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Bad Habits Mean Bad Grades: Seven Habits That Could Be Hurting Your GPA.

Aug 7, 2009 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Education.org Columnist | 0 Comments

You know the standard bad habits that could hurt your GPA: partying too hard, sleeping too late, and blowing off class time. You know all those pitfalls. But do you know about all the other bad habits out there that could be affecting your grade? The less obvious ones, like hooting like a monkey during lectures? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Here are a few common (and a few not so common) bad habits that could make your GPA take a nose dive. 

Getting your little sister to do your homework

She might be smarter than you—and her essay on feminist theory applied to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night might indeed be better than yours. But how are you going to explain to your college professor why it’s written in crayon, on that paper with the wide blue lines that they make kids write on in grade school? Hey, we heard her penmanship is better than yours, too.  But that probably isn’t going to get you off the hook with your professor.

Hand-writing your term paper on a roll of toilet paper

So you want to be creative, stand out, and communicate (not so subtly) what you think of this assignment. Yeah, it sounds like a good idea at first—but trust us, it’s not.  First off, it’s really hard to write on toilet paper. It tends to tear. And you might think it’s quirky and fun for your professor to unroll your thesis like an ancient scroll, but we doubt he’ll agree. Stick to the usual format: 8x10 paper. And type it, don’t write it—your handwriting is awful.


Student Studying

School is no joke—so don’t treat it like one. Take it seriously. Do your own homework!

Deciding to answer all test questions in Sanskrit

Your professor probably doesn’t speak Sanskrit. And chances are he doesn’t want to admit it, because it will make him look bad next to you with your mad language skills. It just puts both of you in an awkward position. Stay with English, unless you’re in a foreign language class.

Carving your take-home essay test questions on the wall of your dorm room, then making your professor come over to grade it

We totally relate—sometimes when you’re studying in your room, you start to feel like one of those prisoners in a medieval dungeon, forced to carve his life story on the hard stone walls of his cell with a sharpened eating utensil. That’s how long you’ve been in there. But don’t take the comparison too literally. Your professor probably won’t want to go into your room in the first place. It doesn’t smell too good in there.

Sky-diving without a parachute before the big test

Sky-diving without a parachute at all is a bad idea. But if you do it before the date of your test, it could really affect your GPA. Nothing hurts your GPA like being dead.

Sending in your “avatar” to take classes for you

You know you’ve been playing Second Life too long when you think this is a good idea. You might convince your buddy to be your avatar and train him to give people a look like they’re stark raving mad when they insist he’s not you—but that will only work for so long. Your professor isn’t going to be fooled—even if you dress your stand-in in your clothes or give them a name tag with your name on it.  Just go take the test yourself.

Rocking incessantly, randomly blurting out dirty words, or throwing erasers at other students during class time.

Yeah, we know class participation factors at least a little into your grade.  But doing any of these things isn’t a good way to get a high class participation grade. True, you are technically “participating” in class when you stand up and hoot like a monkey to punctuate your professor’s more interesting points during lectures, but chances are the other students will find it distracting. And if you get kicked out of class because you annoy everyone, your GPA is bound to suffer.

School is no joke—so don’t treat it like one

Take it seriously. Do your own homework, in the generally accepted language and in the proscribed format, and try not to get killed before the big test. If you can manage these things, we can’t guarantee your GPA will be high—but we can guarantee you’ll have a better chance of getting good grades.

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