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You’ve made it through your first semester of college, but so far things haven’t gone exactly as planned. You planned to earn high grades, become best friends with your roommate, and have your whole career path mapped out once you entered college. Sometimes making a change in one area of your college experience is all it takes to improve the rest. Don’t let one tough semester make you feel like quitting.

Here are 3 ideas to solve situations you may be facing after your first semester:

Problem: Your GPA is lower than expected.

Solution: If you had one low grade, reflect on what made the course difficult. Was there a lot of reading require or did you take a higher level class without the proper preparation for it? If it is just in one subject that you won’t be required to take again, it may not impact you as much going forward. If your grades were lower than expected overall, take time to honestly access the amount of time you’ve spent socializing versus the amount of time you’ve spent studying. A change in your study environment may also help you improve your concentration. If you always study in your dorm room, try studying elsewhere such as the library or with a study group. Talk to your academic advisor about tutoring resources on campus, or start going to your professor’s office hours.

Problem: Dorm life is not what you expected, and you’re not getting alone with your roommate.

Solution: Pop culture makes it appear as if all roommates become BFFs. Real life does not always work out that way. There’s nothing wrong if you don’t become close friends, but if there is not mutual respect, it’s time to evaluate your living situation. If you live in a school owned building, you likely have a resident assistant (RA) or another staff member who can assist you with any problems you’re facing. At the start of the school year, some schools require roommates to develop a housing contract and agree to abide by it. If your roommate isn’t following the rules, try bringing it up to her or him privately. If they aren’t receptive to your requests, then you should contact your RA for further assistance. You RA can also help you assist you with moving to a different room, if necessary.

Problem: You’re starting to wonder if you chose the right college.

Solution: College can be a time of many emotions. It’s exciting to be on your own likely for the first time and start preparing for your future career. It can also be hard to be far away from your family, and you might feel pressured to know exactly what you want to study and eventually become. Just because things aren’t going as planned, it doesn’t mean transferring is your only option. Have you joined any student organizations? You’ll meet more people at your school, enhance your resume, and possibly get free food! Are you majoring in the subject you’re truly passionate about, or are you majoring in what you think will make you the most money? Think about the specific aspect of college that is making you unhappy. If you are starting to lean towards transferring, taking mostly general education type classes can be to your benefit. They are easier to transfer to other colleges, and it will have you graduate on time if you do end up transferring. It’s better to be informed and know your options, instead of ignoring the problem and hoping things will improve.

Whether your problem seems big or small, a bad semester doesn’t need to equal a bad college career. Remember to acknowledge the things that did go well your first semester. Don’t let a small setback stop you from reaching your goals.

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Cara Claflin is a senior who attends a public school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Even though she plans to stay in Minnesota, attending college in a state that doesn’t have snowstorms in May is starting to sound appealing. She hopes to double major in journalism and marketing. Cara loves helping high school students make the most of all the resources available to them. At school, she is an editor for her school’s newspaper and takes part in a leadership group. When she has some free time, she enjoys dancing, listening to music, reading, and watching music and dance competition reality shows.

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