Dealing with not being smart anymore

<p>I haven't done too well on my first two econ quizzes. I feel like I'm drowning in my history class discussion because everyone around me is so eloquent and so well informed on background historical events. I have a lot of trouble reading complicated text. But I'm doing everything I'm supposed to do - I go to office hours, I do my homework diligently, I ask questions when I'm confused, I'm spending more time than ever on my classes, but I'm still getting incredibly discouraging results. My self esteem is dropping and I just feel like giving up. I don't know what to do. </p>

<p>Don’t give up! Since you were admitted, some very astute admissions people thought you could do it. Even without knowing you, I believe you can do it too. My kids all experienced the realization that studying and preparing for HS, no matter how advanced the classes, is not the same as college. </p>

<p>You seem to be doing many of the right things. It might be the quality of preparation, not the quantity. Do not stop going to class. Do not stop plugging! All the best to you.</p>

<p>Remember, that there are lifelines. You can get tutoring if you register for it NOW. It takes some time to get used to new styles of teaching and being tested. Also, if you can get together a study group, that can help too.</p>

<p>@girlincross, I am a parent of a freshman at Vandy. On the the Sunday after move-in Saturday, I attended the talk that was held to prepare parents for what was to come. One very important thing I came away with was when we were told to expect the results of the first few quizzes and tests to be bad and for our students to be very discouraged and question their intellectual ability. What you are going through is a very typical experience and all of those classmates of yours who seem so confident and informed in your history class are probably not as self-assured as they appear. There are plenty of other students in your Econ class who also did poorly in the quizzes. What you should always remember is that you earned your spot at Vandy by being intelligent and accomplished. You have as much right to be there as everyone of your classmates. These first few months will be an adjustment period for all of you. You will get the hang of it and thrive at Vandy. Do not give up. I remember having a hard time adjusting to the sheer volume of work my first few months in college and calling my father in tears. What he said to me has become my mantra for dealing with life’s challenges “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”</p>

<p>As you can tell from the comments above, your experience is very common among freshmen. The self-doubt can hit especially hard if you are the first in your family to go to college, are coming from a lower-income community or are an URM because sometimes those circumstances mean you don’t have close friends or college-educated family to serve as role models for this new experience so it isn’t as easy to quash the voice in your head that keeps telling you that you aren’t smart enough for Vandy and don’t really belong there. But such students do succeed at Vanderbilt. Whatever your background, the key is to seek help when you need it (which you are doing–keep doing it!). Although you feel overwhelmed now you will prevail in the end just like the students before you who faced the same self doubts and initially disappointing grades. Vanderbilt only admits students who they know, based on their enormous experience in evaluating high school students, will succeed. You belong at Vanderbilt. You will be another Vanderbilt success story. Just hang in there!</p>

<p>Just curious, but are you someone who just memorized everything in high school and got good grades that way, or did you dive behind the material to make connections, understand the bigger picture, and apply what you learned? If you primarily did the former, you may need to start doing more of the latter. Discover what really interests you, and make the connections. </p>

<p>If you’ve already had two econ quizzes, then it’s likely you will have numerous other quizzes where you have a chance at better grades, so don’t sweat what’s done (unless your advisor has suggested you drop the class). Tell your prof how you have been studying and see if he/she has any suggestions to improve the quality of your preparation. Get sleep, exercise, and good food whether you think you have time to do that or not; it makes a difference. </p>

<p>I didn’t go to Vanderbilt, but had a similar experience as a freshman. I kept reminding myself that 1) my U had admitted me, so they believed I could do the work and 2) this is what I wanted, to be challenged, to see what I could do. </p>

<p>It did get better. I figured out what was required and did well. </p>

<p>First, you are smart. You are going through the freshman adjustment to a rigorous work load and you are now surrounded with brilliant peers. Now it is frustrating. You will adjust your study habits and time management skills and adapt to your new environment. Talk to upperclassmen, they all went through the same thing. A high tide lifts all boats and your peers will lift you higher than you thought you were capable of going. When this happens you will gain confidence in yourself and your ability to tackle any course, test or problem. </p>

<p>My D seems to be struggling as well. Chemistry is a problem. She had taken honors chem in high school and didn’t feel like she learned much. She didn’t take AP Chem because it was a two period class and she couldn’t fit it into her schedule senior year due to an internship. Hopefully she will take advantage of the resources available to help students in need. She was near the top of her class in high school so this is all new to her. </p>

<p>“I thought I was smart and then I went to Vanderbilt”</p>

<p>My son (now a senior) heard and felt that a lot his freshman year. He went to an difficult HS, was a NMF, AP Scholar, tops in his class, etc, etc. He also struggled with many classes during his time at Vandy.</p>

<p>Just keep up the hard work.</p>

<p>If you are sleeping enough (often a stumbling block…those who do not get up at 8 and have breakfast and treat Vandy like a 9-5 job they could lose for poor performance are trying to do well in college with one hand behind their backs) and if you are passing with a C or above overall, I would suggest plodding on with tutors. Many a tear shed in engineering and hard science and math courses, many imperfect GPAs. But the rewards for facing up to quantitative learning challenges come later. However, don’t be too proud to face up to a huge stumble…(this may pertain to some of your classmates not you). Duke son went to his Academic Dean after getting mono, recovering and then rushing upteen frats instead of resting and getting weak again and somehow having a D in Calculus and got permission to drop the course (goodbye five thousand dollars). He retook it fall of sophomore year and earned his best performance best health grade of a B minus. Yes, shockers. He was a B student compared to his peers. Didn’t hurt him in the job market a bit except on Wall street recruitment interviews and we all know how 2008 went there anyway…his senior year. </p>

<p>Perspective is important…you are now in a long term game. Yes, you want to manage your GPA with intentional selection of some courses that play to your strengths. But being a B student overall in a pool of the top standardized test takers in the US is a triumph. And the strength that will take will only toughen you up for the work place and grad school. I am not saying you are a B student overall. Just that the thought of it should be acceptable unless you are gunning for law school or GPA only grad school paths.</p>

<p>Vandy son stumbled in a course that did play to his strengths or so he thought. Speech class at Vandy is actually very top drawer and challenging. His classmates included students from much better training than he ever had in debate and so on. One night he stayed up all night practicing a speech in an empty classroom (after spending the good hours of the evening attending fabulous events on campus…nationally known speakers etc)…and when he got to class he couldn’t remember any of his speech. </p>

<p>He also found it much harder than he thought it would be to identify rocks in Geology (this after graduating from a Governor’s School of Science). He didn’t study very hard for the rock test and got a 30% on it. Yes, he went to his Dean and dropped the class. He was underloaded. Which meant that our honors merit scholar was on academic probation. He went to summer school and knocked off a couple of courses on his parents dime. Summer school is expensive but there are students there doing “love is better the second time around” courses. As you likely know, when permitted and reviewed by the Dean, you can retake some courses. Both grades are on your transcript. This is for the person who doesn’t drop add in time. </p>

<p>Chin up. You can manage your four year game. Dig deep and have confidence in yourself. Get tutors@! Duke son hired a math team genius to tutor him in Calc and high level econ courses…the guy was a saint and so talented. Celebrate the talents around you and be your best version of you. </p>

<p>good luck! You can do it. you are transitioning from high school strait jacket to a much more amorphous chapter in life where you sort out your talents and interests.</p>

<p>Hey there. I am a senior at Vandy now and I know that freshman year can be tough, especially econ your first semester. It’s a weed-out class and it is hard to do well. You can withdraw if you need to, and taking it again once you have older friends who can help you is so much easier. One W on your transcript is not a big deal and it’s better than doing poorly in the class. </p>

<p>My advice is to limit how much you go out on weeknights and try to make friends with someone who knows what they’re doing in your classes. You’re a freshman so it’s okay to just make rando friends. </p>

<p>The best advice I have for you is to read over your notes within an hour of finishing class for the day. Do this every day and it will help you to make the connections with later material. </p>

<p>Feel free to message me! You can do this. The first few weeks of college are stressful for everyone, but you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t capable. </p>

<p>I am sure OP will find more success and confidence as time goes on…
It should be kept in mind that:

  1. Top colleges now only admit a minority of students on academic excellence alone
  2. Many students are admitted with far lower academic credentials because they fall into an ever increasing number of preferred categories
  3. Some of these students may in fact not be prepared to keep pace at a place like Vanderbilt…unless they adjust their effort as well as their expectations
  4. Eventually trends in admission policies will lead to a dilution of academic standards at some of these schools, especially when the current bulge in applicants peters out over the next 10 years or so. That is not peculiar to Vanderbilt.
  5. Vanderbilt, unlike some other top schools, does not have grade inflation…this can expose weaker students with relatively less pure academic versatility and ability.</p>