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Success in College Guide: Step 8 of 9

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Get around roadblocks

So you thought getting into college would be the hard part. Unfortunately, challenges and roadblocks can surprise you at any time in your life. As you get used to your new surroundings and start on your college path, you will eventually come across roadblocks. Learning to overcome these obstacles will be as much a learning experience as your classroom education. Here are some possible ones that could rear their ugly heads.

"I bombed this term. My grades were awful."

You may have been a straight "A" student in high school, but now find it difficult to earn even a "B". Many factors lead to a decline in grades during college, including too many extracurricular activities, more demanding classes, and the stress of all that is new in your life.

When you get a bad grade, whatever you do, do not give up. Meet with your Academic Advisor to see if you need to make up any classes. Start working on time management skills to manage your priorities for school work. Get involved in study groups, and maybe even find a tutor. Low grades don't mean the end of your academic career, just a sign that you need to make adjustments.

"I'm broke."

Did you already spend all of your money for the semester and it's only October? Are you tempted to drop out of school and get a job? There are many options for financial assistance. Visit the Financial Aid Office. Talk to your family.

One option is working while you go to school -- if you have the time. Try and find a job on campus. They are typically more flexible with students' schedules.

"College is so stressful. I just don't know if I can do it."

There will be times when you feel completely overwhelmed and unequipped to handle all the pressures you face in college. Are you experiencing problems with your family or relationships, conflicts with a job, fear of failure? All of these can add stress, and just when you don't need it. Find someone to talk to. A counselor is a great resource, and so are family, friends and older students who have been through it.

"I'd just rather not do this right now. I know I will come back to it."

Some reasons for taking a break are valid, such as health reasons or military duty, but if you just feel like taking time off, think through it carefully. The longer you take off, the harder it can be to get back into the college life; you may find yourself out of practice. You could have more financial obligations in the future, and less time. One thing you have going for you now is that you are already here.

If you're feeling burnt out, acknowledge how you feel and then have a serious talk with yourself. Look back at all the successes you have had and all the roadblocks you've knocked down. Consider how far you have come and how much you have invested. Take a deep breath and imagine what it would be like to finish college and accomplish your goals. Maybe you'll find that little bit of motivation to help you keep going.

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