Many people feel that February is a low point in the year in Michigan. The holidays are over, and snow is no longer exciting. West Michigan has a milder climate than other midwest states because it’s surrounded by the Great Lakes, but the trade off for those warmer winters is a seemingly endless string of gray days from November to April. February is right in the middle of that stretch - but before the warmer weather and the longer days begin to make things more bearable again.
Another tough thing about February is that it’s when the work for school starts to feel heavier and heavier because the deadlines for papers and the dates for tests overlap with reading and studying. It can feel like the grind is unending and all you’re doing is multitasking. It’s easy to slip up and get a less than stellar grade on one of those tests or papers and feel like it’s all over - the grade for the semester is set in stone and it’s worse than what you wanted or hoped for.
Don’t give up, though! All is not lost. First, because, despite the cold and snow, it’s obvious we are moving towards spring and better weather. The days are noticeably longer than they were when everyone returned from the holiday break.
Second, there are many things that struggling students can do to pull their grades up at this point in the semester. Previously we talked about the best study ideas for finals, but implementing better study habits or taking advantage of the many resources GVSU has for students, including the Tutoring Center or the Math and Stats Center, earlier on in the semester will make much more of a difference in your overall grade.
One of the most important things is to remain positive - which means not giving in to negative or fatalistic thoughts about your abilities or your grades. It’s also very valuable to approach each class or assignment as an opportunity to learn, increase your skill set, or improve. It’s easy to oversleep and or hang around in GVSU student housing instead of going to class, but you’re investing a lot of money in these opportunities, so it’s better to take them seriously. Use your professors or TAs as a resource too - that’s what they are there for. It can be easy to look at them as adversaries, but they’re there to make sure you can learn and succeed.
If you didn’t get organized earlier in the semester, it’s not too late. You may find that when you get your materials, your notes, your schedule, and your assignments in order, things will seem much more manageable. Finally, getting out and getting some exercise, either using Meadows Crossings’ fitness center or GVSU’s, can help break the cycle of negative thinking and apathy.
Use any or all of the above suggestions if you’re feeling the winter blues come down hard on you. There are many small things that you can do that can make a huge difference in the semester’s outcome for you as a student and a person. It’s far from too late, so take stock and make any necessary changes while most of the semester is still ahead.