Next semester will be different

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Illustration by Momo Lin

Well it looks like you made it,
you’re almost all of the way through.
Another semester under your belt,
your parents couldn’t be prouder of you.

All finals are done,
the last paper handed in.
It’s time to celebrate,
with a double tonic and gin.

But the last few months weren’t your best,
your GPA harder to preserve.
Your grades might have dipped a bit,
thank goodness for the curve.

It’s not your fault this happened,
you took too many classes.
And it probably didn’t help,
that half of your TAs were asses.

“They really weren’t fair,”
you complain to your friend.
“I think my ideas were just,
too insightful to comprehend.”

All that’s behind you though,
you’ll do better next time.
You make a pledge to yourself,
completely in rhyme.

Next semester will be different,
you make the promise loud and clear.
I’ll stay in on weekends,
I’ll drink half as much beer.

It’s society’s fault, really,
for making you this way.
Social norms compel you,
to party each Friday.

Next semester will be different,
you make a note to yourself.
I’ll use the textbooks for more,
than just sitting on a shelf.

I’ll do all of the readings,
the recommended ones too.
Maybe then exam questions,
won’t feel so out of the blue.

Next semester will be different,
said enough and it might come true.
There has to be a way to bounce back,
or else your GPA will hit a low two.

Perhaps taking better notes,
will lead to higher marks, I’m assuming.
Or at least stop filling the margins,
with all of your amatuer cartooning.

Next semester will be different,
there won’t be a problem in sight.
Between work, friends, and school,
you’ll get the balance right.

Maybe you’ll even have enough time,
to get back into hobbies you miss.
Like music or rock climbing,
not just exploring the Internet abyss.

Next semester will be different,
or at least you think it might be.
Hoping is great,
but there’s no guarantee.

What if the classes get harder?
What if there’s even more homework?
What if you run out of money?
What if things just go berserk?

Life can get overwhelming,
sometimes it sneaks up on you.
The semester just ended,
but there’s already stuff you can do.

Like scholarships and bursaries,
you’ll have to apply early.
And scoping out classes,
preferably not ones in Surrey.

And have you thought about graduation?
It’s not as far off as you might think.
And have you fulfilled your
breadth courses?

Your spirits slowly do sink.
It probably wouldn’t hurt,
to start readings for next semester.
‘Cause if your grades dip too low,
your scholarship they’ll sequester.

Suddenly the stresses you thought were gone,
come rushing back all at once.
If you don’t succeed in life right now,
your family will think you a dunce.

You don’t know how you made it through last semester,
it truly was your worst.
Academia filling your head with knowledge,
‘til your cranial cavity’s prone to burst.

You needed citations for your citations,
a page just for your thesis.
You questioned all of your sanity,
and if you really needed this.

Hassle and bother,
anxiety and stress.
While you’re in school,
everything else is a mess.

Assignments, exams,
and those participation marks.
Student loan interest waiting,
like a pool full of sharks.

You skipped classes to do homework,
and fell even further behind.
As term papers loomed,
you felt even more confined.

“Wait, the essay’s due tomorrow?
I thought that was next week.”
Bought yourself 9,000 Red Bulls,
because technically we don’t need that much sleep.

Online discussions and labs,
and a list for extra reading?
Though it’s likely not literal,
your eyes feel like they’re bleeding.

Deadlines a-galore,
and marked absent if you’re late.
Waking nightmares are the worst ones,
they’re impossible to escape.

Group projects with 10 members,
each more absent-minded than the last.
You raise your hands in frustration,
and pray this too shall pass.

But. . . next semester will be different,
you really mean it this time.
Now’s the age to take on too much,
you’re still in your prime.

‘Cause as much as school’s hard,
and often difficult to manage.
When you finally have a degree,
then you’ll have all the advantage.

And if things don’t work out,
the world proves to be just too cruel.
You can always come back
and apply for grad school.