It all started when I got my midterm grades, a B- and a C for two out of five classes in my first semester of MBA. Chills went down my spine, those grades mean that there was a big chance of my GPA to fall below 3.0, which also means that I might lose my scholarship.
What went wrong?
I am currently under Indonesian government scholarship to pursue my MBA for two years, and a 3.0 GPA is needed to keep my scholarship. Losing it in the first semester is not funny.
My mind was racing, what happened? Where did I go wrong?
Simply put, I found some classes quite challenging.
I did information system for my undergraduate degree, and mostly science for my high school classes. So I found economics and business law to be quite different than what I’m used to. I can tell you IT project lifecycle, or explain the workflow of an internet banking transaction, but I stutter on explaining how a price control affect supply & demand, or how to sue that particular shareholder behind a corporate shield.
Each classes ran for 2 hours and required a LOT of reading and question practices BEFORE every class. Sure, I only had 3 days of classes every week, but the amount of time I spent reading and doing homework everyday weren’t even funny. And yet, those weren’t enough.
What happens if I lose the scholarship?
My mind shifted to worst-scenario case: losing my scholarship.
The most obvious one would be: I can’t afford the MBA program.
For those of you who know my family would probably think “Yea right, you can always ask your daddy”. Well.. my answer would be “No”. Because his responsibility of funding my education stops at undergraduate degree and his responsibility of funding me at all stops after he paid for my wedding. A Master degree is my choice and therefore, my responsibility.
I got a job after I finished my undergraduate degree and I don’t ask for money since then. My wedding was paid by him, yes. There is no way that I could afford that scale of a wedding. Being a Javanese father, he also sees it as his responsibility.
I would also be very very very embarrassed if I lose my scholarship.
Some people already objected when I got this scholarship, they think that since my father can afford sending me to New York, I should not get the scholarship. Regardless the fact that the scholarship was not need based, but merit based. So if I lose my scholarship after one semester, I could imagine their smug faces saying “See, she’s stupid.”
This also means that I carry my father’s name with me, my failure would tarnish his name as well. I also don’t want to lose to my husband, who graduated with very good GPAs for both his undergraduate and graduate degree.
Oh man, I think too much don’t I?
Time for Action
After banging my head on the wall long enough, it was time to start planning my next steps. I will not lose my scholarship. Midterm grades are not final, I still have the chance to fix them.
I looked hard and honest to each classes, where was I struggling, where should I put extra effort, and what grades that I could realistically achieve to have a 3.0 GPA. I admit, acknowledge, and accept that I am not a genius that can ace classes without studying. The grades I get are equal to the effort that I put in. After considering each factor, I admit that I was not particularly good in two classes. So I aimed for 2 As and a B, so I could have some buffer in case I get 2 Cs.
Next step, was to decide the S.M.A.R.T steps to achieve these grades. I looked at the remaining homework and assignments, I could spend more effort in those. Then I created study plans for the finals. With the exams as the due date, I calculated backwards, breaking down studying for finals into more manageable chunks over a few weeks so I wouldn’t need to have caffeine injections and become a zombie during finals week.
Just Get Up When You Fall
However, no matter how well I plan for things, I am still only an imperfect human. I was focusing too hard on 2 assignments, that I completely forgot one final was scheduled one week earlier than the rest of the classes. I just realised it 10 minutes before the exam started, when I was in the library printing out an assignment.
While kicking and cursing myself over and over, I quickly went through my notes and was 15 mins late for the exam. Better late than not studying at all right? I was so miserable after the exam, because this class was one of the classes that I aim for an A. I got home and banged my head on the wall some more.
After a few hours of cursing and moping, I took another look at my plan. I had to assume the worse for that class, I no longer have a buffer, which means I gotta do my best (till my nose bleeds best) to boost those predicted Cs into Bs.
So I studied hard, very hard. I vowed that I will not embarrassed my father, myself, and I will not give those negative people the chance to get their smug faces on.
Throw in some head banging and repeated facepalm when I kept getting wrong answers in practice questions, some singing and screaming on the top of my lungs when I got stressed out. Anything to vent out, as long as I keep going with studying (within acceptable noise level for the neighbors)
The Final Countdown
After the finals week, it was judgment day. I checked the student portal for final grades everyday, I tell you… it was very bad for my heart.
First grade was the forgotten exam, my heart flipped out when I got a B and sank when I saw a C for another class. 2.5 so far, at this point, I did what the only thing I could do, intensify my praying *lol*
The next grade was an A, it’s 3.0 now. All that’s left was the two classes that I fear the most, if I really got Cs as I predicted… well… game over.
I had to wait for another torturous week before the other two grades were posted, trying to take it easy but just simply impossible.
Imagine my relief, when I can now say that my scholarship is safe!
In the effort on managing my stress level and saving my nerves from breaking down, I need to manage things better on the upcoming semesters. This degree is harder than I anticipated
I start with what kind of grades that I want to achieve, and I want to aim much higher than a 3.0. Here’s what I come up with:
1. A more structured study plan and daily schedule
Scheduling reading and practice questions, so I can easily execute it once I get to the library. The time allocation will be bigger for more difficult classes. Hopefully this will reduce the amount of Facebook-ing when I’m supposed to be studying
2. Recognizing procrastination trigger and tackle it
I kinda stole the dining table to be my study space, despite my husband’s protests. However…. I just can’t get work done at home. That kitchen would suddenly look extremely dirty, or I’ll just be hungry all the time. Bad for studying and bad for my weight. So preferably I’ll go to the library every day, or at least to the nearest Starbucks when I need something done.
Did you experience the same thing? What did you do in school?
this post is inspired by Daily Post: Saved by the Bell