To take part in discussions on talkSFU, please apply for membership (SFU email id required).

failing two courses...scared of academic probation?!

I'm currently a first year completing my first term at sfu. I made the mistake of taking poli sci and philosophy (critical thinking) and I'm failing miserably in both courses. For some people, poli sci is really easy but for me, I have no background knowledge towards politics and I don't find it interesting either. As for philosophy, no matter how hard I study, I just can't seem to understand the content. It's just so confusing and I feel like it's either I understand it or I don't. I only took these two courses as my QB requirements and I regret it so much. It's so frustrating because I know I'm not a student who would fail courses but these two courses are just so difficult for me? And now, I'm scared that I'll get put into academic probation...what will happen? It's only my first term and I'm already so miserable. Please give me some advice?


  • If your CGPA is under 2.0 then yes, you will be placed on academic probation. It’s not necessarily scary but you may need to retake one of the courses
    To pull your gpa back up.

    Btw OP not to sound like an asshole but this is the reality in university for your breadth requirements/degree requirements not every course you take is going to be interesting. TBH most of the bus courses I take for business are boring as hell. I only have found interest in the marketing and finance courses because that’s what I’m majoring in. But accounting, hr, stats, and Econ courses BLEH, boring as hell. I hated HATED math 157 but had to take it for my degree requirements. Do you think people take math 157 for fun lol or because they have an interest in that math? Most of my friends and I were taking it because we had to not because we wanted to. If you want to complete a degree at SFU ofc it should be something you’re interested in but there are going to be courses you will hate and love regardless. But using the excuse that you’re not interested in it to do well in it is not a good excuse imo. If I used that excuse I’d be kicked out of SFU by now and failed at least 10 courses that I strongly disliked and was uninterested in.

    The reality is yes you may get placed on academic probation and you may fail two courses but you need to learn from your mistakes. Next time for breadth requirements don’t take courses you’re not interested in but be aware that there will and may be courses in your major requirements that you will have to take that you may find boring. You have to pull it together and tough it out.

    I know I sound like an asshole but trust me, I have been in the same position as you and this is what I wished somebody told me back then. Good luck and PM me if you want to talk or have anymore questions. I highly recommend you talk to an academic advisor too.

  • @leenami Thanks for your advice. And no, you don't sound like an asshole at all lol. I totally get what you mean by it's no excuse to say that because I'm not interested, I'm bound to get bad grades. And yeah, right now I'm just trying my best to do well on my term papers just so it can at least boost my grade up a little bit. I think my main problem is time management. Also, if you have any advice on how to study, please share! I feel like I haven't found the "right" way to study for myself :S 
  • edited November 2017
    EVERY FIRST YEAR STUDENT EVER: 'ommggg help! I am failing all my courses, I am so scared right now, I feel like a failure. Please help me, I don't want to be that bum on the sidewalk holding a sign and begging for pocket change!'
    EVERY FIRST YEAR STUDENT EVER: 'but sir, I am on academic probation, I don't want to be kicked out of SFU, my parents are going to kill me!'
    ACADEMIC ADVISOR: 'MY DEAR, let me tell you this. Academic probation is just a warning to light up the flame on your ass, so you can wake up and get your sht together!'
    (Meanwhile in the waiting room) FOURTH YEAR STUDENT: LMFAO, THAT WAS SO MEEE!! 


    Not to be mean OP, but we've all been there and it's really no big deal. The transition from high school to university is tough, and we all get that. Take a semester off or lower your course load next semester, think what went wrong and improve on it. As your study time at SFU progresses, you will begin developing a study habit that work best for you, and you will start seeing much improvement with your grades. Study habit differ from one student to another, however there are numerous advice I think most students may benefit from, and they are rather common to hear: attend all your classes, do all your readings (especially pre-readings), keep a schedule to help manage your time, stay organized, when stumped be sure to seek help from TAs and your professor (attend office hours if needed), make friends with like-minded students and ask them for help/study together, never cram + ALWAYS start early (whether it's the reading for your next class, or an assignment), and most importantly eat well/sleep well/exercise/have fun.

  • edited November 2017
    Now, if you would like a common study habit, here's one that worked for me. It's going to sound like a lot for a student coming fresh out of high school, but at some point you're going to have to step up your game, even if you do not follow it exactly, try and pick up a thing or two and you'll understand why some students are doing well, others not so much. Again this is just an example, this may or may not work out for you. 

    -pre-read+note down everything for your next lecture (the syllabus should tell you exactly what you will be discussing during your next lecture, if not ask your prof). THIS HAPPENS BEFORE CLASS.
    -use class time as a REVIEW (almost everything here should be old news) where I only note down new topics that I have not already written down during the pre-reading phrase.
    -re-read all class notes on the day of+write down what you don't understand
    -re-read all notes at the end of every week (ALL the notes since you started the semester, at the end of EVERY week, this may seem tedious and long, but it is necessary and it goes fast, and faster every time you do it, as you'd be skimming for the most part)
    -do all assignments, tutorial activities, lab activities as SOON as you can, if you can finish an activity before attending the tutorial/lab, do it! Either way, your tutorial readings/lab readings are done BEFORE CLASS, and you should know exactly what you're doing that day before attending that specific class.
    -study for exams 2 weeks ahead

    You do all this, and by the time mid-terms/finals come around, you are already prepared for them and is ready to work on the practice exams+review what you did not understand from it. You'd likely want to reviews all your notes again here, but it's a matter of hours or a couple of days, not weeks like your fellow classmate. The best part is you'll almost never be stressed for time or cramming like an idiot. Know that memory comes by repetition, even better try to understand the materials, don't memorize it, try to only memorize tedious things, like a formula or dates, etc. For the most part, I try to be one week ahead of the class when the semester start, this means WEEK 1 + 2 readings DONE before the end of the first week of class. By week 2, I'll reading for week 3. By week 3, I'll be reading for week 4, etc. This way I'm always on top of my study (note, only week 1 is hard to get by, but totally worth it). 

    Now stop wasting your time on TALKSFU and go make use of your time, only first year students and tutors (I'm one of them ;)) go fishing around on here LOL.
    Good luck OP!
  • You will be fine, just take a deep breath and organize yourself. I agree that sticking to a schedule totally helps! I stick post it notes on a board to help me stay on track with all the assignments etc. I also use Khan Academy online which has totally helped me..
  • @MacBuOp LOL thanks for your advice! I really appreciate it. And if you don't mind, can you give me some clarification on academic probation? Like, under what circumstances am I going to be required to withdraw? I know for sure I'm gonna try to get my sht together next sem but as of now, my ass can't be saved because I'm actually doing so bad lol
  • Also, Student Learning Commons has lots of info, and workshops too, son studying etc.:

Leave a Comment