3 Questions To Ask Yourself If You Are A (Struggling) College Student

Getting into college is only the first of many hurdles in higher education. The application process alone varies from institution to institution. The determination to succeed can not diminish just because you’ve made your way to that acceptance letter. In the many (many) years I have been a student, I have picked up on a few things to consider if you are struggling.

Do you know how to study?

  • Important note: Do you know how to read a textbook? I’m dead serious here. These books are set up specifically to teach you a great deal of information. If your approach is too casual, or you just don’t know what to look for, you could miss out on a lot of important information. When it comes to test time, that is going to hurt your chances of making the grade you want. For some tips on reading your textbook, check out this wikihow: https://www.wikihow.com/Read-a-Textbook
  • Are you studying in an environment that works for you? Make sure you have a place where you can devote your attention to your work. This could be your home, a specific room, a library, or anywhere you can get some distraction free time. Let go of your devices, especially social media, if this is a source of distraction to you. Your performance in the classroom is affected by everything you experience outside of the classroom and that is different for everybody. Set yourself up for success!
  • How do you learn? I’ve read a lot in favor of knowing your own learning style. This can help if a specific method isn’t working to make information meaningful to you. I have a hard time listening to lecture and retaining information. If you would like to learn more about learning style, I recommend the VARK quiz. This one is free and can be taken online. http://vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionnaire

Are you spending enough time on your schoolwork outside of the classroom?

  • Cramming is not the answer! Your best learning does not take place an hour before the test. Never does. Have I written assignments last minute? Yes. Have I crammed for a test? Yes. Did I always get the lower grade I deserved? No. You may be able to pull this off from time to time, but it is going to catch up to you! Give yourself time to destress before a test. Do yourself a favor now and absorb what you can so you won’t have to “relearn” it later.
  • How much time are you studying outside of class? Before you assess this, let’s talk about a few things. Is this course/content difficult for you? What are your semester goals? Your overall educational goals? Is there something else this grade could affect (scholarships, club affiliation, etc.)? As a general rule, it is good to study two hours for every credit hour you take. Let’s say you’re enrolled in a 3 hour civics class (x 2 hours study). Then you would need to engage with that content 6 hours per week.
  • Enrolled in 15 hours for the semester? Then 30 hours of your week are comitted to your student success friends. Have a job? A family? Want to sleep? I will do another post on time management at a later time 🙂

Do you know your instructors/professors?

  • Let me say it again. Do you know who the people are that are teaching your classes? I spent so much time avoiding asking for help because I was afraid they would know that I didn’t always understand what was going on. I did not know how to contribute what I did know and ask for help when I needed it. Part of that was due to being intimidated by whoever was teaching the class.
  • These people have office hours, email, etc. for a reason! Now that I am the person at the head of the classroom, I would be crushed to know that someone didn’t make it just because they didn’t feel like they could reach out to me. It’s really that simple. These people are just as human as you are and every one of them has been a student (they may still be one somewhere). Have no fear, ask for help if you need it.

As I wrap up this post, I realize that there are numerous areas that I haven’t even touched. Working toward making someone else’s journey through higher ed a little less painful or awkward or weird is why I’m still here.

Imagine a world where the brightest minds just need a little push to thrive or the space to feel safe to try and succeed or try and fail and try again. That’s where we are. There are students who don’t speak up or ask for help. There are ways that we can make it better.

I would love to continue to write about achieving success, overcoming boundaries, and such. Are there any other areas that you would like to see covered? If I haven’t experienced it myself, I bet there’s a resource for someone who has.

If you are interested in contributing or collaboration, please send me an email: happykotter@gmail.com.

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!


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