Thursday, January 3, 2019

Goal Setting for the Rest of us

All in all, it's not a bad goal. A good grade shows that the student accomplished the tasks that were set, and should be ready for whatever comes next. Good grades have a practical application, too. They are used to qualify for things like competitive programs, financial aid, and if the student is from another country, bad grades can be lead to being sent home.

Unfortunately, as a goal, shooting for an A is not very helpful, and can make your semester harder than it needs to be.

How so?  Well, in many courses, especially writing-heavy courses like history, literature, or social sciences, grading is very subjective. One professor could give you a B for the same work that would earn a C or less with someone else. There are a lot of reasons for this. You may consider some more fair than others. We'll be getting more into this another time, but for right now, we'll just say that not everything is under your control when it comes to grades.

So should you just give up?

Absolutely not! There are lots of things you can do to perform well in school. The key is to focus on what you can do.

We'll get into these in detail later, but here are some examples:

  • Start your assignments early. It's easy to look at an assignment that isn't due for a month or more and put it off, only to find out that it will take longer than you thought. Start early, ask questions, get help if you need it, get a better grade. 
  • Do a little bit each day. It'll be less stressful, and while it may not look like much at the time, you'll be amazed at your progress. 
  • Ask questions. You may feel weird, but if you're not sure about something, it's always better to ask. If you don't want to put your hand up in class, talk to your instructor after class, or send an email.

 We'll be getting into this topic more later this month here and on Patreon.

Looking to take your writing to the next level? Become a patron and get access to tutorials, workshops, and Q/A sessions to help you achieve your writing goals. Academic content is posted each week on Patreon. Subscribe to N. M. Scuri's newsletter for all things writing and editing, including upcoming live workshops and editing consultations here and get a free worksheet: "5 Questions to Get You Started on Your Writing Path."
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