Essentially Failing First 2 Years of College, I need advice/help

Basically I’ve done poorly during my first two years in college. I was put on Academic Probation last semester, and after this semester I haven’t done well enough to get off probation and have also managed to fail Calculus again.

One thing that my parents suggested is that I leave school and go to a Community College back home and use that semester to work on myself and get myself together and then reapplying in the spring. If anyone has been in a similar situation, what did you do? How did you handle struggling and what steps did you take to improve?

So . . . . try not to worry. You can get anywhere you want from where you’re standing right now.

If you were my child, I’d suggest that you take an extended leave of absence from college. Your parents want you probably to go to community college right away because they’re afraid, I’m guessing, that you may never go back to school.

My feeling is that, judging by your tone of concern, you are clear about the benefits of college. You’re just not ready to be in college.

No problem! I would calm your parents’ concern by presenting them with a “plan” that says something like: I definitely plan to go back to school some day soon, but I need to take a break. What I want to do is XYZ to try out a few career paths." If they ask why, just let them know that in one or two years of work, you will have grown as a person mentally and physically (and you don’t have to say this, but it takes until age 25 before brains fully come on board. The closer you get to that age, the easier it will be to do the school stuff. Really.)

The good news is that with two years of college under your belt, there are many things that you can do. If you have school loans, they will start asking you for payments, so there’s that complication. If you live at home or otherwise scrimp you should be able to work and start paying off your loans. Or maybe you can get your parents on board to help for a few months and pay them back, with interest, in the future, if you go on an SCA internship for three months, for example. If you tell them these things, they will be impressed with your responsible attitude. Draw up a contract. Sign it.

Almost any job you get will teach you skills that you will take with you, whether it’s customer service and operations by working at a restaurant or lab skills by working as a lab tech or hospitality skills by making beds at a B&B in Halifax Nova Scotia or sheep shearing in Australia. And who doesn’t want to know how to sheep shear? You will have something to talk about in your future job interview for Goldman Sachs! So try to relax and take whatever job feels comfortable for you and try not to worry about “am I doing something worthwhile with my life.” Yes you are.

That being said, here are some other ideas for how to get a job. Some of these pay nothing, others pay a little more, and many have room and sometimes board included. Just doing something will probably help clear your head, will definitely build skills, and will most likely help you focus on what you really want to do.

  • Student Conservation Association--
  • apply for americorps -- you get $5K toward your tuition once you complete the program
  • volunteer at your local hospital or volunteer fire department (if you're in a small town) or with Habitat for Humanity or a food bank etc.
  • learn to bar tend and go work in Ireland or China (housing is cheap) or someplace else
  • Teach English abroad (google for opportunities)
  • Protect turtles on the beaches during hatching times or work at another endangered species habitat
  • does your hometown have a college or university nearby? They often have jobs such as in a lab, gardening, answering phones, doing archival work for a research project. Ask around. These jobs can pay pretty well.

Take a sabbatical and have them hold your spot.