Usually when someone learns that I was one of the few and proud to have survived being on academic probation, they want to know my story. The problem is that one of the chapters in this story involves one key element: I stopped lying to myself.
It sounds pretty simple, and people usually agree with me on this with smiles and head-nods. However, the smiles quickly turn to frowns when I make it quite clear as to what the lies actually were.
Lie #1=”No One Wants To Help Me”
That wasn’t true at all. Now, I will admit that my academic program was pretty competitive, so people were not too anxious to share what they knew. But then again, I did not carry myself as a friendly person at first. I kept to myself in class and did not communicate (through body language, words or action) that I wanted to be a part of the group.
Lie#2=”They Are Too Smart For Me To Work With”
Nope, not true either. Sure, there were some really, really smart people in my classes, but I noticed something interesting when I did study with them. They didn’t just sound smart, they actually sounded prepared. They studied before they came to study with the group. They had their notes organized, they had already visited the instructor to ask questions, and they had caught up on any material that they may have missed. That was me AFTER academic probation, and definitely not before.
Lie#3=”They Don’t Like Me Because I Am A Minority”
The fact that some people in my classes were still living in 1954 was quite unsettling. I even had a girl stop dating me because her parents had a problem with my “house paint” being different. But that had nothing to do with my lack of study habits and research capabilities. I began to create my own study habits, revamped my study patterns, opened dialogue between me and my instructors, learned to build my personal vocabulary, and figured out the tricks to test taking. Once I did that, I actually had people making requests to study with them…and regardless of their “house paint” as well…
If you are not careful, you can find yourself more caught up with the excuses and lies than you are with the facts and solutions. Never be afraid to take a look at your situation from a different perspective. Visit a counselor or success center staff member to get their opinion. Speak with other students in the class to get an idea of how they are able to be successful. And above all, don’t allow excuses to take the place of hard-to-find answers.