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Thread: Strugling through college...Help? Advice?

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    Wannabebig Member chrisconnell85's Avatar
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    Strugling through college...Help? Advice?

    I just got into a pretty hard program (Early childhood education) in college and I really want to be a grade school teacher. My parents support me a lot (gave me a new computer, spent money on residence etc) and they have a lot of confidence in me that I will get good marks. Anyway I'm not doing too well. I'm getting Mostly C's and I just got handed back a D on my major assignment. I'm so scared of letting my parents down that i'm afraid to tell them. I have been studying at a slightly above average pace (I will have to pick that up SOON) and I'm really trying to get good marks. My parents are also expecting me to transfer to univercity
    The plans I have (so far) is to get a tutor, and possibly have one of my friends correct my work.
    Right now i'm feeling very depresed...Can someone help me with this?
    Any advice would be GREATLY apreciated...

    Thanks

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    aka Boobalowski raniali's Avatar
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    school does not always come easy for everyone - but you get out of it what you put into it. if a 'slighty above average pace' isn't sufficient, then you need to make adjustments or learn different study habits.

    i would try the campus learning center - they usually offer tutors in all areas, especially english.
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    HomeYield WillKuenzel's Avatar
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    Sounds like you are trying and that's going to be the biggest thing. A tutor can go a long way depending on how well they are.

    I was usually told that you should study for at least 2 hours outside of class for every hour you are in class. Of course I never did but paid the price for it too .

    Have you looked into time management or something. If there are any problems its usually trying to structure your time to study.
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    I teach at a small college where most students are either making the transition to college level work before transferring to university or getting some classes out of the way cheaply before transferring to university, and your situation is very, very common...and fixable!

    The main obstacle for new college students is developing sound study skills and work habits. Unfortunately, it's relatively easy to get through high school without doing much studying, or only having to study sporadically, while in college courses, you're expected to do a lot more work on your own, which means lots and LOTS of studying.

    Here's some proven study ideas:
    1. Plan ahead and organize your time realistically. Look For breaks in your schedule and times during each day when you can study/read/review. It's much more effective to break your studying into many small blocks than to try to do one huge long study session. Make a plan and stick to it.

    2. Read the chapter/material that will be covered in class before class. You may not understand what you read, but you'll recognize important ideas, words, problems and will lecture will make much more sense.

    3. Take good notes during class and re-read/re-write/comment on your notes soon after the class, either later that day or the next day. This serves to reinforce what you just covered AND lets you start putting it all together.

    4. Re-read the section and do the homework or problems or questions. This means really putting in a quality effort and spending a lot of time and effort to try to figure out the problems. Work beyond the point of frustration and push your limits. Then go get help when you're stuck. See your professor or TA during office hours, see a tutor, work with a friend. There is usually no substitute for just putting in a lot of work on the assignments, and skimping here or trying to do the minimum possible will catch up to you on exams and such.

    5. If you have a paper to write, don't wait until the last minute and say that you work better under pressure to rationalize it. Sketch out some ideas, an outline, some points you'd like to make. Do some background reading/research and flesh out your outline so that you have a pretty good idea what you're going to say when you sit down to write the first draft. Then edit, proofread, ask a friend/classmate/instructor to read your draft and give you constructive feedback. Edit some more until you are satisfied and think that your instuctor will also be satisfied with your work.

    6. Get together with people from your classes to do assignments, review important material, study for tests. Talking through the concepts really help you sort out the details and two heads are better than one. Plus you can share the misery and socialize

    7. In general, try to do a little something for each class each day. Break it up so that it's not overwhelming. Don't be afraid to ask for help/feedback as long as you've first tried it yourself and can ask specific questions.

    8. If there is a study skills seminar or academic support office that offers help with study skill, take advantage of them.

    Most students do not fail or do poorly for lack of smarts...they fail or do poorly for lack of effort. The rule of thumb for college courses is that you should plan on spending two hours outside of class for every hour spent in class. Some class will require less time, others will require more. But half-ass effort usually produces half-ass results, so if in doubt, put in the time and don't skimp on reading, reviewing, studying, writing. A little experimentation will reveal what works for YOU.

    PM me if you have an questions or want more specifics...I deal with this stuff with my students and advisees all the time and being a recent student/still taking classes myself, I know and remember all too well what it's like

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  5. #5
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    Originally posted by HomeYield

    I was usually told that you should study for at least 2 hours outside of class for every hour you are in class.
    I have also heard of this. I mean think about how easy the tests would be if you studied that much. I bet it works.

    To the original poster, when you get a C it just means you didn't try hard enough, nobody's fault but your own. If you aren't as bright as everyone else then tough luck brother, just means it's time to study harder. Sorry to sound harsh but kind words aren't whats gonna help you, get your **** together.

  6. #6
    Senior Member aka23's Avatar
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    It depends on the type of classes, programs offered at your college, etc. I mostly took technical courses such as math, science, and engineering at Stanford. Some of the study/exam methods I used are:

    Find out if any previous exams are on reserve at the library. If so, make sure you can answer and understand all previous years' tests.

    Review all old problem sets. Again make sure you can answer and understand all questions. Try doing a few problems again, even if you understand them.

    I found flash cards to be quite helpful for chemistry, especially organic chem. I would write down equations, then show the result on the back. I took these with me to the gym and would review them in between sets.

    If the professor handed out classnotes, reread and understand all notes. If you have time left, reread important sections from the textbook or try problems from the textbook that have answers in the back. I used to review textbooks while doing cardio on cycling machines.

    Be sure to get a good night's sleep and eat a quality meal before exams. Do not study excessively shortly before the test to avoid being burned out. It is better to study all quarter than to cram everything in during the final 24 hours.

    Feel free to email a TA or the professor, if you have a question. If the TA is hosting a study session, be sure to attend. Sometimes they give out valuable information.

    If you have a question about the exam (understand material, but do not understand exam) do not be afraid to ask. Keep track of time during the exam and watch the point values of the question. If a low point value problem is taking too long, then skip ahead and get the high point value problems done.

    Do not be afraid to challenge the exam, if you think they made a grading mistake.

    I have never gotten a poor enough grade to want to repeat a course, but if you are unhappy with your final grades, you might want to look into this option. My college allowed you to retake courses, replacing the original grade or notation with the notation "RP" (repeated course). I knew one girl who used to retake courses when she got anything lower than an A, even an A-. She ended up going to Harvard Medical School.
    Last edited by aka23; 10-14-2003 at 11:35 AM.

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by HomeYield

    I was usually told that you should study for at least 2 hours outside of class for every hour you are in class. Of course I never did but paid the price for it too .
    Yup...and when I mention that to my students, there are always exclamations of, "Two hours? Forget it! I'm not spending that much time on this class..."

    My answer to that is that it's YOUR choice...no one is making you do anything, but just be aware that there ARE students who will spend the time and they'll generally do better, so it becomes a bit of a competition thing. You may not be willing to spend that time, but the ones who do are going to set the bar. That's the reality of college courses...a lot of it is sink or swim, and unlike in high school, it's mostly up to you to decide which it's going to be.

    I could give all to Time except - except
    What I myself have held. But why declare
    The things forbidden that while the Customs slept
    I have crossed to Safety with? For I am There,
    And what I would not part with I have kept.

    --Robert Frost

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