, but if you sleep through class, you’re wasting your time even being there at all. I have definitely used classtime to catch up on some Zs and learned pretty quickly that it’s one mistake you absolutely don’t want to to make.
4. Blowing off studying for exams, or just the exams in general. The best saying I’ve heard about exams is the Murphy’s Law of College Exams: they are always based on the one class session you didn’t attend, and the chapter in the textbook you didn’t read. There is nothing like a screwed college exam to sink you about two letter grades, if not more. Studying is all-important, as is keeping track of your exam schedule so you don’t accidentally miss one. These two things can mean the difference between doing well in a class and scraping to pass.
5. Cheating/ Plagiarizing. It may be incredibly tempting, but as is largely well-known, either of those offenses are automatic one-way streets to being blacklisted from every college, and having your future resume incredibly tainted. Not only will your test or paper be an automatic zero if you’re caught, but your entire college career will be seriously affected by a brief lack of judgment. No test grade is worth the colossal slap on the hand resulting from cheating, and a paper that’s written with someone else’s words isn’t worth the ink you print it with. If you’re tempted to make either of these serious mistakes, resist them. Academic Dishonesty is one phrase you never, ever want associated with your transcripts.