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Struggling with college/Need Advice

pleasehelpNYpleasehelpNY Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
edited September 2012 in College Life
I am struggling to push myself through college. I'm at the point where if I don't succeed this time I am going to have give up and admit that school is not what I should be doing.

I left for college to study music composition for film when I was 17 years old. I had an impressive SAT score, excellent grades in all AP courses, and a long list of extracurricular activities that made my applications really standout. I had no problem getting into school, and was even awarded a substantial merit based scholarship, which I happily accepted, as the school that I was to attend would otherwise be way out of my price range.

I am now 22 years old and still 45 credits shy of my BA. When I was away at school I became overwhelmed and was unable to organize my life in a way that would allow me to succeed in my studies. The increased pressures coming from me in every direction caused me extreme anxiety, and I ended up retreating, neglecting my studies, and focusing instead solely on scoring student films. I would justify this by telling myself that "this is what I came to school for" and "this is the type of thing I SHOULD be learning anyway". Halfway through each semester I would get to this point and would stop attending my classes one by one. I would even stop leaving my dorm room altogether, hiding in there for weeks at a time, only ever leaving to buy food. I soon lost my scholarship and was forced to take out huge loans, some of which, I am not proud to admit, I had my mother co-sign for me.

After several years of this it was time to throw in the towel. I returned home and transferred to an online school. My mother brought me to a series of psychologists. I was soon diagnosed with frontal alpha ADHD coupled with Avoidance Personality Disorder and Addictive Personality Disorder, all of which culminated into a deep depression. The reason that these issues had failed to be recognized in high school was that I was more easily able to compensate for them, being of higher than average intelligence, however with the additional effort required at the university level it hit all at once, and I went a little insane.

Fast forward to today where I am living at home, enrolled in a full time course load, working a full forty hours a week, and regularly seeing my psychologist, receiving neurofeedback therapy. I have made good progress according to my psychologist, but am currently in a crisis. Working a full time job and attempting a full time course load has been exhausting, and I have fallen behind on several occasions throughout the semester. I am registered with the disabilities department at my school and have communicated this to my professors, who have graciously granted me extended time on my work in the past, however I feel that I may have exhausted the last of their patience.

It is the second to last day of the semester and I have finished all of my classes except for two that I have fallen extremely far behind in. I have not communicated with these professors whatsoever for about a month now, and there is no realistic way for me to finish these assignments before the end of the semester. I am ashamed for not communicating with them, and afraid of the possibility of them simply not accepting my work. I recognize that I need to e-mail them in order to discuss my options, however I can't seem to bring myself to do it. I discussed this with my psychologist, and he seemed to have faith that I would be able to do it, but I'm not so sure, as two days have gone by since our last session together, and I still haven't done it.

What I would like is some insight or advice from somebody who has been in a similar situation before. I desperately need to finish this semester completely, otherwise I fear that my parents are going to kick me out of the house, which I can understand and accept, however with all of this student loan debt I don't know what I will do. I am especially interested in what you feel the likelihood of the professors accepting my plea is and what I should do to better my chances.

I know that was a lot of text, but I felt that the background information was important. Thank you.
Post edited by pleasehelpNY on

Replies to: Struggling with college/Need Advice

  • CalDudCalDud Registered User Posts: 1,727 Senior Member
    I don't know of anyone really who has been in the exact same situation as you. My eventual brother-in-law will have been at four colleges this fall. He had a perfect SAT score and failed out of his first university. He failed out a second time as well at a university nearby. He then went to a technical school (for something like three years) to become a medical assistant, but that job doesn't pay very well. He's now enrolled in online classes at UofL and doing okay, I think.

    He had the same kind of mentality as you by "this is what I came to school for" thing and neglected the rest of his work. He's been to a psychologist that actually said he was too difficult for her.

    Honestly, I think it's only a handful of people who can handle a full course-load and work at the same time. However, you have to know your limits and get better at planning your classes because if you're working 40+ hours a week and find that you cannot devote time to your classes you need to be responsible and drop them for a W. Maybe even ask for an Incomplete.

    I don't know why you waited this long to do anything about your courses. You must e-mail your professors to discuss your options because if you simply don't act on it...you don't have a voice or any amount of control over the situation. It does kind of seem like you're out of luck right now but who knows. But you will be if you don't write an e-mail that takes 1 minute to do.

    In the future, be more responsible and drop the classes if you cannot put the effort and time into them. It is not worth keeping them on because they will only drag your grades down. If you can afford it, go part-time instead of full-time.

    School is not really hard to get through. You just have to give all of your classes the attention they need. You have to take what you can handle. Some people can handle 30 units a semester, but I find 16 hard to handle enough as it is. 12 is much more manageable and that may be what you need to consider doing. Take less classes that you absolutely have the time to give to and not make excuses anymore.

    But yeah, it seems pretty simple what you need to do here.

    Contact your professors. If you don't, you've already given up. I know college isn't for everyone, but it seriously just seems like you have horrible time management skills and need to know your limits.
  • pleasehelpNYpleasehelpNY Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Thank you for your reply. I ended up writing them each an e-mail last night, detailing the events that lead to my getting so behind. They've yet to respond, but somehow I already feel better about the whole thing.

    You are definitely right when you say I have to know my limits and manage my time better. Those are definitely huge factors in why I keep ending up like this. It's just that I know that I am smart enough to do the work, and even do it very well, so when I look at how far behind I am I become anxious and fabricate this unrealistic expectation of what I can accomplish as sort of a coping mechanism. Unfortunately, I often cannot recognize it as such until it is too late.

    I've already enrolled for another 16 credits next semester, but after this one, I am reconsidering. Finishing school is my number one priority, so if anything I am going to talk to my job about switching to part time, and if that doesn't work out I'll have to quit and find another.

    Now begins the problem of talking about this with my parents. They already know that I was extremely behind, but I hadn't let on to them that I didn't think I could finish yet. Hopefully by the end of the day I can force myself to do that as well.
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