Ask Emma: Academic Slump

What do you do when you’re already behind at the start of the semester?



How can you stay on track with school without getting so stressed you fall behind?

SAYDEE PHOTHIVONGSA, Evergreen news editor

Editors note: Even though Emma Ledbetter has graduated, the Daily Evergreen has decided to continue the Ask Emma segment with a new author in honor of our friend Emma and all the people she has helped.

Dear Emma, 

I feel like a failure. It’s a few weeks into school now and I feel completely overwhelmed. I look at all of the assignments I have due through the semester and can’t help but stress about how much I still have to do. It seems like every time I complete an assignment, another one pops up in its place and I can barely keep up. 

To make things worse, I’m not doing well on my assignments. I know I am not giving my full effort on all of them, but I just have so much to do I feel like I can’t take my time on all of them.  I typically do well in school but my grades have already begun to drop from the A’s they started out as. The pressure of knowing that my grades are already slipping is becoming a lot to handle. I don’t want to fight through the whole semester feeling this way, I just want to succeed. 


Feeling Like a Failure 

Dear Feeling Like a Failure, 

First of all, I want you to know that you are not alone in feeling this way. I know from personal experience and from those around me that many students question if college is the right place for them at some point in their time here. You are NOT a failure! 

I can’t offer much on how to go about picking a different path to travel down, but what I can offer are things that may help pull you out of the academic slump.

My first little nugget of advice is to vocalize your struggles. I know what you’re probably thinking — have to tell other people I’m struggling? 

What I mean by this is to talk to people who can actually help you like your professors and TA’s. But even more so, your peers are worth talking to. If there’s anything I’ve learned in my years here, it’s that if you are struggling with a concept or a class, chances are you are far from alone. Reaching out to others around you can help you start to build a community to give you guidance. 

While you continue to work hard in your classes (I hate to break it to you, but it’s not going to be easy breezy) and reach out to your peers, remember to take breaks. You cannot be expected to work yourself to death over school. Make sure you have a healthy school-life balance and actively make time for yourself to do things that you enjoy. It seems you could use some more of that in your life. 

After all, an overworked horse will never win the race (Not that you’re a racehorse, but you get what I mean). 

While education is meant to challenge us, you certainly should not have to go through the semester (or the rest of your college career) feeling defeated and overwhelmed. 

I know all of this is easier said than done and the progress will not always be linear, but if that goal is important enough to you, you will make it happen. Good luck!