How could this happen to me?
College is harder than high school. If you are living on campus, you are now also in charge of setting priorities and managing your time without the safety net of your loving parent. Because you are often taking only 3 or 4 or 5 classes, you seem to have a lot of free time. And you were successful in high school, so just doing what you did in high school seemed like it should be enough, right?
Figuring out the Consequences
Academic Probation: What is it?
So, What Really Went Wrong? Personal Challenges.
What Else Went Wrong? Potential Institutional Challenges.
Setting Up Success: Personal Responsibility
How do you do that? There are things you can do on your own, such as securing appropriate medical treatment, therapies, and practices. You should do that.
A good place to start is your pediatrician or family doctor. Tell them what went wrong at school in terms of physical health, mental health, distractability, and so on. Talk about things that you knew you needed to do but did not seem to be able to get done. Talk about how you wish things have turned out. And talk about whether you have identified issues that could use a closer look by a specialist.
One specialist that you should definitely look into is a psychotherapist with experience working with college students like you. You should find someone who understands your interests and your priorities and with whom you could develop a trusting relationship. Your psychotherapist can help you understand how things are going, create strategies to improve how things are going, and simply help you document what is going wrong so that you can express that to other members of your healthcare team. At this stage of the pandemic, most psychotherapists can meet via videoconference, so they will be able to continue to meet with you once you are back on campus.
The other specialists that you need will depend on what you are experiencing.
Setting Up Success: Institutional Responsibility
At the same time, there are also things that the school will do to help make things more manageable.
You will need to get registered with the college's department that oversees accommodations and disability services. They will need documentation from your doctors identifying the medical and behavioral conditions that underlie your need for accommodations, describing the disabling functional impacts that your conditions entail.
The college accommodations specialist will be able to help you anticipate the problems that may arise as a result of your situation, and identify ways to neutralize the problems. So, if your anxiety makes it impossible to complete an exam in the regular exam room, they can help you make arrangements to take tests in an "alternate setting" that provides less distractions and allows you to take breaks to keep yourself calm. If you have trouble reading long texts, they can secure audible versions of your texts. If your intermittent migraines or IBS cause you to lose several days of consciousness a month, they can help you secure extensions for work that comes due during an attack. The key is to be specific about what could go wrong so that plans can be made to deal with the situation.
A Note About Anxiety
I have worked with many students who struggle with anxiety.
Anxiety is often under-treated for a variety of reasons. Some people don't like the idea of medications. Others think that overcoming anxiety is matter of will power or character. Still others think it shows weakness and will prevent you from seeking future opportunities. Some think working with a therapist is some sort of quackery.
Here's the bottom line: you are better off doing well academically while treating your anxiety than you would be bombing classes on a regular basis. Failing academically takes a terrible toll on your self esteem, and it is an exceptionally expensive way to do school because classes need to be retaken (or worse yet, you give up and never get your college degree).
In my experience, anxiety is one of the more dangerous conditions to your academic success and to your overall well-being. Please find the courage to pursue practices, therapies, and medications that help you work to your full potential.
Navigating All of It.
All the little details involved in sorting out your academic status, changing your habits, securing appropriate healthcare, and securing appropriate accommodations can be overwhelming. I work with students sort out their challenges, discern their interests and strengths, and secure the administrative support they need to get back on solid footing. If I can be of service on your journey, please contact me.
Shepherding our children to adulthood demands our love, our attention, and our acceptance of who they are.