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Not doing well in my classes, can't study properly, don't know what subject I'm best at

SkyNova20SkyNova20 15 replies5 threads Junior Member
I've been at college for a year and a half-semester (first part of this semester) and I still can't do anything properly. My exams have been very low this semester. I keep studying and studying but then I get easily lost and unfocused and then I stop studying. I always do the homework/readings assigned but I end up not reading the entire readings because they're so unnecessarily long. I haven't skipped class once since I started college because I have no clue what's going on outside college. I took a lighter coursework/workload this semester and I keep doing worse in my classes, not better. Some of the questions in the exams are irrelevant to what we've learned, despite me trying to study exactly everything we've learned so far. I can't drop one of my classes because I won't be full-time during this part of the semester, if that happens. Even if I try to think "positively", I can't get anything out of studying. I went to all of my professors' office hours, sometimes I can't understand what the professors are exactly saying, sometimes the advice they give me isn't helpful/beneficial for me, sometimes they ask me "what can you do in order to do well in your next exam?", etc. I also went to counseling services just as an alternative option and I can't trust anything they say at all. Everything I tell to them is irrelevant to my situation. I have an appointment next week and I don't know what to tell to the counselor. Sometimes I wait to start on things the day they are due. Nothing motivates me to do before, even if I'm given plenty of advice. I have a semester left before I even declare a major and everything I've taken so far doesn't appeal to me. I can't think of an easy class I had in a year and a half-semester. My advisor tells me to go to career services, the career advisor tells me to go to counseling services, the counselor/professional tells me irrelevant stuff. I don't know why this cycle happens. Ever since I started college, I always wanted to go home. Every time I try to work on something, I always feel like I'm behind on my classes. I have no clue what's going anymore.
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Replies to: Not doing well in my classes, can't study properly, don't know what subject I'm best at

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7858 replies66 threads Senior Member
    This jumped out at me: "I get easily lost and unfocused and then I stop studying."

    Have you ever been diagnosed with ADD?
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1846 replies27 threads Senior Member
    Whew! As I read your post, it is packed with a lot of information.

    For whatever it's worth, I will respond that my first reaction is that you need to get organized. I venture to guess you aren't especially organized and your first problem is time management. That is a specific skill you can work on and something you could speak to the counselor about.

    Your post does imply that perhaps ADD is an issue. If so, there are strategies and possibly even medication that can help you if you get a diagnosis.

    I think you need to take a deep breath and start with your counselor meeting. Perhaps you could show him/her this post as a place to start.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5982 replies10 threads Senior Member
    Definitely talk to a counselor. They may refer you to someone to see if you have ADHD (even if you have no H, that's what it's called!) Sometimes meds can help.

    But know, even with a diagnosis and meds, it'll still be up to you to come up with a strategy that works for you, so talk to the counselor about that. You will need to block out your days and do your work in little pieces. You'll need to figure out when you are most alert and tackle certain tasks then. (You can Google and find some helpful lists.) Find a place to study with no distractions (wear headphones, turn off your phone, etc)

    You might want to consider taking a semester off and doing an internship or working to see if something appeals to you.

    Pay attention to what interests or excites you.

    But yes, enlist help in working through this! You can do it.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9524 replies511 threads Senior Member
    Honestly, you do sound as if you have some kind of attention deficit disorder. This whole long, rambling post could be summed up as “I can’t focus.” But why wouldn’t you trust the counselor? They are there to help you. Let him or her read this post and ask what they suggest you do.

    I strongly encourage you to see a doctor, describe your symptoms and ask if ADD or ADHD is likely.

    What organizational tools are you using? Do you have a planner? If not, get one. Plan out the entire day. Plan out days and times that you will study. Get a timer, set it for 45 minutes, and study until it goes off. Then take a break and do it again. Stick to a schedule.

    Getting your degree in anything, even if you aren’t 100% sure it’s the best option, is better than not getting a degree. Leaving college can be a slippery slope. It might be very difficult to motivate yourself to go back. Just declare a major in something, even if it only mildly interests you.

    Your disinterest in everything also hints at potential indicators of depression. Please keep seeing the counselor.
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  • MWolfMWolf 1805 replies13 threads Senior Member
    You also write "I took a lighter coursework/workload this semester and I keep doing worse in my classes, not better. " So I would second @momofsenior1's suggestion that you have somebody test you for ADD/ADHD. People who deal with attention deficit disorders are very often not helped by a reduction in their work load.

    Almost everything in your post screams "ADD" to me:

    "I keep studying and studying but then I get easily lost and unfocused and then I stop studying."

    "I always do the homework/readings assigned but I end up not reading the entire readings because they're so unnecessarily long."

    "Even if I try to think "positively", I can't get anything out of studying."

    The problem for people suffering from ADD/AHDH is that "working through it", "Focusing more", "working harder", don't actually help. There are a set of behaviors that do help people with ADD or ADHD cope with the rest of the world, though, but you need somebody who can help you find the right ones.

    Most people who suffer from moderate ADD/ADHD do not need to be medicated, but do need to develop a set of behaviors to deal with the disorder.

    So I would see a therapist who knows how to identify adult ADD/ADHD, and rule that out before anything else.
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  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 475 replies1 threads Member
    "Executive function" skills- check if Disability Services/Learning Support Office has tutors or coaches. Even a friend, or a peer tutor to study with and keep on task to completion can help.
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  • SkyNova20SkyNova20 15 replies5 threads Junior Member
    @momofsenior1 No, I never was diagnosed with anything before. I never went to a professional regarding disabilities and mental health.

    @Empireapple I'm very disorganized and usually leave things 2-3 days before or during the day they are due. I'm aware of the due dates but I never manage to get things done earlier than the due date. I don't know why but I'm just very slow with things. Or maybe mentally slow, I don't know. My issue was always beginning the assignment, not knowing what topic to choose and what details to write about the topic. I also think my lack of interest at college and not knowing what to major in is what hindering from not managing my time as properly.

    I also went to a counselor mainly for not knowing what to do in life rather than issues with studying and time management but I may talk with the counselor about that.

    @gardenstategal I might even drop out once I'm done with my sophomore year since I can't find something I want to major in. I don't really have any headphones, my phone is off during college because my phone battery is usually low or 0% and I don't feel like charging my phone during college. My house is usually a distracting place to study even if nobody is there. As for the library, I go to the third and fourth floors (the more quiet floors), but I always wanted to find space where nobody is there or spaces next to people. I have no plans for internships or working. Nobody is accepting me for jobs. I've applied to around 15-20 jobs and can't get into a single one. I've been searching jobs for 2 years now and have been taking a break from that since September. I'm also not someone who gets excited for no reason unlike the majority of the world.

    @Lindagaf I use my folders and notebooks as organizational tools. I'm not really into planners since I always know when the due dates. Even if use a planner and write down everything I want to write down, I will easily forget about my plans inside the planner. If I were to go to a doctor, I have to tell my family members to drive me there, since I can't drive at all. I want to keep everything private from them, but I can't if I were to do this. I don't know what I REALLY want to major in, I have no clue at all. I also think my lack of interest at college is what hindering from not studying as properly.

    @MWolf That's the issue I'm having. People will be giving me plenty of advice and nothing goes from there. I'm not sure how therapists/counselors are really going to help me with this situation, with medications or not. I'm also not sure how medications are going to be any beneficial.

    @Hippobirdy I don't have any friends to talk to. That's because I just don't like talking to people. I don't know how to talk to people until I know them better (and that's a rarity plus that rarity will go away once I don't see them again). I just had a presentation yesterday about a project I did on my own, even though it was supposed to be a group project between 3-5 people. I kept mumbling, talking very slow with a low tone and also interrupted my speech at times, to the point where the whole presentation became boring to the class. I've had group projects before but I've often been isolated by my group members.
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  • MWolfMWolf 1805 replies13 threads Senior Member
    @SkyNova20 There are many behavioral modifications which can make functioning with ADD much more effective.

    You don't need a therapist to explain to you how to emotionally/mentally deal with it. You need somebody who will help you develop behavior patterns that work with or around your ADD, rather than try and force you to "cure" your ADD by working harder. You need somebody who will work with you to find the strategies that work for you.

    You would be surprised how much more you will be able to do if you have the right strategies.

    If you indeed have adult ADD, your difficulties in studying are not due to something wrong with you, it's simply a mismatch between what you need to do to study, and what you are actually doing.

    If the worst case scenario, ADD medication may help.

    ADD/ADHD runs throughout my family. I have ADD, like my mother, and my younger brother has ADHD, as does his daughter and my older brother's daughter.

    It's manageable, and there are many workarounds.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9524 replies511 threads Senior Member
    edited November 15
    So how is keeping this from your family going to help you?

    I’m hearing a lot of excuses. I assume you posted here to get advice, so consider what might be do-able and be proactive. Doing nothing is a bad idea.
    edited November 15
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  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 475 replies1 threads Member
    If you haven't had an annual physical check-up, consider that- check your iron and thyroid since you seem low energy. In meantime walk or exercise more to elevate your mood before you start to study.
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  • PrdMomto1PrdMomto1 230 replies5 threads Junior Member
    I agree with much of the advice above. I would let your counselor know the way you are feeling (about school work, friends, dropping out, etc.) and the issues you are having getting motivated, staying motivated, and staying focused. If it would be easier, just show them this thread. I can't tell if you are having issues with ADHD or depression or maybe both. You deserve to be happy.

    I would also highly consider confiding in a family member.
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