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How do I tell my parents that I failed two classes this semester?

24

Replies to: How do I tell my parents that I failed two classes this semester?

  • SurpheSurphe 6 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9 New Member
    edited January 2015
    @calmom‌ I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case. Ive actually thought about that over the summer but thought I'd push through anyway. The class I got an A in is a level 2 theater history class. I have a particularly strong memory, so all I had to do was skim over the pages. And the writing was a piece of cake for me (I've been told by various teachers and professors that on a 5 point scale, I'm a 5 writer). The class I got a B in is a one-credit engineering lab class that I shouldve easily gotten an A in. And last semester, with little effort I got an A in philosophy. In fact, my struggle last semester was with calculus 1, but I managed to get a B in it. As for English this semester, again, since it was all writing, it was a piece of cake.
    The reason I was able to get a B in calculus last semester was because I had the time to sit down and study it. But given all that I went through this semester, I didn't have the motivation to do that. I had too many things going on my mind to sit down and study calc or chem like I did the previous semester. Even the few times when I tried, I would stare at the same page for hours and hours before giving up.
    edited January 2015
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  • colorado_momcolorado_mom 8818 replies78 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,896 Senior Member
    Whatever you do.... NO MORE LIES. I've had a kid that did many self-protecting coverup lies for academic disasters worse than yours. The failures were disappointing, but the lies made it so much worse.
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  • calmomcalmom 20394 replies166 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 20,560 Senior Member
    @Surphe -- I wonder if your social anxiety played somewhat into your choice of major? I mean, computer engineering seems like a good choice for an introvert -- but as you are overcoming your social anxiety, you might also find that career choices that require more interaction with other people might seem more attractive. For example, with your writing skills, you might consider journalism or communications. Or you might find that a business major is a better mix for your interests and abilities.

    My son also messed up early on in college-- but in hindsight that opened the door to other endeavors. So sometimes "failing" at something is simply one step in the process of learning more about yourself. If this setback results in your pursuing a major and future career that is better suited to your talents and which you find to be stimulating and rewarding -- then that's a much better long term outcome than spending another 3 years slogging through difficult subjects, only to find that your degree simply qualifies you for a job that you hate.

    You don't have to choose a major or career based on what you are good at right now, but I do think that it's an important factor to consider.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 83917 replies1003 discussionsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,920 Forum Champion
    Maybe the student should request a semester off from school in order to focus on figuring out any mental health issues (best done without the distraction of college).

    Between now and next Fall, a good therapist and physician may be able to determine the right therapy and Rx to relieve some issues.

    I would include the mention of the anxiety issues first, and then once they understand what you've been going thru, tell them that it has severely affected your grades. They'll be more prepared to understand and accept the situation that way.
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  • phoenixmomof2phoenixmomof2 671 replies10 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 681 Member
    The failing grades are only a symptom of a deeper issue. It sounds like you have a significant anxiety disorder. These disorders are often exacerbated by new experiences or new environments. Your college must have a health center and a counselor you can contact. Such a person could help guide you through the conversation with your parents. It's important that you treat the bigger issue with counseling and possibly medication. Then fix the issues with course / major selection. As others have mentioned, in the end, these 2 failing grades will be in the past.

    Keep in mind that there are triggers for some anxiety disorders: moving away for college, breakups, new jobs, etc. Get a handle on your mental health! You CAN overcome this. Know that you are NOT alone. You may never be an extrovert, but you may find yourself more comfortable in public.

    Heal yourself! (I also like the idea of a semester break to get your mental health in order)
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  • cobratcobrat 12207 replies78 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,285 Senior Member
    If OP's attending CCNY, he/she's likely to be a city resident or someone who lives nearby considering the demographic of most students attending CUNY schools. Thus, it's very possible CCNY IS a hometown college for him/her.

    To OP,

    Out of curiosity, how strong was your learning experience(NOT GRADE) from Calculus 1 and prior math courses?

    Do you think that might have factored into the outcome this semester alongside the socialization and inability to prioritize academics/studying?

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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 83917 replies1003 discussionsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,920 Forum Champion
    <<<
    Keep in mind that there are triggers for some anxiety disorders: moving away for college, breakups, new jobs, etc. Get a handle on your mental health! You CAN overcome this. Know that you are NOT alone. You may never be an extrovert, but you may find yourself more comfortable in public.
    >>>


    Exactly. BIL found this to be true when he started his first "real job". He was fine in college and grad school (for some reason...maybe because he was the "keep to myself" type?), but the stress/unknown of a "new job" proved to be too much (maybe because it involved more "unknown" and more "teamwork"?) He has a serious social anxiety disorder, but has never sought any kind of treatment - which is unfortunate. I think that there are several meds that can make a serious difference.

    I think that is why sometimes it's hard to uncover some of these issues. A person may be fine doing certain things that to others would be stressful, but then have anxiety issues over something that may "seem" to be less stressful.
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  • NewHavenCTmomNewHavenCTmom 1971 replies57 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,028 Senior Member
    @bjkmom‌

    Great idea. They need to be told. And then you can move on. Trust us! You will feel so much better. And have a plan in place. It will show that you are thinking ahead! They will respect and appreciate that!! Good luck.
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  • SurpheSurphe 6 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9 New Member
    edited January 2015
    @cobrat‌ Well NYC is my hometown, but my family moved away last year due to my dad's work so I'm currently living on my own (hence the "my dad pays my rent" part). I go and visit them in the summer, and occasionally my dad stops by for a few days (he should be coming to stay with me for a few days in about two weeks).

    As for learning experience, I never understood math but like I said, I have an exceptionally well memory. The reason I managed to pull off a B in calc 1 wasn't because I understood it but because I looked at a bunch of old tests and memorized the problems and solved them over and over and over. And it was the same with Algebra, Geometry, and Trig in high school. In fact, I was in a trig honors class but I always felt like a dumba*s compared to the other students when they spoke about the problems with so much passion and understanding while I was just sitting there memorizing the material because I gave up on trying to understand it. And I even went on to AP calc in high school but after two months, I realized that no matter how hard I tried I simply couldn't get it so I dropped the class because I was a straight A student and didn't want it to affect my transcript. I just assumed that I wasn't ready for I'd be ready for it in college when I take it again.

    The only reason I wasn't able to do the same this semester is because calculus isn't something I could quickly skim read and memorize like I did with the easier classes. I have to actually sit down and carefully read all parts of the problem and memorize it.
    edited January 2015
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  • SurpheSurphe 6 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9 New Member
    I don't think my learning exprrience from previous math classes had much of an effect on what happened this semester, however. I know if I were in the right state of mind, I would've been able to sit down and memorize and solve old problems in chem and calc and manage to pull at least a B.
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  • calmomcalmom 20394 replies166 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 20,560 Senior Member
    Surphe -- memorization isn't going to get you through calc and chemistry, and it won't help you all with more difficult courses. How did you end up with a computer engineering major? (Assuming that is your major, from your earlier post in another thread).

    You won't do well with any sort of engineering track if memorization is your basic strategy -- sooner or later you are going to be presented with assignments that expect you to apply your conceptual understanding to new problems or projects.

    I'm guessing that you either chose your major because of parental pressure or else because you perceive job and earning prospects to be better with an engineering major -- but the problem is, the job/earning numbers reflect the outcomes from successful students who have a knack for math and engineering.

    I think it's time for you to sit down and browse through the offerings at CCNY -- you are lucky, CCNY offers a lot to choose from! And it is much better for you to change majors now, during your first year, when there is still plenty of time to catch up with any prerequisites for different majors.

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  • Much2learnMuch2learn 4607 replies167 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,774 Senior Member
    @‌ Surphe Since you are not living with your parents, I would call them and discuss it now, instead of waiting until your father comes to visit.

    If you find it easier to speak with your mother, I would call her when you anticipate that your father is not home, and speak with her first. Then you could discuss with her the best way to deal with your father.

    The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to tell them. The sooner you do it, the sooner you will feel better.
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  • MidwestDad3MidwestDad3 2172 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,186 Senior Member
    Many parents would be disappointed, and frustrated that they weren't in the loop on this. But after the frustration/anger subsides, most parents would want two things: 1) to know that you are okay; and 2) to hear what your plan is to succeed.

    So, visit the health service and see if they can rule out an anxiety disorder. If not, get treatment for it. If they find that you have social phobia, get therapy for it.

    To succeed academically, you've got to manage your social life effectively. That means setting limits on yourself, and having the discipline to abide by those limits. It means keeping your parents in the loop. Speak to your professors early in the semester, tell them about your challenges first semester, and tell them you are going to do what it takes to have a successful spring semester. Most campuses have resources to assist students with their academics. Utilize those resources early. Consider using a tutor. You appropriately recognize that the math strategies you used in h.s. don't work in college. So get the necessary help to find what works.
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