EXCEL Newsletter Volume 24 Issue 1 - Page 2

I Hate This Class!

Coping with Classes You Can't Stand

Rachel Neumeier

So, here you are -- just finding out that you’re stuck in a class you hate! You hate it so much you can’t even stand to study for it. What do you do? This is a problem every single student has to deal with at some point. If you haven’t yet been required to take a class you can’t stand, well, you can bet you’ll find yourself in that class eventually.

Here are some tips that often work in this situation:

Schedule a study hour for the class you hate at least five days out of seven. Schedule it early in the day, even if you’re not a morning person. Treat it like a commitment – like you had a job for that hour. Always work on that course during that hour.

Always find something useful to do for the whole hour. Just re-reading the book doesn’t count. There is always something much more useful that you could do. If you’ve completed your assignment, then make flash cards, a study guide, or a practice test. The satisfaction you feel every day from having gotten something productive done for this class will give the whole day a lift.

If it’s really hard to get started, it might work to tell yourself you’ll only work on it for 15 minutes and then you can quit. Then, at the end of that fifteen minutes, when you find yourself in the middle of making a bunch of flash cards for American History or in the middle of creating a truth table for Quantitative Reasoning, it’s much easier to keep going. Sometimes getting started really is half the battle! Of course, it’s important not to actually stop after 15 minutes.

Completely outlaw phrases like “I hate this class so much” and “This class is so hard.” Complaining about how much you hate the class only makes you hate it more – and it wastes your energy. Comments about how the subject is so hard are worse. If you complain about how you’ll never get it, you may actually persuade yourself that you can’t understand the material – after which you really may not.

If the material is challenging, the way to figure it out is to really try to understand it. Read the paragraph or section and ask yourself, “So, what does that mean?” Write down what you think it means in ten words or so. That is the key to figuring out a tough subject. Then, the next day, ask your instructor or a tutor whether you figured it out correctly.

It works the same way for math. If you’re not sure how to do a math problem, then get out a pencil and try to do it. If you haven’t gotten the right answer in fifteen minutes, go on to the next topic in the homework – but the next day, ask your instructor or an EXCEL tutor where you went wrong with the problem..

If you take these active steps to make yourself learn the material, then you should know you are learning and also you should earn good grades. The satisfaction this success produces is very powerful. You may even find yourself liking the class better – it’s hard to really hate a class if you’re doing well and getting a good grade in that class. But even if you still hate it – well, at least you won’t have to take it twice!

2

Here’s what often happens: since you can’t stand to study for this particular class, you don’t study. Then you get a “D”. Then you have to re-take the class again the next semester because the “D” won’t transfer. Now you have to suffer through it AGAIN. This is not a good scenario.

Obviously, in order to avoid this problem, you should grit your teeth, study properly, and get through the class with a decent grade. Then you can move on with your life. You knew that already, didn’t you? The problem is that you just don’t want to get on with the tooth-gritting. So what can you do to make actually studying for the class a little more bearable?