Rebounding from Midterms

By Peer Mentor: Yasmeen Kelly

If you did not do as well as you wanted to on your first midterm there is no need to panic. There are several ways you can bounce back and still end up with a good grade in the class.

  • Go to office hours/tutoring
    • If you find that you did not do so well on your first midterm, take it to office hours or tutoring and go over the material you got wrong. It is important that you review and understand this material because most likely it will come up again on the final.
    • Also your professor can help you figure out where you might have went wrong with the exam. Questions to ask yourself: Did you read the question wrong? Did you pick the right answer at first then change it last minute? Did you run out of time, or did you finish early and go over it thoroughly before handing it in? Did you just simply not know the material meaning did you study as much as you could have? Your professors and TAs can assist you with any of these problems so that with the next midterm you are better prepared.
  • Prepare for your second midterm
    • If the first one did not go so well, you still have another chance to do well with the second midterm. Take the time to really prepare yourself so that you can bounce back from the first one. Don’t start studying a day or two day before your midterm. Try to plan out times to study a week in advance so that you aren’t cramming the last minute.
    • Make sure you are completing any in between assignments such as group projects, online homework, etc. These points really do add up and it can bring your grade up after not doing great on a midterm.
  • The final exam
    • If the first and even the second midterm did not go as planned, there is still a chance you could pass the class with the final. However, this is only going to be successful if you put in the time and effort to review the previous material from the recent midterms. The final is typically cumulative and unless you study, the final exam grade will just end up reflecting the midterm you didn’t do so well on. The final exam is worth more than the midterms so getting a good grade on this could really improve your overall grade.


It isn’t always about how you start, but how you finish. If you don’t do well on the first midterm, you have to take the necessary steps to make sure you do better on the second one. As long as you continue to show improvement, you will be able to pass the class.


The hardest thing about college is not the workload, nor is it the exams or group projects. The hardest part about college is being able to persevere through the struggle of putting as much effort as possible into your studies and still falling short of good grades. We’ve all been there: that one tough course that’s a major requirement for our degree, the one you heard rumors about before you even went to the first lecture. As for me, as I’m sure some of you now know, the first course that broke my confidence was Chemistry 102. I have a hard time not going on tangents when I tell my horror stories about it, but if it’s any consolation to any of you, this was not the last class I struggled with. I don’t mean to say that in a way that reads, “every class is hard, you’re doomed” but more so, “I’ve had a rough time in some courses but I’m still here at Drexel, still fighting for this B.S. in Biology.” I believe that if I can hang on, so can all of you.

Let me tell a story as I so frequently do each time I have center stage. It’s Fall term 2017 and I’ve just started the infamous sophomore year of the pre-med biology sequence. All summer while I was on break, the thought of organic chemistry, physics, and microbiology haunted me. I had heard such terrible things. These were the “weeder” classes. The term would start out with 200 biology majors and end up with 50 because so many people dropped. That I’d be lucky to pass my classes with a C or D. That no matter how hard I tried, I’d end up right back in PISB 120 retaking these courses in my senior year.

I studied, went to class, did my homework, went to tutoring and office hours and I was still struggling. It gets to the point where you feel lucky to get a 60 on a midterm. Its discouraging. When I got my final grades back, I cried. I felt like I was doomed. If I tried that hard and still did terribly, how would I graduate? Would I even get into medical school?

The important thing to remember is that one, two, or even ten bad grades don’t define us. Maybe you have to retake a few courses. It’s not the end of the world, even though it feels like it is. Maybe you want to be a neurosurgeon, but your math/ science GPA isn’t high enough. You can do a post baccalaureate or get a Masters in Interdisciplinary Sciences. Maybe you want to be a math teacher but you don’t do well when practicing teaching children in class. Volunteer at a youth center where you can get a feel for how to communicate with students. Maybe you want to be a prima ballerina but you have trouble keeping your balance during spins. Practice, day and night. Nothing can keep you from your dream, no matter what it is.

As for myself and my own fears, I dreaded coming back to school to start winter term. On the Friday before Week 1 started, I had a terrible pain in my side and was rushed to the emergency room. As the nurses wheeled me from X-ray room to X-ray room, we passed some of the maternity rooms. Just as I felt as though I’d give up on my dream of being a Perinatologist, I heard a loud scream, and then a cry. A baby was being born just a few feet away, and it reassured me that nothing would stop me from becoming a doctor. When I went back to my room, I spoke with one of the doctors on my struggles in school and how she dealt with the stress of college. What she said to me will resonate with me for the rest of my years of schooling: “Its not necessarily the people with the best grades who become the best in their field. It’s the people who fight for what they want. Those who struggle their way through without giving up. Nothing and no one can stop you from achieving your dreams if you want them bad enough. Not even a few bad grades.”


Angelina Gomez

Dragon Navigator Mentor

B.S. Biological Sciences

Drexel Class of 2020

Thoughts from a peer mentor…

F.A.I.L.= First Attempt In Learning
E.N.D.= Effort Never Dies
N.O.= Next Opportunity

In the beginning of the school year, I was an eager Political Science major, ready to shake up the campus by living my best life, but by the end of the term I was stressed out, tired, weak, and decided to switch my major. Am I telling you that it is only going to get worse and that if you do not like your classes switch your major? No, no I am not. What I am telling you is that I understand what you are going through now. Most likely you are stressed, tired, and hoping that these four weeks fly by so you can enjoy that month off. Right? I mean by this time last year I was wishing for that break and that’s because I found out you don’t have to take classes over break (honestly, I don’t know why I thought that over break I had to take classes but I was really stressed about that for some reason lol).

However, this is week 6, you still have time to turn things around. Being the freshman that you are you most likely did not take advantage of office hours and certainly did not go over your notes after class to see that you truly understand what is going on in that class. I know I didn’t and I swore that in college I was going to be the student I never was in high school, a student who was proactive. I started off proactive, but by week 4, I was doing everything last minute because procrastination was my best friend. However, it’s not too late, there’s still time to finesse those teachers and become the perfect student.

How might you ask? By doing what you didn’t do during the first 6 weeks. Talk to that teacher during office hours, do your homework on time, and most of all study, don’t cram. There’s no other option or easy way out of it, it ultimately starts with you. I know you didn’t work your way from high school just to give up now. You have to become your biggest fan and push yourself to do what you have to do even if no one else is doing it or you don’t feel like it. I know that sometimes you want to hang out and have fun, but doing that isn’t going to get that degree. It is ok to be by yourself so you can better yourself by studying. You’re not going to master the art of being a great student in one day, just take one day at a time. You have the same amount of time as everyone else, the same 24 hours, which means you have enough time to do what you need to do. You were great enough to get yourself here, so keep yourself here. You’re the only person who can stand in your way. This may sound corny but you’re a dragon and being a dragon means that you have the power and the strength to overcome anything you put your mind to. Once I realized that, those things that seem impossible, like getting good grades, didn’t seem so impossible.
Kennedy Jackmon – Dragon Navigator Mentor
Sophomore Criminology & Justice Studies Major

Navigator Welcome Breakfast Thank You!

First let me say thank you to everyone who came out this morning for the welcome breakfast.  It is always encouraging to see students, faculty, and staff have open conversations and really get to know each other.  I hope everyone is excited about the new year as we are.  Make sure to use the connections you make.  Even if you just “need a moment” to vent, reach out.  (Insider tip: I always have chocolate in my office and will replenish my stash for the start of the new term).

A really good and informative resource you all should check out is Drexel’s student newspaper The Triangle.  It comes out every Friday and is a good way to stay up to date on what’s happening around Drexel and even Philly.  There’s an article in this weeks edition that gives some really good advice, What I Wish I’d Known.  As someone who works in an academic support center, I can’t stress enough about asking for help and using the resources on campus.  And if a upper class student is saying it it must be true, right? 🙂

Enjoy your last free weekend before classes start!  Good luck as you embark on your journey as a Dragon!


Welcome from the Program Manager

Welcome to Drexel and the Dragon Navigator Program!

My name is Tasha Gardner and I serve as the program manager for the Navigator program as well as the Director for the Center for Learning and Academic Success Services (CLASS) in University City.  This is my second year with the program and my 11th professional year at Drexel.  I’m a Dragon for life!  I did my undergraduate degree at Drexel and graduated way back in 2003 from the college of business with a concentration in management information systems.

As a woman of color I am passionate about the experience that our minority students experience in higher education.  As an alum, it is important to me to know that students of color are supported academically and socially.  College is a time of personal development and growth.  But with that growth comes challenges and obstacles.  In the moment they may feel impossible to overcome.  Remember that you can (and you will) overcome them.  You are not alone in this journey. That is why this program has a mentoring component.  Your mentor can help you “navigate” and get you connected to the university community.

Of course, always feel free to use me as a resource, my door is always open.  I hope you find the content that will be posted to this blog useful as you progress through your first year at Drexel and beyond.  Never hesitate to share your thoughts with me, I’m always open to feedback.

Again welcome and I look forward to meet you in September!