I just started college this past fall. I got into a pretty good school, was pepped up about it, and had a really good feeling about doing well in school since I had a 4.00 GPA in highschool. Well I don't know what happened to me to cause the downfall.Throughout most of my first semester I rarely went to class, partied a lot, and started pledging a fraternity. As of right now, my GPA is 1.64, and I am in danger of possibly being thrown out of the school. I understand what I've done wrong. It's not like I'm trying to deny that I didn't study as much or attend class or any or that. It's the fact that I let myself get to that point that is beginning to bother me. I feel worthless, like I won't succeed regardless of what I do or how studious I try to be in the future. I really don't know what to do. I'm sitting at home right now as we speak, on break, left to ponder all of my mistakes. I don't think there's much hope for me left...
I feel worthless
There is lots to do. In january a new semester will be starting up. Fix it. Go back to your highschool ways and study, college is a lot harder then highschool especially if you walking around drunk half the time. You dont have to go into a fraternity, you dont have to get drunk. Your life is in your hands, and right now its fix able. You just need to sort things out and come back with a clear head. Im in my juinor year right now, and i spend 3/4 my time studying. I dont have time to get drunk and party.
I'm already in a fraternity, and I don't spend every waking hour of my college career drunk. I think I should have elaborated more on that. I just spent more time at parties than I probably should have, and I was too lazy to do any studying or anything. I appreciate your response, but I don't think that I could just completely change everything, regardless of how much I want to do so. It's not just about willpower. I don't know what it is really. It's something stronger than that.
Welcome to the real world. It's called personal responsibility. College is all you. Wake up or get out. Heed those words.
I see. Thanks for making the assumption that I had no responsibility in highschool. Once again I received nothing of value out of that. To be honest these past replies have done nothing short of making me feel worse about myself.I already know what is expected of me, and I know what I am capable of. It's not like I'm some stupid naive little boy who doesn't understand what is going on. I made it into a prestigious university, so I must have something going right. I just don't know why I can't fix my problems. It's easy to sit down and say to yourself, "Yes, I'll have to study more, and I'll do this and this.", but when it comes down to actually doing it, I just freeze up and end up getting nothing accomplished. sigh I'm starting to think this was not such a good idea. Maybe I can't be helped.
I don't know how to put it any other way. I was in teh same boat. I did well in high school, went to college, lived in teh dorms and discovered a new life. I partied, drank, had fun. Meanwhile, classes took a major nosedive. I moved back home and recovered from the downward spiral. Luckily it was only a 30-40 minute drive back then. I'm just saying you have to reevaluate what and how you are doing things and step up to the plate. You don't get second chances.
YOu cant ask yourself if you want to study, you just have to do it. It is all will power. you have to make youself.
Fortunately, for things like this, you do get a second chance. There are a lot of people at prestigious universities who are in the same boat as you. Usually students who've always done well are not used to asking for help, so they're bewildered if they have a hard time with classes. But every university has an office that can assist students in getting back on track. The university does not want you to fail. They have a lot invested in you already. You need to find that office at your college; they can be very, very helpful. Also, fraternities generally need to have their members maintain some reasonable GPA. They might be able to point you in the right direction.Sometimes, especially among high achievers who have had an easy time getting grades in high school, a fear of failure develops, where you become afraid to make a serious effort. ("I failed, but it was not my fault, since I didn't even try.")Are you uninterested in your major, and your classes in general?Definitely do not give up. If you did very well in High School and passed the admissions hurdles, you're obviously able to do college work. You just need some guidance. But if at the end of the next semester, you're still not into school, there's noting wrong with taking some time off. It's not the end of the world. Almost without exception, people who come back to or start up college a little later in life do better. They're more mature and more focused.
"I failed, but it was not my fault, since I didn't even try."That line is definately one that I have used before.I don't think that I would have the oppurtunity to take some time off, even if I desperately needed it. Seeing as I am the star child in my family, my parents look to me as some kind of godsend when it comes to academics. They don't expect anything but the highest of grades for me, and they wouldn't exactly handle the idea of me taking time off very well.In any case, I need to get myself together for this semester. If I receive all B's or higher in my classes, my deficiency record (which is the way that my school determines if a student is dropped or not) is erased. I know I have a second chance, but I'm just afraid I won't succeed. I'm afraid that I don't know how to study because I've never had to do so before (academics was natural for me in highschool), I don't have the self-confidence to do well, and I feel like I just am not smart enough. I know that I have to have some sort of smarts to have gotten into this school, but even still, I have doubts, mostly stemming from the fact that my self-esteem is probably worse than a goldfish's memory.
If there's that level of expectation by your parents is before you already, your fear of failure is greatly compounded.
> I'm afraid that I don't know how to study because I've never had to do so before (academics was natural for me in highschool),
You have to believe me, there are many, many people like you at "top" (and non-"top") schools. You are not a weird case. You need to find the acacemic counseling office at your school. They have seen a zillion people like you, and the have the best ideas on how to help you do what you need to do to succeed.
> I don't have the self-confidence to do well, and I feel like I just am not smart enough.
I can understand how you feel, but you know that's not rational. You are in fact probly a lot smarter than a lot of your classmates, some of whom are doing fine in class.
> mostly stemming from the fact that my self-esteem is probably worse than a goldfish's memory
I'm not really sure how to help you with that. It seems like you've a priori told yourself that you're not good enough, and you're subconsciously trying to prove it. But that is not at all an odd thing. The academic counseling office should be able to help you with issues like that.
You can't just vegetate. You need to seek out the help that you need. If you did well in high school, got into a good college, and didn't suddenly get brain damage, you have what you need to succeed. (Judging by the way you write, you don't have brain damage.)
Thanks, SteveA. I definately need to seek out the academic advising office. However, when it comes to my self-confidence, I don't know how to begin to explain it. I would like to feel confident that I could do things, be successful in situations, etc., however when it comes down to performing, if I fail, or get to nervous/afraid/shy to try, I immediately feel like I'm not worthy of the challenge. I really don't know how to explain this, seeing as my self-confidence changes depending on the situation, but the best I could say is that my self-confidence is seemingly bi-polar. It has its highs, and then it has its extreme lows. I don't get depressed to the point where I close myself out and listen to sappy music and think about suicide or any of that, but when I feel worthless, it is almost all consuming.
I hear you very clearly. I'm not minimizing your issue...I understand that it's serious. But I just want to make sure that you understand that what you are going through id very common, even among the smartest, most capable people. You are not a wierdo or a failure.
Here is an interesting page from the University of Illois on self-confidence. (Also note that their counseling center "offers free workshops, discussion groups, and individual counseling.")
Here is something not quite as good, but still worth reading, from the University of Florida.
Here is a little thing from "Go Ask Alice!" (Columbia University).
Here is a little list from Texas Women's University.
Some of that stuff (like the last one) is aimed more at being more confident in interacting with people rather than in general, but it's still worth reading.
Good luck. This is something you can definitely deal with. The tools you need are available. You just need to pick them up and go to work. But you don't need to do it alone.
I'd just like to back up what Steve is saying that this is a common occurence. College is very different from school for any student, and very very many find the combination of much greater freedom and the much greater need for self-directed study a difficult one to learn to handle. I think it particularly hits those who have coasted through school on natural ability, never having had to learn to really study. As you go through college you'll find natural ability will take you less and less far, and the amount of work you put in will matter more and more - as is also the situation in real life.Your present problems don't mean you are a worthless student. Many very successful students ran up against the same experience you have had. What you've found is a learning experience not explicitly mentioned on the curriculum, but an important one nevertheless. It's what you do with the situation - how much you learn from it - that will count.
Lots of issues in your not doing well in first year. I went through them all, dropped out before they booted me out then returned a few years later and my now motivated self was on the good end of the dean's list. Also, I share my house with university students so some of this comes from spending time with them too.
High school really does nothing to prepare anyone for university. Sure they teach stuff but they do it in a spoon-fed manner which means you don't need to study hard to do well. But even good high schools in an aceademic sense never give you the tools necessary to take full responsibility for doing the work on your own which is what universities require.
Parents - they can contribute a lot to whether or not one does well in university. Those who have high expectations and push for strong achievement often find their dreams shattered simply because their son/daughter takes the opportunity to rebel once the parental home is left behind. Not necessarily a conscious thing; usually more this malais sets in after all those years of performaing well for parents during public school.
Not knowing how to study. This one goes hand in hand with the high school not preparing students for the tortures of university. In high school, they monitor your performance closely and get on your case when you don't show up for class, pass in assignments, reports, etc. In university, most of the profs give the impression they don't give a damn (which many don't). So, it's easy to let one thing slide then another then yet another to the point where you are so far behind it is nigh on impossible to dig yourself out. And that, in itself, causes you to sink even further.
Living away from home also plays a major role in this scenario. You were essentially the property of your parents while living in their home. You did what they required, performed as they expected and all that. Now all of a sudden you are thrown into a whole new world where you, and you alone, control what you do or do not do. You decide to get up; not your parents. You decide to go to class, not your parents. You have to sit down and study without your parents watchful eye. All about you now and so much freedom you don't know how to handle since no one prepared you to take control of yourself.
And lastly we have the expectations themselves as a cause of not doing well. I kind of suspect you are in a top school because of pressure from parents, peers, teachers, etc. Sure you made the marks to get there but that wasn't really all that hard was it. Sure you filled out the application but that too was easy. but once you escaped home and high school and all those protective surroundings, the pressure is gone too. No, not any mental pressure; just the presence of the people who kept the pressure on you. So like any boiler when the pressure is gone, there is nothing travelling through the pipes.
Overall, there's lots of reasons for what happened to you and happens to hundreds of thousands of other first year university students. One who is living here right now has most of these same problems but at least he is aware and trying and recognized his problem early enough to ge thelp before it was too late. But it is so hard to overcome all the temptations, distractions, etc. and force yoruself to sit down with boring textbooks and just study, study, study.
The long and short of it all now is a matter of motivation. Your motivation. If you are in that university, takign what you really want to take, then you will take control of yourself and force yourself to sit down and do the work. However, if you are there more because of pressure from others and/or are not really into the program you are in, then it just isn't going to happen. And feeling guilty or whatever isn't going to help. University has to be about you, your goals and what you want to achieve. Parents, teachers and all the others will not live your live; only you.
So, take some time over the holidays, talk to a good high school guidance guy (if you know one) and really do some serious soul searching about what you want and how you want to achieve it. Then make the right decision for you. And once made, damn well stick to it even if it means studying hard to stay in the current university or doing battle with parents and going to work at that unnamed burger joint.
Until you do this for yourself, you aren't going to feel good about yourself. and always remember it's your life to make of what you want and to find happiness in what you do.
You know, there's a lot you can do but don't go feeling worthless about yourself. It's great you've recognized the problem, so stop it!!! Get off the booze, and stop calling yourself worthless, or feeling worthless, cause then you really are.
Therein, however, is the problem. While I understand that I must perform (meaning I must study and excel academically), I refuse to give up altogether my pleasures to do so. I already know for a fact that I do not function if I cannot balance work and play. Many of you may try and tell me that I have to "give up" some things in order to succeed, however it simply is not the case with me. If I continually work myself without some outlet (aka going to a party, etc.), then I begin to lose my will to continue. Why continue working harder when there is nothing ahead except more work? Therefore I need a better outlet than just simply giving up the things I love to do. There has to be a compromise that would allow me to excel and still perform academically, which I desperately need.
You absolutely shouldnt give up your pleasures, on nights when theres a party and you dont have a class early the next day or a big paper due, Live it up. Asking you to give up partying is like asking me to give up coffee, Its not going to happen. Its about finding a Happy Medium and getting a good balance at what works. I require little to no sleep so, i can work a lot longer then a lot of people. I used that to my advantage. You need to find a plan/work one out that gives you everything you need. You have a break to do that right now, figure out what works for you.
Yea, but I fear that if I make one mistake, I'll be completely ruining my future college career for good. And I haven't even discovered that "happy medium" yet.
You have to make the happy medium, it wont fall in your lap. I have to do my studying at 1am cause thats the only time i can concentrate on geophysics lol, I live at starbucks and class the rest of the time (im not a big partier) but right now, think about your class schedual and the usual party days im sure you'll find the perfect time to study. Even a perfect place, setting is everything. Maybe you need to be in a loud place to study, or a quiet one. Are you interested in your classes? I had dinner with my mom tonight, and we got to talking. She told me that mistakes may look like the end of the world, but in percpective its only the end of a chapter. You wont ruin your college life, and your parents will always be there if you need them. My parents and i went thru hell. And i mean it, Hell this past year and they still are there to talk to me if i need them. I thought so many times that my father would never speak to me again because of some of my life choices, but In the morning when he looks at the pictures on the mantle im still his little girl and always will be. Don't worry about what you're parents will think, cause they will always be there.
A friend of mine got straights F's one semester went home over winter and came back and pulled his classes together, if he can do it (and he was no great genius) im sure you can.
While I understand that I must perform (meaning I must study and excel academically), I refuse to give up altogether my pleasures to do so.That is quite a rationalization. The problem is not that you're working to the exclusion of play; they problem is that you're playing to the exclusion of work.> I already know for a fact that I do not function if I cannot balance work and play.Apparently not, since you're completely out of balance now.> Many of you may try and tell me that I have to "give up" some things in order to succeed, however it simply is not the case with me.Then you are doomed to failure. If there's no room in your life for work (i.e., studying), then you are wasting time, money, and space in college.> If I continually work myself without some outlet (aka going to a party, etc.), then I begin to lose my will to continue.Are you serious? You can't be serious. Which of Aesop's characters would you be, the ant or the grasshopper?I don't know if what you do for recreation is fulfiling or not, but if you need to do it 100% of your waking hours, you have a big problem. What you say is not rational, and you are in denial. There are a lot of people who succeed in college, and they are not all studying around the clock.> Why continue working harder when there is nothing ahead except more work?Are you planning to spend the rest of your life living at home, or on welfare? You need to fix your problem.