It’s not me, it’s my professor.
At some point in your college career, you will get a professor that is HORRIBLE; it’s inevitable. You can either let that horrible professor ruin your GPA or you can work to conquer that class. As a third-year, I have been through at least two horrible professors so far and I have come up with a game plan for making it through those classes that I thought I should share with all of you.
Step 1: Identify Why They’re Horrible
The first step that helps me is to figure out what about that professor makes them horrible. Is it because:
1.) They are unorganized?
2) Do they go too quickly through the slides?
3) Do they not go into enough detail?
4) Are they a hard tester?
5) Is it the material that’s hard?
6) Is the homework hard?
What is it that makes this class so difficult? You have to identify the problem to be able to fix the problem.
Step 2: Have a Game Plan
Once you’ve figured out the problem see what you can do to fix it. Here’s a few ways to make the best of the situation:
1) If your professor is unorganized with their lectures you could benefit from reading the material before class so you have a baseline knowledge of what they are going to be talking about. You could also just focus on taking notes on whatever you can wherever you can on your paper then go home and reorganize your notes in an order that makes sense to you.
2) If your professor goes too quickly through the slides try pulling up the slides on your own laptop in front of you and follow along. That way if your professor changes slides too early you can finish copying from your own screen before going to the next. You could also try taking notes on the slides prior to class and then adding in blurbs and arrows to areas the professor build on during lecture so you aren’t worried about taking notes on the slides and their words at the same time.
3) If your professor doesn’t go into enough detail for you try supplementing it with the readings and your own research. Google is your best friend. You can also team up with another class mate to take notes together and go over them after class together to fill in the gaps you may have missed. You can also write down small questions along with your notes to follow up with your professor in office hours to get more detail on the things you don’t understand.
4) If your professor is a hard tester I suggest taking as many practice tests as you can. Practice tests are a great way to gauge your knowledge on what you do and don’t know. If your professor doesn’t provide any practice exams check your school’s website. OSU has a database of past practice tests for pretty much any class you are taking. You can always find tests on Google, again it’s your best friend. Also, take your studying seriously if they are a hard tester. Start early and give yourself enough time to retain all of the material. Studying with a friend is always helpful.
5) If your professor’s material is too hard make sure you are going to office hours for additional help. Depending on the class there are study groups and sessions held throughout the week for those who need additional help, especially in the engineering, math, and science fields. Take advantage of those! Buddying up in this case would be very beneficial for you because hopefully you two can fill in any gaps either of you are unsure of and you can help each other with the material. Be sure you are taking good notes in a way that will help YOU understand the material. It doesn’t always have to match the professor’s slides.
6) If your professor’s homework is difficult again, I suggest going to office hours to see what areas you are struggling in and why you aren’t doing well on the homework. You could be losing points here and there for little match mistakes or just because you have been confusing two vocabulary words. I cannot say this enough, but make friends in your classes and work with a friend on your homework, this is the best way to learn AND keep you accountable for completing assignments and learning the material.
Step 3: DO IT!
Once you’ve identified the problem and created a game plan for how to fix it—ACTUALLY DO IT! Don’t be lazy! Don’t say, “I’ll go to office hours next week” because then there is going to be two weeks of work and material piled up that you don’t understand and it will be harder to catch up with even more work to do.
Be responsible and stay accountable for your grades in this class. You can blame the professor for making the class difficult, but you can’t blame the professor for the grade you receive in the class, that’a all YOU! So get up, go to office hours, talk to that person who sits next to you in class, ask your friends who have taken the class before, and get it done!