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I'm giving up on college...

umcp11umcp11 Registered User Posts: 1,321 Senior Member
edited November 2009 in Parents Forum
Parents -

I am doing abysmally in college, failing to complete assignments and edging into my junior year with a 2.5.

I really dislike partying and whatnot so it's not an issue of socializing too much or drinking or drugs (in fact I am quite shy and tend to avoid that scene at all costs)...I just CAN'T seem to concentrate on my work. If I have a paper to do, I'll use the internet, I'll daydream, heck, if nothing else, I'll stare at the blank page for hours.

If you look at last Spring's grades, I had A-B-C-D-W (W=drop past deadline, equates to essentially a bit better than an F). The summer before that, I took 2 classes and received 1 A and 1 F. I just can't seem to achieve any kind of consistency.

This past summer I got 2 As and I was doing well in my classes for the first couple months this Fall, too. I thought things were finally looking up. But now I have dropped 1 class and failed to complete two papers, worth 30% of my grade together. I feel like the hope I had that I had changed things is smashed.

How can I be capable of such a range of performance? Every semester I think things will get better. I see a counselor, or I think of goals, or work on improving my study habits. But every semester things fall apart again and I can't seem to function on even the most basic level.

I have worked full time for the past two summers doing hard labor/repetitive tasks and I know that's not what I want with my life. I go into every semester fresh and try to see good things happening with my life, but I feel like I've tried everything. I want more but it always seems out of my grasp.

What can I do?
Post edited by umcp11 on

Replies to: I'm giving up on college...

  • OaksMomOaksMom Registered User Posts: 615 Member
    It's time for you to get into your counseling office. You sound depressed and unfocused to me. Perhaps you need some meds to help you to concentrate? Please make an appt to talk to someone today. You have so much to gain and so little to lose. Good luck!
  • PinotNoirPinotNoir Registered User Posts: 2,554 Senior Member
    You need to read some information about the link between perfectionism and procrastination. A lot of people who function as you describe are absolutely sure they aren't perfectionists, but if you read some books about the link between the two, you might start to recognize the tendency in yourself. Good luck, and keep plugging away!
  • eddieodessaeddieodessa Registered User Posts: 1,726 Senior Member
    You might have ADD. Best to go and get some testing done.
  • stringkeymomstringkeymom Registered User Posts: 457 Member
    Please don't give up on yourself or on college. It's hard to be certain of what is going with your academic performance without knowing more details. Are there certain subjects that are more your speed than others? Are there writing or other issues? Might you have underlying health issues affecting your ability to concentrate (anything from a sleep disorder to vitamin deficiency) Are all of your A's in one subject area? The fact that you can pull A's should encourage you.

    Most importantly, there are resources on campus, if you feel comfortable availing yourself of them. There should be deans and counselors to choose from, with whom you could discuss your frustrations. If there is someone you feel comfortable talking to, I would take in a copy of your transcript and current grade average at midterm and describe what you've written here.

    You are worth making the effort so please hang in there a bit longer. You can decide to leave if you like, but please "give it the old college try" first and see if you can get some support and direction to turn things around.
  • ebeeeeeebeeeee Registered User Posts: 5,199 Senior Member
    Agree with everyone else. Get yourself to your campus counseling center right away. You need to use the resources on your campus. They want you to succeed and so do we.
  • SmithieandProudSmithieandProud Registered User Posts: 3,038 Senior Member
    Part of the problem might be waiting too long to seek help. You really need to be talking to Dean's and counselors and seeking tutoring as soon as you feel your study skills starting to slip, not wait until you've missed or failed one, two, three tests and/or papers. Also, have you considered that maybe you aren't motivated by the material you're studying and tried to re-evaluate if you're in the right program or major? Why did you choose where you are?

    Also, try to cut yourself off from distractions when you have work to do, and set reasonable time limits. Like, "I'm going to the library for one hour and then I can take a 15 minute facebook break". Sometimes finding the right place to work and study where you aren't easily distracted by tv, internet, video games, or friends is the key.
  • glidoglido Registered User Posts: 5,702 Senior Member
    Get off the Internet (CC) and get back to work.
  • starbrightstarbright Registered User Posts: 4,660 Senior Member
    I agree with the above posters. I also want to add that it can be really hard for some people to be motivated to study subjects that aren't intrinsically interesting to them. They can excel in courses and are driven to succeed by learning about things that excite them, but they can't bring themselves to study just for the grade in an area that doesn't turn them on. Do you enjoy what you are learning? Do you do like some courses more than others and does that play a role in your motivation? Could you be in the wrong major for you?
  • kantianethicistkantianethicist Registered User Posts: 134 Junior Member
    If you really wanted to give up you wouldn't be posting this.

    You obviously want help.

    A 2.5 isn't failing but it's certainly not good either in light of your feelings.

    Where are you? U Maryland? Maybe the atmosphere just isn't for you.

    Maybe you need a leave of absence to find your passion?

    Lots of kids go to school and don't know what they want...maybe you haven't discovered what you want yet and that is confusing you?

    Have you spoken to any counselors or advisers on your campus? You should. You can't be expected to find yourself without some guidance.

    Have you discussed this with your parents? You should.

    Don't give up until you have explored every avenue. Let us know here how we can be of more help to you.
  • mousegraymousegray Registered User Posts: 1,642 Senior Member
    It sounds like you might be depressed. It might be the underlying problem or it might be caused by your inability to focus. Are there certain subjects you are doing consistently poorly in, is there a pattern there? (Is it subject based?) It sounds like you have good intentions but end up with bad results and you need to talk to a therapist to get to the root of why this keeps happening to you. Are you sabotaging yourself, and if so why? Maybe you don't feel like you deserve to succeed, or maybe you are afraid of failure.
    Obviously, this is all conjecture on my part and that's why it's important for you to go see someone regularly so that you can be more aware of why these things are happening. (It could be some other problem like ADD in which case a therapist can guide you in how to get evaluated. Even so, you need help in changing your behavior patterns.)
  • LilyMoonLilyMoon Registered User Posts: 1,832 Senior Member
    It sounds like you need to help yourself keep focused. You start off strong and then let procrastination get the best of you. Does your school have free tutoring available? Do you have people in your classes you can arrange to study with? You need to set up a schedule you will stick to. Maybe if you have outside people waiting for you like a tutor (free or paid) and people at the library who you are meeting, you will be able to keep up your motivation to get your work done. It sounds like you need more of a system or schedule in place.
  • dbwesdbwes Registered User Posts: 1,660 Senior Member
    In the courses that you have failed or struggled with, is it usually a paper that is your downfall? I used to be a writing tutor as an undergrad, and it is not uncommon for kids to procrastinate or do anything else to avoid writing. It is a form of perfectionism; or sometimes it is an inability to focus a topic -- your ideas are so big, you want to write about something really important, and naturally all that flags and falters when it comes to the actual writing. I knew people in college who had 8 or 9 incompletes, and it was all about getting papers done.
    You need to work closely and regularly with someone in your writing center if this is the case.
  • umcp11umcp11 Registered User Posts: 1,321 Senior Member
    It is a problem with writing papers, definitely. Sometimes I can force myself to do it - I've whipped up 8 page papers an hour before class and usually score in the 90s - but other times it feels absolutely impossible and I just don't turn it in at all. I tend to miss other classes because I am "working on a paper" so it affects everything...

    It's frustrating because this is what I'm good at. Devoured books when I was young, began writing short stories at a very early age, then was always acing classes and tests in HS all the way up until my two 5s on AP lang and lit and 3 consecutive 800s on the verbal section of the SAT. I was never a math person, so I went into college thinking English and History were the way to go. I feel like if I can't do English, then what /can/ I do?

    It doesn't help that the job prospects for a 2.5 English/History major aren't that great, either! (Job prospects for 3.5 English majors aren't that great...hah).

    Although over the summer I pulled 2 As in English classes, I do well in classes like economics - big lecture hall, teach yourself from the book, 2 big tests determine your grade. I tend to do horribly in participation-based classes or classes with a lot of papers (read: English/History!)

    Sometimes I feel like I should go back and do business or economics, despite how I struggle with math, because at least I know how to get help for that. Study groups for English papers is pretty much unheard of here :P. Plus, I'd just lose focus during them anyway.
  • kantianethicistkantianethicist Registered User Posts: 134 Junior Member
    So, you have an issue with procrastination? Time management? And, maybe perfectionism, too? You probably had some high expectations for yourself based on HS performance-5's and 800's.

    I knew a girl in college like that. English major. She was talented and bright, but could never finish her papers. Incompletes every semester right up until graduation. And, then she'd get marked down for being late and end up with C+'s. Sad. I thought she had some sort of fear of failure--of never being good enough.

    You talk a lot about losing focus..what happens when you lose focus? What do you do then? What do you think about?

    Also, are there no writing tutors there? Don't most schools have some sort of writing center?

    I think you might need to re-evaluate your work style and think about how you truly feel. Know there's no such thing as perfect and maybe explore the concept of good enough.

    Don't give up on yourself. You need to talk to someone there and your parents, too. Broken record...
  • califacalifa Registered User Posts: 329 Member
    Agree with everyone else who's posted. You sound like you could be depressed, and ADD is definitely a possibility (you're not too old to get diagnosed. One of my friends got her diagnosis in her forties; she has ADD without the hyperactivity, and the distractable type without hyperactivity is often missed).

    Definitely go to the college counseling office. In addition to helping you with the issues you're facing, they can also help salvage the grades in the courses for which you haven't turned in the papers. Extensions on papers are routinely granted for both physical illnesses and mental/emotional problems, and depression or ADD definitely counts.

    Best of luck to you. Don't give up.
This discussion has been closed.