One of the greatest dangers to taking a course a second time is the complacency that can build within one’s mind. You have taken this class before, so you should certainly know what is happening next, right?
I remember the first time that I saw the movie “The Blair Witch Project“. I watched it at night and in the dark. It scared the crap out of me, but the second time wasn’t scary at all. I knew what to expect so it didn’t really make me jump or duck or anything like that. However, some classes are not like that and this is what fools students far too often.
You see, that movie did not require me to interact with it–there was no work involved at all. I was not required to complete any tasks: I was only required to be entertained. A class is not a movie. You are required to learn and understand material, as well as perform tasks, assignments and evaluations of your understanding in the form of tests and quizzes. So just because you have taken a class before, it doesn’t mean that you will get an automatic “A”. As a matter of fact, humans are well know for being creatures of habit so you are actually more likely to do what you did the first time a second time. If you had poor time management skills the first time, then you are more likely to have them again the second time–unless you have done the following:
#1. Confession Is Good For The Soul: Admit to yourself that you failed the course. Now, get over it. Anyone can fail a class, and it doesn’t mean that you are dumb. If you put a world-renown biologist in a music theory class, he/she might be in for the fight of their lives.
#2. What Did I Do Wrong: Now understand that this is about YOU, not the teacher or subject matter. What did YOU do wrong. I had a student who talked through my entire class every day. When they failed the exam, they told me that they figured out why they failed. “It was your testing format”, they said. Actually, no, it wasn’t the testing format…it was you. They never understood that only 3 people in the entire class made below a “B” on that lab test and that they were one of of those 3. Also, they simply could not stop talking long enough to even know what chapter we were in. The other students refused to study with that student, because they said that that student complained all of the time during our group work time instead of focusing on work. That student is an extreme case, but sometimes it is just as simple as knowing your VARK learning style, or reading a little of the material before class that let’s you know what your problem just might be.
#3. Request Backup: There were 4 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, countless G. I. Joes, 4 Ghost Busters, 4 members of the A-Team. Just a few decades ago we were led to believe that teamwork made the dream work. Now, we are in a Jason Bourne society where it only takes one guy to topple an organization that once held them and everyone else under rule. But that is a misleading concept, and you are not Jason Bourne. If the evil Math, Biology, Speech and Western Civilization courses have banned together to deny you your freedom from school, then you will need to assemble a top notch team of Avengers to help you overthrow their regime. There are bound to be some other students who want to pass that class as much as you do…and they don’t have to be geniuses either. A dedicated band of misfits will work just fine…