View Full Version : Constantly failing college classes for over 10 years and counting

01-12-17, 05:52 PM
Perhaps this is the wrong place to post this, but I'm in desperate need of some support and knowing that maybe someone else is going through what I have.

As the title says, I have been working on my bachelor's degree for over ten years and I'm not even halfway through earning my degree--and that's not because I take time off or take one class at a time. This has been a secret struggle of mine that started around when I began high school, and it has only gotten worse over time. Or maybe I'm just wearing out my coping mechanisms. As a result, I fail classes left and right, even classes I'm interested in, because when it comes time to study, memorize homework, or write a paper, I completely flounder. For the absolute life of me, I can NOT do these things--but what's silly is that I know I have it in me, that I'm totally capable. But at the same time, I'm not--I've taken some classes four times and failed them all, classes I enjoy! This extends to work, too, as I've held many jobs for short periods of time and now have been unemployed for over five years.

I feel like a complete failure and I'm extremely upset about it. Treatment for bipolar hasn't help, treatment for anxiety hasn't helped, treatment for depression hasn't helped, therapy hasn't helped, meditation hasn't helped, good diet and exercise haven't helped... but about two months ago I was put on Wellbutrin and for the first time in a very, very long time, I felt totally "normal". I was able to record and organize information, create my own study guides, and write a paper! It felt like I had finally experienced clarity...until this past week. I've been feeling the effects of Wellbutrin wane little by little, and now I can't even concentrate or focus anymore--I barely passed my last quiz because I couldn't study for it beforehand.

I spoke with a few people about Wellbutrin's effect on me and my mom, counselor, and a college counselor told me they suspect I have ADD. I have a hard time believing it because before high school, I was a very high-achieving child. I've come to learn that both my dad and his mom have similar problems with focus, concentration, and memory. But they, as well as I, suffer from bipolar depression, so I have no idea what the case is. The college counselor urged me to see a psychiatrist, which just frustrates me more. I don't believe I have ADD or ADHD so I feel like this would be a waste of time.

Sorry for rambling! I really needed to vent.

Has anyone been or is anyone in the same situation as me? Have any of you flunked college again and again and again?

DJ Bill
01-14-17, 11:09 AM
I was in the top ten of my graduating high school class --- and failed miserably at college. I gave up after 3 or 4 tries on engineering and never looked back. I have this issue with pre-calc and anything after that. Silly math professors want the correct answer, not one with reversed numbers or my own version of addition. Go figure.
I'm a visual learner, so the mythical concepts of calculus mystified me.

I did end up taking an associates degree in a trade and went on to teach that for a few years. You really do not want to see my paperwork from back then.

Wellbutrin worked for a while for me with mainly depressive situations, but I ended up taking both it, sertraline, and ritalin with ok but not spectacular results.

01-14-17, 01:41 PM
What is the degree for? What would you like to do for living?
You already have an associate no?

If I were you, I'd take 6month off . Studying for 10yers college level classes , regardless of passing of failing , would take a toll on just anybody.

01-14-17, 02:45 PM
I had a similar situation, in terms of being a top student in high school and then hitting a wall in university. My ADHD is a clear obvious "textbook case"; even in the lists of non-diagnostic personal characteristics that people with ADHD often share, I check just about every box.

10 years is a long time. A really long time.

01-14-17, 04:44 PM
I seem to have hit a wall a loooong time ago, as I barely graduated from high school, thanks to art and music classes (my passions). With the exception of elementary school (where my life and environment were incredibly structured), I've been a terrible student my whole life.

No, I haven't earned an associates degree. In ten years of college, I've earned 45 credits--and almost all of them are in art or music classes. I'm majoring in art working towards becoming an art therapist, and one would think this would be one of the easier degrees to achieve....yet, here I am. :mad:

It simply isn't possible to take a break, I want this degree very, very badly--in fact, I need it. My job history is abysmal as I've had a majillion jobs and haven't lasted at any for more than four months. I just cannot work most jobs. I've even applied to Walmart and McDonald's three times, but have never received a call-back due to what I'm guessing is my abhorrent job history.

Right now I'm starting Intro to Psychology for the *fourth* time--and this is a subject I really like. I've failed half my art classes, failed algebra twice, failed remedial math twice, failed almost all of my psychology classes, barely passed English, and failed beginning French (another passion of mine).

01-14-17, 08:26 PM
What is an art therapist?

01-14-17, 10:49 PM
Definitely worth seeing a psychiatrist. You sound a lot like me. I was a brilliant student too till puberty sort of. Give the assessment a shot. If you get diagnosed with adhd or anything else and you still dint believe you have a psychiatric problem you don't need to take treatment. But it's worth getting a professional opinion on this

01-14-17, 11:01 PM
You can get "ok" grades at school. I got pretty average grades (Well probably just below if i'm being honest). But I always thought it was odd, considering my high IQ. My grades were never really relective of my overall intelligence. That's when I realized that something had been holding me back all of these years.

01-14-17, 11:10 PM
Have you ever been tested for learning disabilities This could be the reason for failing courses. this combined with other problems can play havoc on ones confidence level.

01-15-17, 02:02 AM
I second the suggestion that you find out about getting tested for learning disabilities (which are separate from ADHD).

Failing the intro-level class three times in a subject you like just doesn't make sense otherwise.

01-15-17, 03:09 AM
Can you do something else that is fulfilling for awhile?

01-15-17, 11:47 AM
john: An art therapist is a therapist who facilitates healing via artistic expression with various clients.

Fuzzy: Thank you for the encouragement

Fraser: My grades certainly aren't reflective of my intelligence (though I've grown to feel that they are), but they're not "OK" grades, they're solid Fs. 30 classes worth of them.

exel and dvd: From what little I looked into learning disabilities, I agree it sounds like I have them all: I can't read, I can't write, and I can't do math. I also skip class like an idiot.

sarah: No, there's nothing else fulfilling I can do for a while. I've been trying to find part-time work, but my job history is so bad that I'm not hearing anything back from any of the places I've applied... but it's no surprise, I haven't held a job in five years and everywhere else I've worked has only been for a few months at a time. I absolutely need and want this degree, and I am absolutely bound and stubbornly determined to earn it.

01-15-17, 12:08 PM
An art therapist is a therapist who facilitates healing via artistic expression with various clients.

Can you do it without a degree? Maybe some certificate? Do you need some state exam?

Would you have your own practice? Self employed?

It is an interesting occupation regardless,,,,I can imagine how effective it could be...there is a reason why masterpiece music ,art,sunset, nature can bring such strong emotions in people....I've never heard of art therapy , but I like the approach.

Are you able to use the information from the classes you passed? Once you learn something , are you able to recall it and use it ?

01-15-17, 12:40 PM
I absolutely need and want this degree, and I am absolutely bound and stubbornly determined to earn it.
When you finish school, your job history will be about the same as it is right now, give or take a few successes.

What is making you so determined to earn the degree? What is it going to get you?

I'm afraid there's far less magic in having a degree than you're hoping.

01-15-17, 01:54 PM
john, I need a master's degree and licensure to work as an art therapist.

dvd, you're absolutely right about having the same job history that I have now even after I've graduated. I'm determined to earn this degree because I really, really, really want to work as an art therapist, nothing else interests me, and getting a bachelor's degree will get me closer towards my goal. I fully understand that earning a bachelor's degree isn't the magic key to winning life, but it's the only way to get closer to my goals. Not to mention, I really want to "beat" whatever it is that's been holding me back my whole life--I'm a bit competitive, even with myself.

DJ Bill
01-15-17, 07:14 PM
I'm sure you've heard the definition of insanity.....doing the same thing over and over again each time expecting a different result. You can't just try harder. Something has to change. Change is scary, but if we don't change we stagnate and rot. After 30 F's, maybe you need to find out why, instead of getting any more. Take a break from school.

Only my advice, worth 1/2 of what you paid. Or not.

DJ Bill
01-15-17, 07:16 PM
10 years is a long time. A really long time.

There's great wisdom in that statement!

Little Missy
01-15-17, 07:21 PM
It is time to ride a different bicycle. :)

01-16-17, 05:27 PM
I went to see a therapist today and she told me I had ADHD--I have all the symptoms.
In a few days, I'll meet with a psychiatric nurse practitioner to start medication.

I really hope that this is why I've been having problems for so, so long.

01-20-17, 11:42 PM
Yes. I have the rare bragging right of failing out of a semester system, a quarter system, and a trimester system... in each case, due to incomplete work or the inability to life the fog and read/write. It's amazing really, because while I was stuck on a ship I was reading some of the most difficult non-fiction imaginable without flinching... but as soon as I had to get work done on a definitive timeline... *pop* I started college in 1999... haven't fished yet. I have four years worth of credits but no degree and I've probably been in about eight years worth of classes now, so maybe I'll actually finish by the twenty year mark, with any luck?

Granted, I took years off in between and spent six years in the military... but still. It's been a roller-coaster. You aren't alone. I sent you a PM if you want to talk on a more personal level in regards to this stuff.

01-20-17, 11:43 PM
I second the suggestion that you find out about getting tested for learning disabilities (which are separate from ADHD).

Failing the intro-level class three times in a subject you like just doesn't make sense otherwise.

It doesn't make sense... but I've done it too. Eight hours of neuropsych testing, and only mild problems observed. My problem is solely a matter of ADHD with maybe a sprinkle of depression/anxiety just to keep it interesting.