Sunday, July 1, 2012

A View Inside the Minds of College Students

Several years ago, a colleague provided a series of web postings written by college students.  The posts, if my memory is correct, were gathered in random fashion from a variety of public internet sources.  My memory definitely has failed in one important respect; I can't recall who provided these or exactly when I received them.  I apologize for that.


These snippets are simply too good, however, to not record them in some way.  They provide a glimpse, unsettling at times, into the minds of students.  The comments provide us with a sense of what their worlds are really like and therefore some guidance on how we, all of us, might assist them with their needs.  Spelling and grammatical errors are preserved as these too are a window into the state of the authors.  Here we go...


Female
I've dropped a lot of courses. I've also failed a lot of courses. I don't know my material. I feel like I haven't learned anything. I'm not competent. I've ruined my life. I don't know what I'm going to do. Maybe I will work in fast food for the rest of my life.
I feel like such a loser. I skip final exams. I waste thousands of dollars.
I'm not smart enough. I'm not hard working enough.
I have no future. I can't do anything. I may as well be dead. I'm useless.
My parents should kick me out and leave me homeless. I don't deserve all that they've given me.
I wish I could start over, from the very beginning. I've messed up big time. I've ruined my grades.
I'm getting old. I'm going nowhere. I don't want to face life, it's too scary.
I'll never graduate. Even if I graduate, I'll do nothing with my degree.
I should just die or something. :-(


Male
So, I failed my midterm. I huge 45%. The frustrating thing is I know what I'm doing. It's not like I just didn't study, or not go to class, I did all of that. My prof was even like "What happened?" I didn't do so well on my last quiz, and I'm pretty sure I didn't do well on the one we just had. For awhile now I've been feeling like school is impossible for me. Now, it feels like it is. I don't want to keep going, but I'm afraid of dropping out. I don't konw what to do...


Female
A couple students including me talked our professior into extending our test date! Heehee! Good for me! I need an extra week!


Female
i go to university and this is my last semester of classes, or at least, that's the plan, before i do my internship and then one math class in the spring. howveer, my past practice of doing the bare minimum of what's required of me as a student (even less than the bare minimum when it comes to studying for test or reading), has been doing me wrong this semester especially. i have met a guy who has been screwing with my emotions, whether on purpose or not, it doesn't matter i guess. but i am soooo scared that i won't pass some of these classes and then i'll have to stay another semester, here in this wretched town. but i have no energy again. it's like i wish i could be one of those students who can not study and get all a's, but i am not. but although i know my end goal, getting my degree, which as it turns out, again has to be put off till the end of next fall, for other reasons, i cannot seem to focus on that enough to complete my studying, or at least to put more effort into it. i have no job, so it's not time restraints. i don't have a car, so it does take convincing to get myself to walk to campus, if i need to, and i have been skipping more...and i don't know...does anyone here ever just feel like quitting school, just lie around and do nothing? but then again, that's exacly what i do anyways. i guess i am just here to conplain and ask if anyone else feels like they just do the minimum required of them as students.


Male
I'm done! My brain is full. It's really sad because the my presentation is less than 2 minutes. What do you do when you just can't stuff anymore in???


Female
I love school!  All the people, the energy, learning, the professors, and everything except the very few parking spaces. LOL I have my first exam in a week, gotta study this weekend. :-)


Female
I'm sooooooooooooooo nervous! My classes start tomorrow. What if I'm not good enough? What if I fail? What if....? (this coming with someone who has never gotten lower than an A-) uggh. I hate this feeling.


Male
Classes started up again yesterday. I only have the one class on campus, the other is online. The one class on campus is taught by the same lecturer as the summer math class I just finished. She said we could call her late last week for our grades. She told me I could come by her office and see my final exam, and get my grade.
I haven't done either of those things.
Today I finally emailed her, asking for my grade. She just emailed me back, but I'm too afraid to open it. I know it's going to be awfully close, and I can't stand to see it.
I know, and my T tells me that it's going to be OK to get a B. She says she thinks it would be very good for me to get a B.
I'm too afraid to open the damned email.
I guess it's better than finding out in person, and crying in front of her.


Male
I woke up yesterday with sore throat, nausea, aches, etc. Still feel yucky.
And I sat down in front of an exam that did not look at all familiar. Not much that looked like anything I had ever seen before. I get depressed when I'm sick anyway, but that just made it that much worse.
I'm pretty sure I won't have an A on the exam. I am currently hoping only that I did well enough to allow me to get an A in the class. I think I can miss 65 or so points, out of 200.
Of course, when I got home again, I could think of how to work out one of the problems. I did get the right answer to that problem, but I had no idea how to set up the equation. {sigh}
I really don't want this to be the time that I find out what happens if I don't get an A. I don't know that I can handle that right now.
Maybe school is too stressful for me.


Female
I was just diagnosed bipolar ultradian rapid cycling 6 weeks ago, with social phobia 1 week ago, and while I'm getting treatment, none of it is really working yet!! My psychiatrist is confident I'll be ready to go back to school in 5 weeks but I'm soooo scared!! It's like, I don't know if I can handle being in school but if I don't go what do I do? Be a college dropout? Ugh.


As you can see, most of the posts reveal a sense of being overwhelmed by academic demands, some to the point of hopelessness.  Another, perhaps more troubling, theme is that few of them wrote about seeking or asking for help.  For this and many other reasons college mental health services are an absolute necessity for students.  Ideally, these services will be well-resourced and thoroughly and repeatedly advertised across campus, in a variety of media.  Students tend to dismiss information when they perceive they will not need it, then suffer from a lack of information when troubles visit them.  Institutional support of the mission of college mental health is a vital ingredient to student success, as we see so clearly in the messages provided above.