Senior Transfer . . . Don't Think I'm Cut Out To Be A Cal!

<p>I transferred to Cal last year. I came from a pretty difficult home where most people don't end-up in college, but end-up on the streets. It was a struggle for me to get through community college with good grades living in the environment I did. My first year at Cal I had a lot of problems I had to face emotionally, socially as well as transition academically. My first semester I got all B's and my spring semester I did not do as well because I had to deal with alot of chaos where I was living on campus, etc. Now, it's my senior year and I'm only taking 13 units (3 academic; 2 PE), work-trading and taking two dance classes a week, I just got another job that will have unpredictable hours range from zero to twenty a week and I'm applying for one more job (4-8 hours a week). I'm already behind on my reading and have missed an check or minus assignment and am stressing about my finances as finacial aid is not enough. Does anyone else deal with this? I feel like I don't belong at Cal because I don't think my work load is heavy at all compared to some and yet I haven't been able to keep up. Any advice, I really just feel plain stupid.</p>

<p>Duder, why do you care if people think your work load is weak? Just work a tad bit harder with your reading and talk to your GSIs about what your schedule. Your biggest problem is that you're stressing out about what other people think. I can tell you that you're the only one thinkin about it. Nobody is out there saying "man, that glow27 sure has a weak schedule. He really doesn't belong here!"</p>

<p>Well, it's hard to give you advice because I'm not sure on the situation. I would like to say quit a job or two, but if you need that to pay for college, then that obviously wouldn't be very helpful. If you really feel down, and that there is no way to recover, consider transfering out; not because your not Berkeley material (if you got accepted to Cal, you definitely are Cal material) but because it might boost your confidence, which will help all around.</p>

<p>Just a hint, but opening yourself up to an online community is not the most effective means of communicating your stress and anxieties.</p>

<p>With that said, I also came from a "difficult" background, difficult by most American's standards. First and foremost, you must take care of psychological barriers: the Admissions Office deemed you worth of being of a Berkeley student therefore you are. Every Berkeley student is granted that entitlement, through the same process, and there's no reason to believe that it doesn't apply to you. In terms of academics, you should rid yourself of the idea that you're going to turn things around suddenly and that you'll become an academic star "the next semester, if I put more effort into it." Accept who you are, but look for other avenues to express your interest and demonstrate success in other areas: it's not always about academics. In terms of handling non-school related issues, I would suggest coming up with a reasonable game plan. Make sure you know what your priorities are. Do you like dance, is that necessary? It might take some physical exertion and make you tired for the rest of the day or, inversely, you might enjoy it too much and consumes too much time. Both scenarious would make those dance classes hindrances to your academic ambitions. For your work, is it necessary to have that job with the varying hours? It doesn't seem like a good fit, so why should you continue? A pair of 4-8 hours/week jobs sounds fair, keep on applying to other positions and I'm sure things will pan out.</p>

<p>I'm sure there's enough concern for you regarding the situation back at home with the family and your financial status. Don't compound problems, but don't shy away from them either. PM if you need to discuss more issues but, once again, this is most likely not an appropriate space to detail personal problems.</p>

<p>Best of luck,

<p>Cal is probably one of the worst places to go if you don't have a very stable financial or family situation.</p>

<p>A simple option would be to withdraw next semester and take some time off and save up for college. In-state tuition is quite cheap and you can come back when you are refreshed and can do well.</p>

<p>Realize that having a Cal degree is no guarantee of employment because Cal turns out so many bad students and workers. You should really try to make the most of it by getting good grades as quickly as possible IMHO. </p>

<p>That being said, should you strive to finish, you should make a point to alert employers post-undergraduate (or graduate/professional schools) of your situation during Cal . They will likely give you some slack.</p>

<p>You should ignore the people that say that if you were accepted you are able to succeed at Berkeley. Many people can and do fail because of how little support Berkeley actually gives students. For example, I knew a 30-year-old super-duper senior that had a similar unstable situation. In my opinion he would've been better off not going to Berkeley at all and going to a school where it was easier to graduate (with better support). </p>

<p>Whatever choice you make, don't be ashamed of your struggle at Berkeley. It truly is, in many cases, an awful school that will present you with challenges you will likely never see again in your life.</p>

<p>I like shaboingboing. Good post!</p>

<p>Thanks for all the responses. </p>

<p>I probably should have mentioned that the reason I haven't been up to speed the past year wasn't because I couldn't handle the academics, I just fell behind in the reading, stressed about money (took out emergency loan) and had to deal with stuff from my past. I probably, more directly, should ask if anyone has any specific tips of getting through all the reading? Do you actually read word for word or skim? That would make a significant impact for me.</p>

<p>Yeah, I do have an unstable situation where I could pretty much say I've raised myself though I did live with my parents. Yeah, most people don't make it out mentally from my situation, but even when I was trying to survive during high school, I managed to scored in the top 24% nationally in Social Sciences and English when my academics had been inconsistent. I've been through hell to get where I am and I'm certainly not going to give up now. I do believe that if I try hard enough I can and will get B to A's at Berkeley (I've gotten A's before).</p>

<p>I haven't found Berkeley unsupportive because I've been independent my whole life and I feel normal. Again, my past issues just crept up. I've manage to obtain good positions at law firms, have job offers thrown out the window and have gotten compliments on my work from GSI's.</p>

<p>So, I guess with saying all of this, your probably asking "Well, why did you ask us for advice then?"</p>

<p>I guess I just wanted some insight at what people had to say. I have always been ambitious and am motivated with a fierceless drive when people suggest (without bad intentions) what I may or may not be able to handle. </p>

<p>I honestly appreciate all the advice. I'll see all you at graduation and in the financial district in SF where I'll be working after I graduate. ;-)</p>

<p>Relax. There are other people like you. There isn’t much benefit in comparing yourselves to others and your workload to others’- what maters is what works for you. Try your best, communicate with your instructors, and get help from the student learning center, the Tang center, a college advisor, and your major advisor. Keep yourself healthy by eating well, sleeping well, and exercising. These three things are important. Look into jobs which help your situation more. TTG had some great points.</p>

<p>Berkeley has much support available for students, although fewer people seek it out than would be helped. Ask for help when you need it- it is a great attribute. </p>

<p>How much you should read depends on your class, its expectations and requirements, and your abilities and familiarities with the texts. Some text you basically have to read completely, in many you can skim parts.</p>

<p>Wow, I just realized that Shiboing Boing is Cantsilencetruth/liberalcensor/collegesenior/politeantaginis/apathetic. Has anyone else (oldschool people) made this connection? Shiboing Boing, how's columbia treating you?</p>

<p>Yes we know. And he actually made somewhat of a good post that time. But still, 13 units is FINE especially since it's your senior year. I would just try to get enough units to graduate and get that degree, which can help a lot in getting a job later on. Try to hold on but if you really can't handle it, maybe do what Shiboing Boing says and take a little time off and then try to finish.</p>