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Struggling on the Pathway to Success – Thoughts from a C Average Student

 

letter-1052665_960_720My name is Lee McPeters and this is my story.

So the first question on all of your minds is probably, “Why would he broadcast the fact that he is a C average student?” And my answer is that I accept it and am content with that fact. Now I don’t mean content as I only try hard enough to get C’s. I mean content because I know that I have tried and I know that I have gone through things that have made me struggle and have brought me to this point.  Throughout the last 5 years I have struggled with many health issues that have hurt my experience and performance. I can’t blame that as the cause of all my issues with school though, as I can sometimes be my own worst enemy. Procrastination, shame, and denial were all things I struggled with as well. I started my college life at a community college where my GPA was a 3.6. Graduating with my Associates Degree, I transferred to UAlbany and after my first semester my grades had dropped dramatically. I
am now in my 3rd year here at UAlbany and my GPA is a 2.5.

So although outside issues affected me greatly, there were things inside me that affected me just as much, maybe even more. I know now that I am not alone and I want to use this blog as a way to reach others like me so that you can gain hope from my experience and know you are not alone.

Iholzfigur-980784_960_720 wanted to write about this topic because I know I felt ashamed and alone. I felt like I was the only one who was doing poorly, and that I must not be good enough to succeed. I would tell people that I was doing ok and make it look like I was happy on the outside, while in reality inside I was fighting an inner struggle. I wouldn’t accept help from my parents, friends, teachers, or advisors. This only caused me to sink farther which led to denial. I would fall into the mentality of just being good enough. Thoughts like “At least I’m passing” or “If I fail it’s just one class, no big deal” started to fill my mind. All this time there were people and resources that were readily and easily available. All I had to do was ask. But my shame and my pride kept me from taking advantage of those resources. So although outside issues affected me greatly, there were things inside me that affected me just as much, maybe even more. I know now that I am not alone and I want to use this blog as a way to reach others like me so that you can gain hope from my experience and know you are not alone.

So a little about me: I am 23 years old, and a senior in standing. I started at UAlbany as a full-time student. I am now part-time. I work part-time as well. All these things lend to the experience I have had while in school and have made me the person, student, and worker I am today. All the way through high school I was home-schooled and it was an experience I will always cherish and I know it was influential in shaping me and my knowledge. Throughout high school I was active, participating in various sports. Rowing, skiing, and basketball were my three main sports. These activities kept me in relatively good shape as well as healthy. When I was 18, I broke my collarbone in a skiing accident. This led to my health declining and I believe it was the start of the issues that I have been dealing with for the last 5 years. Upon entering community college I adjusted well, as it was small and everything was easily hiking-1031383_960_720accessible. Over the 3 years I was there, I made friends as well as mentors who helped me succeed. When I transferred to UAlbany, the almost 360 degree change was overwhelming. Classes were now much larger, and I had to start fresh and make new friends and mentors. With this change, I started to retreat inward and the pattern of self-sabotage started. This continued until about a year ago when I realized I wasn’t alone and I had people and resources who were there for me and wanted me to succeed. Since then things have been much easier.” It is a slow journey but a journey that I must say I wish I started sooner, and I hope that my story will help others.


 

Your Comments are Welcome!

About the Author:

Lee MLee M. 
Class of 2017 | Transfer 
Major: Communication and English
Spring 2016 Blog Theme: Struggling on the Pathway to Success 
- Thoughts of C Average Student

 

 

Asking for Help is Smart

meadow-1082270_960_720.jpgPathways. According to Oxford Dictionaries (www.oxforddictionaries.com),  a pathway is “a way that constitutes or serves as a path. a way of achieving a specified result; a course of action.” Whatever you call it or how you define it, this concept of a journey or path through life is always on our minds. The future is always present in our thoughts and the decisions we make and how we spend our time impacts our futures. I mention this because in order  to overcome the obstacles I faced and start working to my full potential, I had to overcome my own mind and  find validation within  myself. As I have said, I was my own worst enemy and I want to help those of you who see the same things happening in your life.

As I slowly started my downward course thoughts of my future and what I would do crashed into my mind. I knew that even though college was not the only option for having future success, I knew that it was a very helpful and crucial process. I also definitely knew that failing in college would do nothing but hurt me in the future. Even as these thoughts filled my mind though, I started to rationalize them. I would tell myself that I would be fine, that I didn’t need anyone’s help, that I just needed to suck it up and work harder. But while this helped me for a time, that motivation would go away and I would fall back into the same routines and patterns of failure and self sabotage. So for me it took me hitting rock-bottom, my point-break, to realize that I needed help – that I could not do it alone.

refugees-1020266_960_720.jpgI share this because I do not want you to reach that place. Now I don’t want you to think that I think you are weak or unable to succeed on your own. I am sure that all of you are amazing individuals who have done and will continue to do amazing things in the future. Because of this I don’t want the struggles you may be going through now to hurt your potential in the future. I only mean to say that letting people in to help you is not a sign of weakness but just a way and a means to help you through the struggle. As Desiree Adaway, an expert in helping companies succeed, says, “Here is a secret: One of the fundamental building blocks of grit is understanding that asking for, and accepting help, does not equate to weakness. It is really a strength. A strength that expands your network and opens you up to increased opportunities.”

This was so true for me personally. One thing that hurt me the most, when I realized that I was just continuing to fail, was my pride. It was something that made me feel worthless, and not good enough. But when I finally opened up and let the people in that really could help me, I learned that I was not worthless and that seeking and accepting help was something that I needed to do and would only help me in the future.

So here we have come full circle to the future. As a concept, the future is daunting and something that can be scary. But it does not have to be. The combined effort of ourselves and those we are willing to let help us is amazing and powerful. Just remember that we are stronger as a group more than we are as individuals. Also, always remember to stay awesome and keep keeping it real.


 

Need Help? Click on the “Help Me” link on the menu above. UAlbany has a many academic, emotional, spiritual and social resources to help you make it through!


 

Your comments are welcomed and appreciated!

About the author:

Lee MLee M. 
Class of 2017 | Transfer 
Major: Communication and English 
Spring 2016 Blog Theme: Struggling on the Pathway to Success 
- Thoughts of C Average Student

HELP ME!

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Need Help? Don’t know where to turn?
Visit our table in the LCs  on Monday, March 21, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to see the plethora of academic and personal supports available to you!

Project MyStory blogger, Lee McPeters will be there to greet you and to talk about resources.  Check out his blog series: Struggling on the Pathway to Success – Thoughts of C Average Student See you soon!

My Trifecta of Support

flower-46217_960_720.pngSo I have talked a lot about not isolating yourself and how asking for help is a sign of strength and maturity – not a weakness. In this post I want to talk about three of the most important sources of help in my life, and hopefully show their importance to you as well. For me, the three most important sources of help and support are my family, my advisor, and my professors. They are sources I can rely on and that I know will always be there for me.

colorful-1220744_960_720.pngSo first, family. College is the first time that many people have been away from their families for an extended period of time. Whether they live from 2 hours to an entire ocean and continent away, the culture change is extreme. You have been placed in a living situation that is completely new to you, as well as a educational system that you have never been a part of before. Now some might gladly welcome this new freedom and independence, truthfully I believe everyone does embrace it to some degree, but we can not afford to forget those people with whom we have spent the first 18 years years of our lives.  Our family knows us better than anyone else and can help us through situations that we might not be comfortable talking about with anyone else. Now I know that not everyone has a good relationship with their families, but try and find even that one family member that you can connect to and have in your inner circle. Blood always runs thicker than anything else, and holds us together.

advising.pngSecondly, your advisor. Upon entering UAlbany, you were given an advisor. You had no choice in the matter, you were told who to talk to and who would help you through the process that is college. Yet these amazing people are some of the best resources you have on this campus. They are selfless and care deeply about you and want to see you succeed and be happy and prosperous. Upon choosing a major you may be given a new advisor inside your major’s department, yet don’t lose the connection with your first advisor. Use both to help you succeed. You can come to them with any issues and they will either help you or show you who can. Be honest with them, they will not judge you, they are there to help and nurture you as you grow and get used to this new environment as well as the progression and steady intensity that is the college life. My biggest mistake I ever made with my advisors was not being truthful or not accepting their help and I regret not taking advantage of them. Don’t make the same mistake.

teacher-309533_960_720Last but definitely not least, your professors. They, like your advisors are there to help you. They are not just people who teach you during class time and then vanish, they want to help. Most of the professors who I have gone to see outside of class have expressed happiness that I came to see them, most of them saying they wished more students would take advantage of them and their resources for help. I used to just accept that I would never understand the course material before I started going to my professors, but once I did, a whole new understanding, and a new way to study and learn opened up to me. Use your professors. It may be hard at first to admit you need help, but once you have overcome that obstacle the rewards are incredible. It is time to change for the better. Accept what is, let go of what was, have faith in what will be.

As always, keep being awesome, and push your boundaries, that is what they are there for.


About the Author:

Lee MLee M. 
Class of 2017 | Transfer 
Major: Communication and English 
Blog Theme: Struggling on the Pathway to Success 
- Thoughts of C Average Student

 


Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories –  their voices.

Sweat and Success

vintage-bicycle-825736_960_720.jpgSo in this post I want to talk about a topic that many people do not connect to mental health. And the topic is that of fitness…  Now, fitness is not all about going to the gym and lifting heavy weights or spending an hour on the treadmill or elliptical. Fitness could be anything from going on a 10 min walk or throwing around a football or frisbee with friends. Anything that gets you up and moving is fitness and has great benefits to your physical and mental health. Now you’re probably wondering why I am talking about this on a blog about academic struggles. For me I saw a huge benefit in just taking time to rejuvenate my body by exercising and I believe it can help you to.  There are a few reasons why fitness and being active can help your mental health and academic work.

Lee Post Quote
Quote by Lee McPeters
  1. Stress Reduction

One of the most common mental benefits of exercise is stress relief. Working up a sweat can help manage physical and mental stress. Exercise also increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress.

  1. Improve Confidence

As you get your body moving you will feel less stressed, but you also will feel better physically. Your body is made to move, and when you do move, your body will respond favorably. This, in turn, will boost your confidence and that spills over to other areas in your life as well.

  1. Alleviates Anxiety

For me, this was one of the biggest things I gained from starting to move and focus more on my fitness. Regular morning workouts kept my anxiety level down during the day. Another way in which it helped me also was while I was studying. While there were a few times I would stop studying and push out a quick workout, even just getting up for 5-10 minutes and taking a walk outside can help you calm down, re-focus, and even re-energize a little. Another thing I did when I had some time before an exam, was go for a 10 minute walk just let my mind wander and it really helped.

I hope that I have made the argument that fitness and moving around can drastically help you in academic ways as well. Whether you go to any of the quad gyms or just gather a few friends and spend some time outside, I hope you will feel better physically and mentally, as well as see changes in your confidence and academic performance. Do what you need to do, then do whatever is possible, and soon you will find yourself doing the impossible. As always stay awesome, and keep keeping it real.


 

About the Author:

Lee MLee M. 
Class of 2017 | Transfer 
Major: Communication and English 
Blog Theme: Struggling on the Pathway to Success
 - Thoughts of C Average Student

 

 

Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.

Procrastination

Procrastination. An unpleasant word. Something we don’t want to admit we do, yet it sneaks in and takes over when we don’t notice it. Procrastination is defined on Dictionary.com as, “the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention.”

When the pressure builds, procrastination takes over even stronger until the deadline is imminent and panic takes over. Work is then rushed and that which is produced is nowhere near the level of  what we are capable. Imagine what it might have been had we focused and did the work when we should have. Now, I am not, in any way, judging you if procrastination is something that you struggle with. I have done my fair share of it, and I still fall prey to it even now. It is a easy thing to fall snare to. I want to give you a few tools to help with procrastination.

  • Plan Ahead

calendar-1255953_960_720.jpgProcrastination usually comes into play when I am overwhelmed. When there is so much work in front of me that I have no idea where to start and the size of it all just overwhelms me. I found that one thing that really helped me was planning ahead. Plan a few hours every day for homework or studying. Break the time up based on the volume of homework you have for each subject and then stick to it as best you can. If you don’t finish everything you planned for that day it is ok, just move it to the next day. Plan accordingly. I found this helped and I find myself the night before an assignment is due, or the night before a test, and my work is either already done or it is small enough amount that it is manageable and I can be relaxed. Now I know that there is times when a large amount of homework is assigned, but still plan it out and you will achieve it.

    2)   Find a setting that works for you

cup-1276775_960_720.jpgOnce you have your time planned out, find a place that works for you to do your work. It could be your room, the library, even somewhere where there is a lot of people. Everyone is different and I’m not going to say that there is only one place you should study. Find what is right for you and make it part of your routine. You will find that just being in that designated environment will bring your mind to a place of thinking about doing work and studying and it will come easier to you.

   3) Stick to it

road-908176_960_720Finally, once you have steps 1 and 2 down, it is time for the follow through. Follow your plan, get in your environment, and do the work. You will find that a sense of accomplishment will come over you, and you will want to keep doing your work.


This may seem like a lot of planning and it might be intimidating to get into a new routine to help boost your accomplishments, but it is worth it. Remember, the resources you have and utilize them to help you achieve your goals. There will be days that you don’t accomplish what you wanted to or you just don’t feel like doing the work. But just push harder the next day. You can do it, I know you can. As always remember to stay awesome, and keep keeping it real.


About the Author:

Lee MLee M. 
Class of 2017 | Transfer 
Major: Communication and English 
Blog Theme: Struggling on the Pathway to Success
 - Thoughts of C Average Student

Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.

Is Going to Class an Option?

 

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In this post I want to talk about class. Many times we do not like class. There are times we do not want to go. Maybe we do not like our professors or the class is too boring, or too hard to understand. It is important to find class times that work for you.. If you are not a morning person, avoid the 8:15 am classes, but if you thrive better in the early hours, go for it. Also, make sure to go to every class unless it is impossible to do so. If you get in the habit of missing class, it will be easier to keep skipping and you will talk yourself into it much more easily. The same applies though to going to class. Have a good attendance record and it will become habit, and you will find yourself in every class. But there are two main reasons why class is so important. Continue reading “Is Going to Class an Option?”

Zzzzzs

baby-1151351_960_720.jpgIn this post I want to talk about sleep. Even as I write this, I am so tired and it feels like most of the time I am never fully rested. That’s why sleep is so important. Your body can’t function without sleep and it shuts down slowly, which is not good when you are trying to study or do anything for that matter. I understand that sleep seems like a fleeting thing while you are in school. 5 classes, maybe a work study or off campus job, and homework take up what seems like every waking minute of the day. Try throwing in having a basic social life and there goes even more time. Continue reading “Zzzzzs”

No Really, You are More than Your Grades!

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#MyStory #UAlbany blogger, Simonti, tabling about a similar topic. You are more than your grades and as you go through this season of finals, remember how special YOU are!

My friends, finals are coming. This final month of the semester happens twice a year, and it is probably one of the hardest months we as college students experience. Assignments seem to pile up, the pressure is on to get ready for next semester, and with everything pulling you in so many different directions, it is easy for panic to set in and anxiety to overwhelm you. Continue reading “No Really, You are More than Your Grades!”