Spring semester transition difficult for underclassmen

After concluding the fall semester and having three weeks off from school, Florida A&M University students are back on the Hill facing the challenge of transitioning into the spring semester.

Dennis Davis, 20, said he is confident he will make a smooth transition into the spring semester. Davis is a junior pharmacy student from Spartanburg, S.C.

“I feel pretty good,” Davis said. “(Spring) semester is going to be a good semester.”

Some people in the university said they believe the academic performance of students tends to decrease during the spring semester, but Davis disagrees with that notion.

“I think people, especially freshmen, got a taste of what to expect, so they’re going to come back and be ready to get the job done,” Davis said.

But Rick Campbell, an English professor, said he believes that underclassman grades tend to drop, while upperclassman grades improve during the spring semester.

“Freshmen in their second semester either lose some of their initial excitement so that by the spring semester, they think they know what to do,” Campbell said.

Campbell continued to explain his theory for the decline of second-semester freshmen academic performance.

“(Freshmen) are a little more into partying and starting to pledge. They tend to not show up in classes as early and as often as they should. I think there are more distractions for a second semester freshman,” Campbell said.

Campbell, a FAMU professor since 1985, said that based on the performances of the students he has taught during the past 22 years, upperclassman essentially show no difference in their grades between the fall and spring semesters.

In some cases, he said upperclassman tend to excel more during the spring semester.

“It seems that students tend to have trouble recovering from Thanksgiving and homecoming,” Campbell said.

“The homecoming starts the maximum distraction, and the return from Thanksgiving is so near to the end of the semester that they don’t recover.”

Wesley Wren, a 23-year-old junior education student from Miami, said he was academically unsuccessful during the fall semester.

“I didn’t study at all,” he said. Wren, who said his study skills were “horrible” last semester, has not bothered to check his fall semester grades. He is currently trying to enroll for the spring semester.

“It’s another semester,” Wren said nonchalantly, adding he would go into this semester the same as he has in previous semesters.

Ferrell Drew, 21, a fourth-year business administration student from Dallas, said spring extracurricular activities play a vital role in a student’s semester success rate.

“During the spring semester there are a lot of activities such as pledging and elections that demand a lot of time,” Drew said. “Students who are not focused on their class work will probably end up failing in a class or (see) their grades going down.”

Ifeakandu Okoye, a FAMU economics professor, said the individual student determines grades.

“Some people can be physically present, but they are not there to study. Some students will come in today, and will not be seen for the next two weeks,” Okoye said.

“As long as the teacher explains the material totally to the student, students are the ones who grade themselves,” he said.