What if I’ve fallen behind?

The start of a new term is a great opportunity to reflect upon, reassess and recalibrate your academic plan. Perhaps the previous term didn’t go quite as you had hoped and you feel as though you’ve fallen behind. If things haven’t gone perfectly, that’s perfectly normal. Whether it’s your first year or your fourth, the cycle of falling behind, readjusting and getting back on track is a normal part of the university experience.

The realities of life as a university student are a major adjustment from high school. Having to balance the demands of academic pressure, personal responsibilities and the expectations that others place on you can easily become overwhelming. As stress mounts, it can become increasingly difficult to keep up with everything. Missed classes or assignments might lead to low marks on midterm exams, failed courses and falling behind on your academic goals. So what should you do?

You’re not alone

As an Arts student at UBC, you are part of a dedicated and compassionate community whose central mission is to support you in realizing your greatest potential. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your instructors, meet with your program advisors or connect with your peers

Around nearly every corner at UBC are resources geared to helping you set yourself up for academic success. You can start getting back on track by visiting the Chapman Learning Commons, joining a free drop-in group tutoring session at the AMS or booking a writing consultation with the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication. A great way to find the resources and opportunities best suited for you is through The Compass — a welcoming student engagement hub designed to help you get the most out of your Arts experience.

Ask for help

There are few things worse than feeling lost, isolated or unprepared in the face of immense stress. Fortunately, there are many people here at UBC who are eager to help you through this. The most important thing you can do is ask for help. There is no shame in admitting that you need assistance – quite the opposite – recognizing when to seek the support of others is an essential skill that will be key to success throughout your life and career. While there are many academic and learning resources available throughout the campus, if you’re unsure of where to start, a great place to begin is by meeting with an Academic Advisor.

University is supposed to be challenging; this is how we learn and grow. Avoiding common challenges, however, can allow them to grow into insurmountable barriers, so don’t put off asking for help when you need it. Being proactive about utilizing the resources available to you is the best way not only to get back on track, but to avoid falling behind in the first place. Go to office hours, participate in workshops and take advantage of the many support services at your disposal.

Take action

It’s easy to get discouraged when things don’t go as we had planned. But if you’ve fallen behind, now is the time to take charge of your circumstances, review your academic plan and make some changes. Now is the time to ask yourself some important questions: Is your course load manageable? Are your study methods working for you? Is your degree program a good fit?

Sometimes, hardships arise that are beyond our control. If you’ve missed coursework or exams due to unanticipated events or circumstances, you may be eligible for academic concession.

Learn from your experience

Falling behind may feel disappointing and embarrassing, but it’s perfectly normal. In fact, it’s an important part of the journey toward your degree. The lessons that you learn from this experience — about yourself and your ability to problem-solve and adapt — are every bit as valuable as the knowledge that you gain in the classroom.

Throughout the highs and lows of your student experience, it is important to always take care of your mental and physical health and wellbeing

Making sure that you’re prepared for the inevitable challenges of your academic journey starts by connecting with the resources designed to help you along the way. As a dedicated group of students, staff and UBC alumni, the Arts Academic Advising team knows the difficulties of navigating the university experience first-hand, because they’ve been through it themselves. Take the next step toward academic success by connecting with an advisor today.