Chances are if you have happened upon this site, things are not going well for you. You are probably frustrated, tired of starting over, feeling like a failure, and thinking about giving up on college all together.
You are not alone.
I am a teacher and have several years of experience working with struggling students. I created this site for students who are ready to be successful in college, but who have not learned the skills they need to pass their classes such as how to read a textbook, how to write a paper, how to study for a test, how to wake up and go to class, how to stay motivated, how to organize your stuff, how to pick your classes and so on.
I struggled in college and have included my story below. If you don’t like to read, skip down to Tip # 1, and then explore the site either with the menu on the right or the list at the bottom of the page.
Please comment in the comment area if you have questions you think I can help you with.
My Story; It is Never Too Late
At the ripe old age of 23, I had (from my 23 year old perspective), hit a low point in my life.
Nothing was going my way.
So I woke up one day and came up with a plan to change the direction of my life. I eagerly took my plan, along with a handful of transcripts which represented my somewhat unsuccessful yet extensive sampling of classes at a number of community colleges, to an academic advisor at the most recent college I was attending.
The advisor, who I remember as being an old grey lump of a person sitting at an old grey desk, was unimpressed with my “permanent record” and even less impressed with my plan. He bluntly pointed out that I had more W’s than grades and that I had taken Algebra 1 three times without passing. He dryly enumerated all of my flaws which included the lack of a foreign language, SAT scores, and the ability to spell. He suggested I learn a skill, perhaps, typing.
“Yes but,” I held up my current schedule of classes, “I am taking Algebra 1 now and I am getting a B,” and then muttered under my breath, “Don’t you know in 20 years we will have autocorrect and we’ll all be typing with our thumbs?” I didn’t actually say that last part, but I did know somewhere in the back of my mind, that I could get by with a dictionary and the use of single digits to type, and what I really needed to work on was my plan; tapping into my potential as a thoughtful, intelligent human being.
“Right,” his condescending tone was reminiscent of what I had heard throughout my life from teachers, counselors, administrators (I spent a lot of time in the principal’s office), and even people my own age who had made it clear that in their opinion, I was not “college material.”
“What makes you think you can get into a school like UC Berkeley; it is one of the top universities in the nation, and clearly you are an idiot.” Okay, he didn’t actually say that last part, but he did say, “THERE IS NO WAY YOU WILL GET INTO UC BERKELEY.”
The old grey advisor in his old grey box, pursed his old grey lips and advised me, “We have a cosmetology program here that would be perfect for a girl like you.”
Cosmetology is a fine career for anyone with a knack and desire to go down that path, but my signature look at the time could best be described as “raccoon eyes” (I used a q-tip to swathe a thick line of mascara around each eye). I was NOT cosmetology material. Besides that wasn’t MY plan.
I gathered up my transcripts and walked out of his grey box. As I walked past the Academic Advising secretary, I felt sad and like a failure. Then, I did the single most life changing thing I have ever done (so far). I asked the secretary, “Is there another advisor I can talk to?”
The new adviser told me what I needed to do to achieve my goals. She said it would be hard, but not impossible.
So, I did it.
Eventually, I ended up with three degrees (including one from UC Berkeley). I passed several advanced math classes, learned three foreign languages (and two programming languages), and I am constantly coming up with new plans for how to enrich my mind and hopefully use my life well (however, I am hopeless with my thumbs and can’t wait for speech recognition to be perfected).
Tip # 1: When someone tells you that you can’t do something, find someone who believes you can and who will show you how to do it.
If you need someone to tell you exactly what to do to be successful in college (sometimes with brutal honesty), this is the place for you.
How to Tips For Turning F’s into A’s
How to Read (an assignment, text book, article, etc.)
How to Wake Up and Go to Class
That’s a great story, and a perfect example of how the right decision made at the right time can change everything. I wonder how many dreams that old grey guy managed to stifle in the course of his career.