I've lost my confidence in academic endeavors. Can I get it back?
March 14, 2007 4:09 PM   Subscribe

I seem to have lost my mojo.

I seem to have lost nearly all my confidence in academics in the last few months. Over that time I've failed many of the classes I've taken, to the point where I expect to fail almost every class I take. Since I wasn't making any progress in school over the Christmas break I decided to get out of school and get a job, with a night class on the side, with the intention of regaining my confidence, but to no avail. The same outcome seems most likely in this class as well. I've often thought that maybe I'm in over my head and that I need to lower my expectations a bit, but I know that I'm capable. My marks in other classes before I had this problem were good to very good, but have eroded over time. My main hurdle in every class I take is that I suffer from ADD and CAPD, among other things, which means it can take me a long time to learn things well, if at all. What can I do to regain my confidence?
posted by northernsoul to Education (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You say that you have ADD and CAPD, are you treated for these? I don't know how you feel about drugs, but for many people chemically treating their attention problems is the only way they can survive. Other than that... if you are going to take a break from school, take a break from school! No night classes, that defeats the purpose. When I took a break I went to the middle of nowhere (arctic circle) and worked at a job I knew I didn't want to do for the rest of my life. Within a year I was ready to be back in school, and was full of motivation.
posted by arcticwoman at 4:17 PM on March 14, 2007

Thanks for the advice. I should have added information about treatment, thanks for reminding me. Through a series of misadventures I was diagnosed with these conditions relatively late, at 20. It was decided at that time that I had found ways to overcome the problem, and that medication wouldn't be needed. I have received a minimum of instruction as to how to overcome these conditions for the same reason. Of course, at this point, I would beg to differ. BTW, arcticwoman, where did you go? I've lived in the Northwest Territories nearly all my life, and I'm currently living in Yellowknife, so if I want to go to the Arctic Circle, I haven't got far to go.
posted by northernsoul at 4:24 PM on March 14, 2007

I lived in Inuvik and worked for Northmart. Inuvik I loved loved loved, Northmart... not so much. I'm not necessarily saying "Go north," but rather, "Do something new." NWT was pretty new for me, a Kamloops BC girl, but maybe Kamloops would be new for you (not that I would suggest Kamloops... no, not there).
posted by arcticwoman at 4:40 PM on March 14, 2007

I had this happen to me and it made me realize that I just didn't want to be in school. I will never stop learning but I did stop studying.
posted by Megafly at 5:13 PM on March 14, 2007

As a student and a teacher I don't have much sympathy for F students. In many ways, failing a class is more difficult than getting an A. You have to make a concerted effort to blow off the class and skip assignments. You have to try to fail.

A minimum of effort will get you a C. Just show up to class, phone in the assignments and you'll pass.
posted by aladfar at 6:49 PM on March 14, 2007

I personally believe that learning disabilities are mainly the result of a failure to find a motivation that resonates with yourself. I would strongly suggest taking a real break, and doing something to get yourself away from school and whatever it is you are doing right now. Preferably a lucrative job that you wouldnt want to do in the long term. Aren't there diamond mines up near you, also I am sure there are offshore oil wells and crap boats you could do some seasonal work on and earn some cash.
posted by BobbyDigital at 6:52 PM on March 14, 2007

In many ways, failing a class is more difficult than getting an A.

Your classes must not be very rigorous.
posted by oaf at 6:58 PM on March 14, 2007

nah, learning disorders are quite real. perhaps you've been expending so much energy into keeping up that you've burned yourself out. have you thought about cutting back on your workload so you can get a better work/life balance? that will help, i'm sure. choose classes you enjoy, which will help you stay focused. this will, hopefully, give you more success, which will then boost your confidence.

but, more importantly, talk to the school counselor, and talk to a therapist. you have been diagnosed with a real disorder, and just because you managed to invent some coping mechanisms of your own doesn't mean those mechanisms will continue to give you success as you get older and your environments/demands change. therapists can help you figure out what you've been doing, why it used to work, why it may not be working anymore, and what you can try instead. you may have been misdiagnosed or prescribed a lousy therapy plan (the non-therapy plan). get a second opinion. you don't want to waste these years of your life--they will really set you up for a lot of what you want to do in the future.

good luck! there's help out there, don't be afraid to seek it.
posted by thinkingwoman at 8:45 PM on March 14, 2007

The reason that I am currently in law school is the direct result of two thing:

1) A decision to do so.

2) Admitting that my "self-control" of ADD was not working and that I needed medication, just like anyone else who has a chemical imbalance or other mental deficiency.

Look into the chemicals. While I don't advocate fixing everything this way, it has made a complete and total difference in the way my life is going - on more fronts than just academic. You *can* be a functional non-medicated ADD-afflicted person - however, the caliber of that life and your ability to achieve your goals can either be made much harder by deciding to go it alone, or better if you change your attack plans (maybe by adding medication.)

If you want to discuss this, my email's in the profile. Good luck.
posted by plaidrabbit at 9:31 PM on March 14, 2007

As a student and a teacher I don't have much sympathy for F students. In many ways, failing a class is more difficult than getting an A. You have to make a concerted effort to blow off the class and skip assignments. You have to try to fail.

You obviously haven't taken any difficult math or science classes, and you obviously have never had to cope with a learning disability.

I strongly disagree with BobbyDigital. Learning disabilities can be debilitating and I've seen people go from failing a class to acing it after getting medication. Get treatment for your ADD. Medication. If you're unwilling or unable to do that, read up on alternative treatments and coping mechanisms for adult sufferers of ADD. You can pass and do well at your classes if you concentrate and are organized. But you need some additional help too. Get treatment!!!

I have received a minimum of instruction as to how to overcome these conditions for the same reason.
You are in charge of your own learning. No more excuses. Use your university's learning skills resources as much as you can. Try to get a support network in place. Push for support and treatment. Show your counselors and therapists that you are making an active effort to manage your condition and you will be far more likely to receive support.
posted by sid at 9:36 PM on March 14, 2007

When I worked in online graduate education I spoke with the disability services coordinator (who had herself struggled through school with severe learning disabilities at a time when they were even more poorly recognized than they are now) at some length about these issues.

In the US a diagnosed learning disability must by law be recognized and reasonably accommodated by an educator, which must have policies in place and staff to apply them. You might want to determine if you have access to such resources. It might be a good time to review your diagnosis, and reconsider treatment options, as others have noted. The professional I worked with was very serious about helping and advocating for individuals with genuine learning disabilities. Sounds like you could use an advocate, particularly given the attitude, well displayed in this thread, that many have that it is all BS.

It sure sounds like for some reason problems you managed before are getting the better of you and I don't think "confidence" is a sophisticated enough answer. Work on improving your learning disability issues, medically and I'd hope with pros in the education environment who know what you're dealing with, perhaps look for less threatening educational opportunities in which to work things out while you do (i.e. non-grade, and/or non-credit?). Probably best not to beat up your transcript more until you feel like you are on top of it.
posted by nanojath at 10:53 PM on March 14, 2007

I was diagnosed with ADD last year at 31. Through my 20s I started and dropped out of university three times. Now I am getting As in my night classes and I'm returning to re-re-re-start a degree in the fall. I could never have done this without getting on a treatment plan. Things are not perfect and I still have bad habits from a lifetime of feeling so defeated by things. But I have come a long way in the past 6 months. Medicine isn't right for everyone, but I have never, EVER heard anyone say that having developed coping skills is enough to get you by. Why else would you have been diagnosed at all if not for experiencing difficulty coping? I encourage you to try it. You may be (as I was before I was diagnosed) wasting your life with this thing hanging over you. Don't be like me and spend your entire 20s like that!
posted by loiseau at 1:47 AM on March 15, 2007

I personally believe that learning disabilities are mainly the result of a failure to find a motivation that resonates with yourself.

I was kinda like that as well...my view was more that ADD was really just a normal reaction to the sped-up culture. Then at 39 I was diagnosed with it (not realizing all the intricate coping stuff I'd built up to get around it), and with a bit of medication, years of academic failure and significant lack of reading comprehension have turned around quite nicely.

Not that I think medication is the solution for everybody, but in your spot I would get another opinion on it. Perhaps at "that time" it was determined that you had found other ways to deal with it, but that might be different now, perhaps because you've reached a different threshold of challenges, so those workarounds aren't as effective.

hehe...don't be like me and spent your 20s AND 30s like that!...
posted by troybob at 1:35 PM on March 16, 2007

You don't have an email listed. I'm in YK also. Mefi meetup?
posted by ODiV at 12:04 AM on April 18, 2007

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