Skip to main content
11 answers
10
Asked 457 views Translate

What's a good action plan once I've gotten so behind in classwork it feels hopeless?

I want to get credit for these courses, but covid and the state of the world has really taken its toll. How do I go up from here?

Asking on behalf of a friend <3

#mental-health #classwork #schoolwork #college #studying #homework

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

10

11 answers


1
Updated Translate

Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Abby! I think right now a lot of uncertainty is around and many students are going through this similar mindset. I agree with the previous answer's recommendation for your friend to first talk with his or her teachers because they may be able to provide help in clearing up the workload that has built up. Another is planning out their coursework, writing down what assignments they need to complete and what has been completed because this can give them a clear mindset and a goal in view to finish up their courses. In addition, many individuals are facing difficult times and it's understandable for your friend to feel this way so if there is possibly any way for your friend to also reach out to someone as well then I would also recommend that too! For example, if there are any services that could help students during these times to talk about their feelings and emotions and what they are experiencing. In college for example there are counselors and professional services to help with students feeling anxiety, uncertainty or lack of motivation; if these options are available for your friend then I would recommend for her to take advantage of them.
I wish the best for them and I hope they get to finish up their courses! I hope this was helpful!

Best of luck!
1
1
Updated Translate

Deijana’s Answer

There are many ways to catch up, and who says you have to do it alone? Communication is best, so talk to your professor and let them know what is going on and that you're falling behind in workload. Professors are typically always looking for ways to help. Schedule one or two sessions to meet with the professor and go through your class notes, that way they can reiterate saying to you that may have not understood and you get the close one-on-one time to ask the question maybe you didn't feel comfortable asking in class. Ask your professor to go back and list all of the assignments for you. See what you have turned in and what due dates are approaching. If you really want to succeed, in a particular class spend extra time reviewing graded tests or assignments with your professor to understand the grade you received and this will also help you to better understand that teacher and how they grade.

Once you've gotten some guidance in how to catch up in the class it's up to you to get there! make a schedule. Plan out a certain amount of time to spend on each assignment. Once that time is up move on to something else. Don't cram! Looking at a black page for 3 hours is not going to get the work done. Spend 1 hour on it and the switch to other work.

Plan some time to study with friends for tests. Make games out of it, challenge each other, and come up with unique ways to remember facts and vocab.

Deijana recommends the following next steps:

Meet with Professor
Make a schedule
Study with friends
1
1
Updated Translate

Julie’s Answer

Hi Abby, a common problem and your friend shouldn't feel that they are alone or the first to experience this. What a kind person you are to seek help on their behalf. There is plenty of advice out there and the previous advice in terms of approaching the teachers is good.

My advice as a starting point though is to try and help your friend move from feeling overwhelmed to seeing that there are possibilities. It will be possible to improve where they are now if they can get themselves into the right mindset (& almost impossible if they don't). The other saying of "How do you eat and elephant....one bite at a time" shows the importance of breaking down tasks into achievable, manageable goals & then celebrating them. A technique to get them to see possibilities is firstly to ask them what good looks like for them, how they will feel when they are back on track and why they want to get back on track. If they are working towards a bigger picture, a career, a university place or for satisfaction of moving from a C grade to a B grade then this will keep them going. Once they've defined that goal, then they can pin that up on the wall to remind them and keep them going. Then ask them what's stopping them getting there - what would need to be true to get there. If they feel that the top universities are not achievable, how could they get to the 2nd tier etc.

Then the important thing is to get them to stop feeling guilty about past. They can't change the past, but they can change the future. Looking at each subject, what can they commit to in terms of hours per week and what do they think the priorities are. What are the subjects/work that will really make the difference. Which subjects are critical for turning around performance? This is where a teacher will help.

Then celebrate success. Get them to break the goals down into smaller milestones so that they can quickly measure what they've done and celebrate it. For example, 3 hours homework = a chocolate bar, or catching up on an assignment = time out watching tv, etc. Celebrate together!

The key thing is to convince your friend that there are possibilities, and that if they share their dilemma with their teacher and demonstrate they have the right mindset and commitment to improve, they will get support.

Good luck. Hope that's helpful.
Thank you comment icon This is excellent advice! When looking at everything that needs to be done it is incredibly easy to feel overwhelmed and like it is impossible. But starting small at one task is all it takes to get the ball rolling. Breaking things into manageable tasks makes it less intimidating and much easier to work your way to where you want to be. Anything is better than nothing. Raquel Davis
1
0
Updated Translate

Kim’s Answer

Abby,

I highly recommend the friend talk to a counselor or advisor.
A couple of answers to consider. First, if your friend is very far behind in all classes, I'd consider eliminating the most difficult class. They can take a grade of Incomplete and finish it later, or withdraw, and hopefully not get any grade at all. It depends on timing and the school's policies. After getting rid of the most difficult class (or, even two classes), concentrate on the rest.

Part of the problem with college is, if you had it easy in high school, you now have to study. Many students waste time on studying because they do not know what works best for them. They can read a chapter over and over and not retain anything, and don't know what else to do. If your friend can figure out what study techniques work best for them, that will help. They also need to figure out what time of day their brain is most likely to be alert enough to retain the information. It does no good to study while sleepy!

Mental health is a serious concern. If eating, sleeping, and exercising correctly can't pull her up from this problem, then it's time to seek professional help. It could be that she needs to withdraw from all classes and address the mental health concerns first. There's no shame in taking time off to deal with everything else!
0
0
Updated Translate

Jojo’s Answer

Hello there! Other respondents to this question have raised very good points. I just wanted to add on that it might be helpful for you to find additional, perhaps creative ways to keep yourself (or your friend) accountable once you've made an action plan to communicate with the people/professors around you and catch up on work. For example, it may be helpful if you and your friend were able to set up an "accountability schedule" for a month out of a semester. If you/your friend is able to complete the required tasks/schoolwork at the end of each week, that could result in a point. A full 4 of 4 points (1 point per week) could result in, say, a cup of coffee for the other person. This is just one example, and you may take it upon yourselves to find solutions that best fit your situation. Personally, I found a strategy such as this to be fulfilling and effective because it not only ensures that my work gets done, but it also gives a sense of encouragement that this accountability is helping a friend of mine as well.
0
0
Updated Translate

Roseanne’s Answer

I'd suggest to your friend to sit down with their teacher(s), honestly explain the situation, & ask for their help in developing an action/recovery plan to catch up & then get/stay on track.
0
0
Updated Translate

Gloria’s Answer

Hi Abby,

You have gotten some great insights here. I would probably add one that I had to work through myself. When working with a school counselor, determine if your friend is trying to do too much at once. Is your friend a full time student that might benefit from taking fewer classes? It will take longer to graduate, but college is not a race. There is no right finish line for anyone who is in college. I would rather your friend take fewer classes and feel good about school than quit from feeling the need to take a full load every semester.

Gloria
0
0
Updated Translate

Simeon’s Answer

I'd find out what the most valuable assignments are in terms of point value and focus on that. Any homework that is outstanding just needs to get turned in in some fashion or another. A 70 might not seem like much, but 0 and 70 are as far apart as 30 and 100 are. Also, be in contact with the teacher. Believe it or not, most teachers actually care if you pass or not and will work with you if you show a good faith effort in getting across the finish line. However, they cannot make you pass. You'll need to show that you're willing to put in the work.
0
0
Updated Translate

Reeju’s Answer

Its simple! set a target for your self and create a plan how you can finish or at-least finish initial 40% of your pending homework. Start with easy and interesting stuff which you like not the complex one and slowly build the pace.

1. First set the target for 3 days and identify how much you can to finish. And decide a reward for yourself like playing fav computer game, eating your fav dish, meeting someone etc.., which can motivate you to finish your target.
2. Increase your days gradually and set it for 1 week, as long planning, more chances of defaults.
3. You may may not hit the plan always but it help you to build up the confidence and pace which you need to finish pending stuffs.

If you are able to follow and finish what you have planned. Trust me you can coverup things easily.
0
0
Updated Translate

Kiirsten’s Answer

Hi Abby!

I see you've gotten many great responses already-- I hope your friend (and you) are well and safe! Yes this pandemic has taken a toll on many people in many different ways, so I have found it extremely important to have a strong connection with my friends/family for times when I was struggling myself. That's super awesome of you to ask for your friend, I hope they are doing okay now. It's very easy normally to get bogged down with so many things AND have to do assignments/tests/reading coursework on top of everything-- just have your friend first speak with a counselor because mental health is very paramount. After speaking with the counselor maybe they can come up with a plan to tackle coursework, or the counselor can call a meeting with the teachers to discuss work loads and breaking everything up to complete them in a timely fashion. When I fell behind in school a couple of times, I found it helpful for my mental sanity to take a run and clear my mind and calm down, then speak with my teachers. Often times, teachers are very understanding.

0
0
Updated Translate

Meighan’s Answer

Encourage your friend to meet with their teachers and explain the situation. The teacher's may be able to grant extensions and flexibility on assignments.

To tackle tasks, have your friend make a list of every assignment/deadline for each class. This is the hardest step and may be overwhelming at first, but is the most crucial.

Then, have your friend break up tasks in order of priority. Tackle tasks in this order:
-Important/Urgent-highly weighted assignments, due soon
-Important/Non Urgent-highly weighted assignments, due later
-Not Important/Urgent-easy points, due soon
-Not Important/Non Urgent-easy points, due later

Have them work on the initial step for each important/urgent task. For example, if their top tasks are an exam, a paper and a project, have them make a study plan for the exam, a basic outline for the paper, and find three research sources for their project. Just completing the first step for a big task is doable and encourages further work, even when the task itself seems too big to take on all at once.

Lastly, consider asking your friend if they would benefit from counseling. Many colleges have free student counseling and there is no shame in seeking help! We all are dealing with new and unusual stresses this year, and just like you take care of your body by getting adequate rest, eating healthy foods, and exercising, you have to take care of your mental health by finding ways that work for you. Your friend may benefit from finding someone they can talk to about their challenges this year.

Good luck to both of you!
0