Class Struggles at UVA and Ways to Improve

Camila Cifuentes brito

I think all UVa students have at one point struggled with a specific class. I know how challenging it can be when you’ve studied countless of hours, yet still don’t receive the grade you wanted. Fortunately, there are many ways to approach this problem. Different approaches work differently for every student and it’s a matter of discovering what works best for you.

Before doing anything, I’d recommend that you come to terms with your struggle by realizing that you’re not the only one in this position and that this does not mean you are any less fit to be a student at UVa. Often times, the most detrimental thing you can do is to stop believing in yourself and your ability to succeed at UVa. In addition, while working through your journey at UVa, I strongly advise that you not compare yourself to your fellow classmates. Why compare yourself to someone else, when everyone has their own unique path and journey?

Now, that you’ve come to terms with your struggle, it’s time to take action. It’s important to realize that every professor has different ways of testing material, therefore different ways to study for the exams. The best way to figure out how to study for each class is to directly ask the professor. I highly encourage everyone to go to office hours, even if you’re not struggling in a class. Not only will it guide you through the class, but it will also help you form a stronger relationship with professor that could come in handy in the future with recommendations. When in office hours, don’t be afraid to admit that you need help. Perhaps go over the last exam or work through certain questions with them. It could be that your way of thinking through a problem is different than what the professor expects. This can result in a better understanding on what material or details you need to study for. Furthermore, office hours can expose you to questions other students might have. Opening the floor to questions from other students has benefited me countless of times. Often times, other students have the same questions and having a group to figure it out with the professor can be very helpful. I’d also recommend using office hours to demonstrate to the professor if anything in lecture or on the exam was hard to understand or misleading. You’d be surprised to discover that many students may feel the same way and how receptive a lot of professors are to feedback.

Finally, there are different tutoring resources that you have access to at UVa. This will vary on the subject, but you can almost always find an available source. Simply search for “tutors” on the UVa website. In addition, I’d suggest reaching out to other students you know in the class to form study groups. I’ve had a lot of positive outcomes from meeting in a group and going over class material. It’s a great space to ask questions and help each other in the process.

Hope this helps. Good luck!