Rutgers-Camden Blog

How to Make an Academic Comeback After a Short Setback

Imagine you are home skimming through TikTok and watching videos. Eventually, you’ve gone down the rabbit hole of “#DanceTok.” You call some friends to come over to learn the “Cuff It “challenge to hop on the new trend. Three hours into the practice, you hear the keys unlock your front door and immediately remember that your guardians asked you to take the chicken out of the freezer earlier that day. You rush to the refrigerator to grab the chicken to run it under some water.

In walks your guardians with a stressful look because the chicken is frozen, and there’s nothing else to eat at home. As a result, your guardians lose trust in you, and everyone goes to bed upset. The impact of not taking the chicken out hurt the person that was responsible for cooking. But what if the person responsible for taking the chicken out of the freezer and the person responsible for cooking were the same? That person is you. What if the chicken represented a significant assignment, and the result is the grade you received on that assignment. As we know, the short-term relief you may get from avoiding an important responsibility typically creates a longer negative impact.

The longer we put off our responsibilities, the more damage we cause to ourselves in the long run. This is known as the Stress Process or the Cycle of Avoidance [1,2,3]. This blog will provide you with tips on how to create a resolution for yourself after causing damage.

Step 1: Take ownership of the decisions that you made this semester Think about the goals that you’ve set for yourself: Did you want a 4.0? Were you looking to create study groups? Etc. Of those plans, identify the things that positively and negatively impacted your ability to achieve your goal. By clicking here, you can make a copy of the Accountability Sheet, where you can begin taking ownership.

Step 2: Be Proactive, Not Reactive Seek guidance from your professors and the staff. You are the expert in your needs. By being proactive in your approach, an RU-C faculty/staff member can provide you with proper interventions before your situation can impact your grades. • Mistakes Students Make YouTube Video: Office Hours

Step 3: Maximize Your Resources There are many support resources here at Rutgers University, Camden, many of which come at no additional cost to you. Visit the Student Resources page to learn more about the support Rutgers offers students. Find one that you will dedicate to using next semester. What next? You can make a comeback if YOU want to. Remember, for everything assignment you put off, you create a more significant negative impact later. Taking responsibility for your actions is the first step to a greater future.

1. American Psychiatric Pub American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM 5®).  McGrath, J. E. (1970).
2. A conceptual formulation for research on stress. In J. E. McGrath (Ed.) Social and psychological factors in stress. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston Therapist Aid. (2018).
3. What is the Cycle of Anxiety? [Video]. YouTube