I’m Average. Should I Drop Out?

Jatna’s having a rough time with college. It’s been harder for her than high school was, and she has that gnawing feeling that she wasn’t meant for it. That she should quit.

First of all let me say that I absolutely love this blog, it has helped me get through some pretty tough times while at school.

Thanks for saying so! Most of the time I just feel like a jackass at a computer, so when you guys tell me that I’m actually helping you out, it makes me feel really good.

No caption necessary, eh?

With that said I do seem to be having a problem.


I was an A and B student in high school and so that is what I was accustomed to getting, that all changed when I got to college. Freshman year started out strong but soon after I just shut down. I don’t come from a family who knew what American college was about so it made it hard to ask for advice from any of them.

I’ll assume that, by “shut down,” you mean you’re just having trouble pulling those same grades in college.

Many of my friends were still getting A’s and B’s while my transcript is only lightly peppered by them.

I have a feeling I’m going to be repeating this theme a lot during this post, but let me break the seal here — C’s get degrees, baby. A’s are not required to graduate. Neither are B’s. End of story. No, really, I mean it — end of story.

I am hovering right now with a 2.1 GPA and I am ready to just get out.

Keep that exact GPA, and you’ll graduate from the program you’re in.

I am 21 years old and was hoping to graduate with two bachelors (if the president of my school decides to make the final decision to create that major) degrees but I am already 21 years old and I won’t be graduating with my class.

1) If the pres doesn’t allow the double bachelor’s, then believe me, one is just fine.

2) I understand that you feel like you’re ALREADY 21 years old — but the rest of the world sees you as ONLY 21 years old. And they’re right. You aren’t behind or lagging. You’re 21 and in college, on track to graduate. Perfect. Zero defects.

3) Try not to feel too married to your “class” in college. It’s not the same as high school. Lots of extremely smart people will not graduate in four years, for a variety of reasons, bad and good.

Some will party so hard they’ll fail classes, and that’s why they won’t make it in four. Some will take their time exploring different majors before they settle into one. Some will spend a year abroad. Some will just relax a little and take their time.

All of these things, in the long run, are totally fine. Even the hard-partying example. None of these things excludes you from learning a lot of stuff, getting a degree and getting into a great career.

Long story short: this isn’t the end of the world. You don’t have to get straight A’s to be successful or feel good about yourself. As my counselor, the marvelous Lynette Quast, might say, you’ve got some serious negative self-talk going on here, Jatna.

And I’m not making light of it, because I’ve been through the same thing before in my own life — but I’m sure as hell going to point it out and rattle your cage a bit about it, because the first thing you gotta do is recognize that a lot of this is self-inflicted, and then you can begin to stop inflicting this brand of perfectionism on yourself.

I love history and love the classes that my major has to offer but it’s like I don’t feel like I can graduate anymore. My friends will be graduating next semester and I won’t be walking alongside them.

Yes, you certainly can graduate. You have a 2.1, which will get you a degree. And your friends won’t care. Plus, you can make plenty of new friends who are graduating with, before, and after you.

But this isn’t about anyone else but you, and that’s where you’ve got to focus. As they say in the Dominican Republic, Jatna (wink-wink), “El que quiere moños bonitos tiene que aguitar halones.” Gringos, this means, “if you want long hair, you gotta pull it tight” — if you want something, you best be willing to work hard for it.

Are you working/studying as hard as you can right now? If not, then start pullin’ it tight and spend more time studying. If so, then maybe you need to take one fewer class per semester. Yes, it’ll prolong your time in school, but again, there’s nothing at all wrong with that.

Watching my grades take that plunge has killed my confidence in school and my advisor pretty much thinks I am worthless and won’t be able to ever get into grad school.

Well, you may not be able to get into grad school if your GPA doesn’t get up to a 3.0. That’s true (and actually, very thoroughly discussed in this post about getting into grad school with a low GPA). That doesn’t mean you’re worthless, a feeling I suspect is coming more from you than your advisor.

I feel like I have completely let myself and my family down and now I am really thinking about dropping out.

I don’t know your family, but even if they’re the kind of family that actually would be let down by anything less than total dominating excellence to the point where your farts smell like fresh-baked bread and the tiles you walk on light up like Michael Jackson in the “Billie Jean” video — wouldn’t they be more disappointed if you quit than if you graduated, allbeit with a C average?

Even when I studied abroad in Japan I couldn’t take school seriously because I don’t feel like I am smart enough to finish.

Wait…you’ve done a year abroad? In Japan, no less, one of the few countries where only a small percentage speak ANY English whatsoever? And I believe you’re also bilingual, are you not? And you still don’t think you’re smart enough to finish?

Should I drop out of school and just end this whole cycle of feeling horrible if I don’t get an A in a class?

I think you know what I’m gonna say by now, but anyway — no, of course you shouldn’t drop out. There are plenty of good reasons to drop out of school — you’re hospitalized from a car wreck, you’re broke and can’t pay tuition, you have new triplets at home that need their mother, you’ve been invited to tour with Justin Timberlake as a backup dancer, etc.


I’m being firm here for a reason, but I don’t want you to think I’m making fun of you, either. It’s clear that you’re taking it very hard, this whole not-getting-A’s thing. And there are two things you can do about that: a) start getting better grades, or b) stop caring so much about excellent grades.

I propose a combination of both. Don’t anyone misinterpret my “C’s get degrees” comment as a license to half-ass your way through school. I think you should work as hard as you can to learn all that you can. If doing that gets you A’s — outstanding! If it gets you B’s and C’s…that’s fine, too.

If, despite busting your hump to the absolute maximum, you get mostly D’s and F’s, then college is probably not for you. But you’re not in that group.

A buen hambre no hay pan duro. When you’re hungry, no bread is too hard to eat. If you want it, work hard and go get it. Don’t let anyone — including yourself — talk you out of what’s yours.

— I know some of you are licking your chops to get in on this one. What should she do? Is she being a little hard on herself? Any C’s-get-degrees stories out there? Let us know in the comments below.

60 thoughts on “I’m Average. Should I Drop Out?”

  1. DO
    If anything, just hang in there by a thread and get your degree. ALL YOU NEED IS A DEGREE, who cares about the GPA!

    Bachelor’s Degree :$52,200
    Some College: $36,800
    High School Graduate: $30,400

    You will earn THAT MUCH MORE just by having the stupid piece of paper. Just hang in there, I swear, it will be worth it. Nowadays you need a degree for even meager jobs because of the competition. It will be worth it! I’m getting a degree in Cultural Anthropology, taking classes I love, have no idea what i’m going to do but i’m getting by. Trust me!

  2. Stay the course and try your best. A 2.1 GPA from a graduate looks a hell of a lot better than a 2.1 GPA from a dropout.

    Re: grad school; you may not have the option to go to grad school right out of undergrad, but that’s not the worst thing. A superb couple of years’ working experience with strong recommendations from supervisors can do a lot to airbrush that transcript and get you into places you never would have had a chance at straight after graduation. If you actually are bilingual, you should have some great opportunities for really impressive-looking work experiences. Employers (and grad schools) also seem to look on study abroad pretty fondly.

    Good luck!

  3. Wait, so the options are either being a college drop-out or going to grad school for an advanced degree? WHat do you plan to do if you do drop out?!

  4. Speaking as someone who started college late in order to go abroad and will probably not even be graduating with the class that I started COLLEGE with–don’t worry about it!

    I can be a total hard-ass on myself as well. It’s tough to be used to As and Bs and then suddenly find yourself doing worse than you think you ought to be. Recognise that the fault isn’t in yourself. College classes are different from high school classes. They often require a very different set of skills than we learned in high school, and that’s fine! It takes time to get into the groove.

    You like learning and you like travelling, both of which are things that will keep you going in life for a very long time, even after you’ve graduated (yes, graduated!) college. If you have some other issues going on, like depression, it’s a good idea to chat with someone about it, whether that’s a friend or a professional.

    But Jatna, you have way too much going for yourself to give up on university now. The experiences you’re describing don’t sound like the experiences of a failure, so don’t think of them as failures.

    There. Pep talk over. Go at it!


    Seriously, you WILL regret it. Plus, just think of how amazing it will be when you graduate and look back on how you didn’t quit when times were hardest. MOST [Seriously, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise] people graduate in 5 years instead of 4, and some [like me] seem to be perpetual students! I’m currently in the process of applying to grad school for a discipline that I didn’t major OR minor in, so I’m having to take a few classes to meet the requirements of the program. At first, when I found out I wouldn’t be able to get in right away without taking these classes, I came really close to just calling it quits. But I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing than this program, and I’ve decided to stick with it. These days, a degree is worth a lot and a higher degree is worth even more. Stick with it and you’ll be happier in the long run. Especially if you stick with what you’re passionate about.

  6. I got a degree back in 1982 with a 2.0 average. Then went back to school many, many years later and got another degree with a 3.85 average.

    Neither one of my degrees has my GPA printed on it…. (although one does say magna cum laude) 🙂

    Either way, I have two degrees. Nobody knows what my gpa was unless I tell them or they see my old transcripts.

  7. Mark P., PhD Candidate

    I can understand the discouragement, but do not give up. I received my undergraduate degree in marketing and graduated in 1993 with a 2.9 GPA and I NEVER STUDIED. I did even worse in high school because I didn’t care at the time…and that was back in 1987. I grew up being told I was stupid…seriously…even by the teachers!!! Come to find out I discovered I had an IQ of 155 and since I had nobody to encourage me or emulate at home, I believed what I heard and fell victim to myself.

    I ended up getting into the workforce and have been downsized four times so far. The basic premise to my downsizing was my dispensibility to my employer. As a result, in 2007 I decided to go back to school and was accepted into an MBA program and graduated with a 4.0 GPA in 2008 with a double major in operations management and finance and accounting. A good explanation letter along with work and life experiences helped me to get into the program. Upon graduation the economy was in such disarray, I decided to keep going, buckle down and do whatever I had to in order to get my terminal degree (PhD) in leadership. My goal is to be the last person let go during the next downsizing phase. As of September, I completed my coursework with a 3.8 GPA and am in my comprehensive exam right now. I should be done with it in the next week…thank God!

    What I am getting at with my rambling is to keep your eyes on the prize and do whatever it takes to survive. I am doing it full-time with my wife being the only wage earner and my unemployment running out this week with a 9 and 5 year old and a newborn at home. To top this, I am on two different medications in an attempt to manage my ADD. I could take the pity-party-path of “whoa is me”, but I choose not to because I am so focused on those three prized letters….PhD…. I think it has a nice ring to it. I never would have considered myself PhD material 20 years ago. Don’t sell yourself short like I did. You will be sorry…I am living proof of what a pity-party can do to not only your confidence but your life. I will never attend another one!

    For me, my prospects for the future seem brighter than they were even with my MBA. I have already been encouraged by the local college here to teach. I will likely take them up on it when I figure out my approach to my dissertation….once I select a topic.

    Don’t worry about your double major either. I am dead serious about it because after I graduate with my PhD, I am going back to finish what I need to get my undergraduate in Accounting. This is so I can add CPA to my title and be even more useful in the workplace. You do not have to go through the process again. You only have to complete the requirements for the degree. In my case it is just a few classes (seven of them, I think).

    Don’t fight to stay stupid!

    1. Thanks for your post! It was just the words of encouragement I needed. My story is long and a bore, but similar to yours. I have returned to school to pursue creative energies and leave the systems architecture business and background behind – sort of. I was told constantly growing up that my family and church were holding me back, but I abided by their wishes and their ‘plan’. Didn’t work out well at all. It’s not that I am not happy… I know your not my therapist and my ADD can’t stand this thread much longer – BUT THANKS!!


    2. Its 3:18am and I can’t sleep because I’m 22 in a junior college with a few more semesters before I can transfer. I’m ready to call it quits and not go after my BA. I’m the first person in my family to attend college with not a clear guide, and didn’t know what I wanted to study. After reading this, fuck everyone, I’m getting my degree, and I don’t care if it takes me a few more years. After my degree, I’m pursuing a Masters. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Professional Student

    Hello Jatna,
    I understand what you are going through during my freshman year in college I ended the year with a 1.6 and I felt like crap. However, I soon realized that I am not in college for anyone but myself. So I started to take less classes each semester and I also took a few classes over. i ended up graduating with a 3.1 because of that. Even If it was a 2.1 I still would of been happy because a college degree is great accomplishment. What I am trying to say is do not drop out. You should like your having a rough time but you sound like a very intelligent person that will contribute to the field you want to go in. C’s do equal degrees and if you really want to go to grad schools start contacting some of the ones you want to go to and ask them for some advice as well. Jatna as I was told many times before keep your head. You may think dropping out is the right decision now but I promise that you will regret it in the future . I know because I have so many friends that have dropped out. Take care and I hope that this helps.

  9. DO NOT DROP OUT. I have been in your position, and I promise you dropping out will only lead to regrets.

    Like you, I got As and Bs in high school, did about the same my freshman year of college, and then started to see my grades slide. I was accepted into the competitive Japan study abroad program, but lost my spot when my GPA dipped to 2.45 and decided to drop out because I felt like I was failing anyway and that I couldn’t finish my degree. It was the worst decision of my life, and the only one that I have ever truly and deeply regretted. I gave up everything I had worked for – my activities, my friends, even my boyfriend – without a fight, and I spent the next year wishing I was back at school.

    Now I am almost 22 and taking classes at a community college while working full time half a continent away. I’m building a new social network, enjoying new classes, and not letting myself stress so much over my GPA. If I pass with an A in every class, wonderful! If not, I still learned new and interesting things. As long as *I* know that I put in my best effort, I won’t let that number drag me down.

  10. Dear Jatna,

    From the bottom bottom bottom of my heart… I’m in your boat. The exact same boat. I’m really not doing well in college, despite having the most awesome grades in high school… seeing B’s and C’s on my transcript is awfully demoralising and discouraging right now… and I do feel like I’m letting loved ones down because they are going though a lot to fund me through college, and the amount of effort I’m putting into my work really doesn’t show in the results… So I’ve ended up reducing the amount of work that goes into school – it’s just a stupid endless cycle. Now I think graduation might be put off an extra semester because I have too much of a workload to complete before Dec 2011.

    So I guess what I’m trying to say is… you’ve got people with you… please don’t drop out of college… if you need to, which I’m sort of sure you do, take time off to sharpen your blade before you come back to saw at your tree. It’ll totally be worth it. Take up something your passionate about (look for a new hobby), and whatever you learn in class, learn for yourself hun, not for your GPA. At the end of the day, employers care more about what you can bring to the organization, and who you are, as opposed to a stellar GPA and a shitty personality.

    Hope this brightens your day up a little. Chin up, girlie… 🙂

  11. Totally agree with Claireanne, Mark, Polina, Jess, and Pam G.
    Hire a tutor if you need help with the tougher classes. Study groups are also a good idea. Just do not quit!! There are few jobs right now, so you have plenty of time to make the effort to invest in yourself and your future with your degree. Multiple degrees or minors are common and need a five year plan. It is easier to get it accomplished now than later in life. Print all of these good comments and post them where you can read them every day. We are your cheer leaders!

  12. I too am a C-average student. I def get A’s and B’s in some classes, but even the ones central to my degree, I get C’s. I’m not always happy about it, but I just found out I need just 4 more classes and I’ll have my assoc. of arts and assoc. of science degrees. Dude, just 4 more classes, no way would I consider dropping out now just b/c I have C’s on my transcripts.

    Q: how many classes are left in your degree program? If you say 4-5, I say STAY IN SCHOOL!

    Does your university/college provide a 1-credit college study course? Or even free tutoring? When I take college algebra in the spring, I’m def getting a tutor. Sure I could get by with a C, but I want that A!

    ~Best of Luck~

  13. You made this plan with an intent to finish college. Dont part from that. Having a backup plan, which m sure you do, is giving yourself repaeat license to fail every time. I am at West Point. Believe me when I tell you, once you get past the suck, college is one of the most worthwhile things you can do.

  14. A few years after you graduate and you GPA won’t matter much, if at all. It might not even matter when you graduate as you don’t have to put your GPA on your resume and some employers might not ask or care. At least get the degree, especially since it sounds like you are so close.

    I’m typically an A student myself and I don’t even like Bs, which I do get, so I can understand the frustration of not living up to your own expectations. It can wear you down and make you not want to even try anymore. I know it’s probably hard, but like Josh said you’re probably going to have to let go of the need for As and Bs at this point. Perhaps if you feel a desire to go back later, you can do better, but for now I’d graduate with what you have.

    You can still do plenty with a 2.0 or so GPA; you don’t have to let it hold you back.

  15. Thank you so much for responding to my question and thank you everyone who responded. After reading this I printed it out and taped it to my dressing room mirror. Thank you so much. Oh and yes I am bilingual but recently I have been trying to become either tri or quadlingual lol (I don’t know if thats a word), which means I am adding Japanese and Chinese to my language arsenal. Again I can’t say thank you enough. By the way if I dropped out I was thinking of instead of being a part time barista (my current job) I was thinking of just going full time and just getting another job. I am so thankful that you guys were able to answer to my message, especially you Josh I know that you must get hundreds of emails a day. Again thank you to everyone, I’m glad being average isn’t such a bad thing. Arigatou Gozaimasu Minna (thank you everyone)!

  16. Stop worrying about GPA and definitely listen to what everyone on here is saying; DO NOT DROP OUT!

    I am a total “C’s-get-degrees” example. I graduated as an engineer with a 2.55 GPA, my priority in school was to intern and get work experience and I did not stress out about what my GPA was as long as I was passing. I used to be that same A & B student in high school but when I got to college, I realized that learning something in class is way more important that attempting to memorize virtually everything in every class so I can get perfect test scores.

    My 2.55 GPA and intern experience managed to get me a job out of college making about 70k per year, with bonuses. Not too bad for an average graduate??

    Live by what Josh said – If you want it bad enough, work as hard as you can to get it, but don’t put yourself down for not having some sort of “perfect A+ GPA”, there are tons and tons of “average” graduates out there that are pretty damn successful in their careers.

  17. Hey Jatna, just want to say that you should definitely keep on strutting with college. It’s hard sometimes I know, I’m 22 and in my senior semester, and many people from my high school already graduated 2 semesters ago!
    So I feel your pain… Also with the 2.1 GPA, you could always bring it up. I had a 2.4 GPA once, a long fall from my Freshman scholarship(life was tough) days, I managed to make it to the deans, then the presidents list for a few semesters before I transferred. Take as few classes as you can handle, thats the way I was forced to work my way back up. If your thinking of becoming trilingual, you should definitely stay in school. There are many high paying government jobs that would love a college graduate who can speak Japanese and/or Chinese.

  18. Hi, Jatna!
    I’m also a C student. I attended a community college initially, then, when some people told me that 4-year colleges don’t always accept college credits from a community college, I just went to a 4-year university–and regret my decision even now. My GPA plummeted to a 0.8, which was my fault because I didn’t apply myself the way I should have. It took me two years before I was able to raise my GPA to a 2.1. At that university, I’m considered a sophomore with a 2.1 GPA (as of this past spring semester). This fall, due to my probation, I returned to the community college I left. Once I transfer my credits from the university, I’ll be nearly halfway to earning an associate’s degree. Despite going through all of that, among other problems, I still refuse to give up on getting my bachelor’s. So don’t give up on your education or yourself because you don’t have the GPA you once had and don’t put yourself in a time frame that may not be right for you. Know yourself, your limits and your level of endurance. If you can’t take 15-18 credit courseload without getting C’s, then reduce the hours to get the grades you want if that’s what it takes (and if I’m wrong about what the problem is, ignore the advice). Whatever your specific circumstances are, it’s still wonderful that you made it as far as you have, that is reason enough to celebrate. Don’t stop–keep moving forward!

  19. I, too, am a C student (for now). I started attending a community college four years ago. Listening to the advice of a few students who told me that 4 year universities don’t usually accept too many credits community colleges, I started attending a four-year university. That was a big mistake that has cost me time already and will cost me money in the future. My grades plummeted to a 0.8 because I didn’t apply myself. It took two years for me to bring my GPA to a 2.1, but I did it. Unfortunately, the damage I did was done and at that university, I’m a sophomore with a 2.1 on academic probation as of this past spring.
    This fall I’m back at the community college where I started, getting the foundation I should have already had. Despite seeing high school classmates (and some of their younger siblings) beat me to a bachelor’s, I refuse to give up on getting mine. So don’t beat yourself up because you don’t have the GPA you once had, or your classmates are graduating before you. Know yourself, your limits and your endurance. What may be the right courseload for them may not be the same for you, especially if the reason you’re getting C’s is because of 15-18 credit hour courseloads (if it’s not, then you can ignore). All in all, whatever your exact circumstances, you’re very close–that’s reason enough not to give up on yourself or your education. Just keep moving forward until you get it!

  20. I am seriously thingking of dropping out myself as well…I just don’t understand how I can help others and they ace in everything, and when I try for myself, I can’t seem to cutt it…I don;t know what to do…kinda feel like Im at a stand still with college…

  21. Hi, I have had the same feeling as you, I was a really good student in high school and when I got to college I wasn’t making those same grades. What I have learned on this journey is:

    1. College is meant for a realization of life; you need to learn what real life is like, we are not all geniuses and grades do not denote how smart you are.
    2. Graduating on time is for the birds; I am 22years old, I will be graduating at 23, I started college on time and feel no way about being in college longer only because of the experiences I have, I hope that you have gained experiences through joining organization on campus, doing community service or something that helps people overlook that you have a low GPA. I am very active in the community and that has helped my resume so much because that shows I care about more than just getting an A.
    3. Do not be afraid to talk to your professors, many professors have student’s best in mind, attend office hours show that you care about your grades, study way before exams. If you have issues taking exams, which many people do not know that they do, many schools have programs that can help be a better test taker and they work with your professors.
    4. Take it easy on yourself, having your Bachelors Degree is the accomplishment not your GPA. I have many friends who have recently graduated with amazing GPA’s and is doing absolutely nothing with there life. I have had way more experiences in my field then they have with a low GPA.

    STAY CONFIDENT, sorry this is so long but I hope you find encouragement

  22. Thank you to every commenter on here, Jatna and Judge Josh!
    I’ve actually been going through something pretty similar and…things have been so complicated, but your advice has been really encouraging.
    Most of my classes have been out of the C-range except for the ones (2) that really matter–bummer. But I’m learning. Learning at what cost, but learning. I just hope I won’t be removed from my School or another competitive program I’m in as everything today seems to depend upon GPA.
    Well, soon the semester will be over and things will finally settle. No matter what, I will not allow my GPA, good or ‘bad,’ to define me. I won’t give up and neither should anyone else in a similar situation. We’ve just got to keep putting our best foot/feet(?) forward 🙂

  23. Don’t even consider dropping out as an option…you’re almost done. Just hang in there, get the stupid paper, and move on with your life. And don’t be so hard on yourself. Remember that no one is perfect, and everyone has strengths (as do you!). So focus on your strengths and cheer yourself up. You literally have a million more opportunities to get a job with a bachelor’s (and most employers don’t care about your GPA). Get some experience after school and then apply to grad school if you really want. But you really need to get the degree, no question. Just go, find someone to help you, talk to your professors and ask them what you can do to pull your grades up a little, even ask your friends to help if you have classes with them. But you really have to finish. If you leave, you will definitely regret it. College is now a necessity to make it in the real world. But remember that there is a whole real world, outside of college, where you can develop yourself and learn skills that have nothing to do with school. And you can be successful there post-college, but in order to make it easier to get to that point, YOU NEED THE DEGREE FIRST (this applies to 99% of people, I think).

    And think about it, what will you do when you leave? Okay, you’ll feel better because you won’t be getting “average” grades, but then what? How do you expect to eventually support yourself independently? You can’t live on 36k a year for the rest of your life. I mean, you can, but you don’t have to. Just get the paper, and be happy 🙂 Things could be a lot worse.

  24. Don’t lose hope!

    I was in the same place at your age and did not get great grades either. After a couple more years, I am stretching out my bachelors after a break from school, I am now at a 3.3. It can be done, just stick with it, take some ‘easy’ classes that you like to get back in the higher range. Maybe even take fewer classes so you have more time to study 🙂


  25. I wouldn’t drop out forever, but you may want to think about taking some time off if possible. I know taking time off to reevaluate what my priorities were in life helped me tremendously in finishing school. Before my break from school, I was just unconsciously going through the motions and trying to get A’s and B’s, it was when I stopped fretting about grades and I began to make a conscious effort towards actually understanding what I was learning that I stopped caring about grades, and was more concerned with knowledge for knowledge’s sake. I think a lot of us get caught in the routine of mindless memorization and anxiety over grades. I suggest try taking a break and discovering what your heart tells you, or experiment with some other area of studies which you may find you are perhaps even more passionate about. Best of luck to you.

  26. I was in a very similar situation last year. I graduated from high school with a 3.9 gpa, had a really solid SAT score (>1300/1600), got a full ride in academic scholarships to a state university; but alas, after 3.5 years at that university I had lost all my scholarships and only attained a 2.45 gpa–in Psychology. And as we all know, a BA in Psychology in and of itself will not land you a well paying job. The best one I’ve heard of thus far was one a friend of mine had at a bank that garnered her 14k/yr. So, yeah, I was most definitely not attracted to the notion of graduating with that, especially since it would’ve kept me from qualifying for other types of financial aid like Pell grants. Luckily, though, I realized all this before the end of my semester at university and transferred to a local community college. I’m still going to this community college, and am planning on graduating in Summer ’12 with an AS in Nursing that will be nationally recognized. After I get done here, I’ll be attending a different university in my state to do an RN-to-BSN bridge program, and I hope to eventually go on and get my MSN. I’ll be able to do all this, because I am, and will be, sporting a much higher gpa (currently a 3.8). Depending upon what your degree(s) is in (i.e. if you’re majoring in something whose job field requires more of a portfolio collection to get hired, your gpa won’t matter very much; it’ll be your artwork itself) I would suggest that you do something similar to what I did. I would transfer. You should transfer. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a community college–it could be another 4 year institution. (Part of the reason why I chose my specific route was because I didn’t have a lot of money to be spending to go to a 4 year institution for 7 years.) Either way though, a 2.1 gpa in a non-art/fashion design major isn’t gonna get you too far. You’ll eventually have to augment it with something else if you graduate with it. If you have aspirations to be something more than a restaurant or store manager, I would nip your education in the butt and transfer out of the system in which you’re currently participating. There’s no shame in admitting defeat, particularly when it’ll procure you an even greater victory in the end should you truly buckle down and do what you need to do the second time around.

  27. Oh, also, DON’T COMPLETELY DROP OUT OF COLLEGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is one of the most surefire ways to make it into the poorhouse.

  28. I agree with Kirby, definitely plan on visiting the tutors at your college. I am a tutor actually! You should, however, be concerned about why your gpa is low. Get help instead of worrying about graduating on time. I know that school is expensive, but wasting time and getting no degree at all is even more expensive! Stick with it and you will go far!

  29. Thank you for posting this. This is exactly where I am. Thank you so much. I still stay the course, I just need to adjust my sails!

  30. This reply is in regards to “I am an Average Student, should I drop out?”
    Well I had a bit of experience with that myself…
    I went to Michigan Technological University. I graduated high school with high honors and all the bells and whistles. But once I hit college, everything took a turn, and it wasn`t pretty
    First semester my GPA was knocked down to a good 3.2. Fine by me. End of the first year I was hovering at 2.8. I was cool with that. The third semester I slammed below 2.0. I tried my hardest to get my grades up, but the 4th semester, I was ejected from the university.

    So watch your grade trends. If you feel that what you are doing just isn`t you, then look into something else. The more you enjoy it, the better you will do. I did well in the classes I enjoyed, but I faltered in the barrage of 400:1 ratio`d lecture halls because that is not my learning style. Now I am trying to pay off my insane college debt so I could try again soon.


    Class is really not important in college like Josh said. Most of my friends are graduating wayyyy ahead of me, and some of them changed majors and are staying back a year. So its definitely NOTHING to worry about. You won’t lose touch with all of them either. If they’re really your friends, you’ll definitely still be able to see them.

    Don’t listen to your adviser either. They won’t like you unless you fit their cookie cutter ideal student. Not every student is the same and even though advisers are supposed to know that, the reality is that not all of them are very accepting of differences in students’ situations.

    If you’re passionate about school and your classes, I definitely say don’t give up. Clearly you’re not alone in going from being a stellar student in high school to just average in college. I’m exactly the same way. I had a 3.5 average in HS and first semester of college I barely scraped together a 2.8.

    Also, so jealous you got to study abroad. I’ve traveled as a tourist to various countries in Europe, but I’ve always wanted to study abroad. But I simply don’t have the time to. If graduating with a study abroad doesn’t help you get into grad school or get a job, then there’s something seriously wrong with the world.

    Please don’t torture yourself over this. You can definitely graduate and get a good job or even go to grad school. Hell, don’t even go to grad school right away. You clearly need a break from school but keep pushing your undergrad degree to the very end first. Everything WILL work our fine for you. You just need to believe it will and not listen to what anyone else has to say about it because only YOU know your true potential

  32. I think you need to evaluate how you are learning the material. Figure out what your problem is. This isn’t a problem of you being stupid, this is a problem of having an unquantifiable problem. You don’t have a name for why you are failing and are getting discouraged because of it. Find out the WHY of it. Are you a visual learner? Listening learner? Find out how you learn best and then adapt your studying to best suit your style. I know of many people who cannot read the book and need in-class classes to get through college. For me, I am perfectly fine online or in-class, but as soon as you take away my visuals, I flounder.

    Meet this challenge, I know you can do it. Analyze the problem well, why did you get A’s in your classes? What did they do differently than all the rest of your classes? If you enjoy your major, if you see yourself enjoying doing it in the future, why quit now? Take this time to go the extra step so that you don’t have to take an extra 50 on down the line just to stay on the ground level. To tell you the truth, I am proud of you. You are going to college. It doesn’t matter about your friends graduating before you, it doesn’t matter about friends graduating behind you, get through on your own pace and realize that college is really the last stop before you plunge into the real world. Study hard, but remember to relax for one day a week if your schedule allows to just enjoy being a college student. You won’t get the chance again.

    To tell my own story, I am on the fast track to quickly get in and out of college. I am a 3.41 GPA student for my bachelors, and have recently become a graduate student at that. I need to keep a 3.5 GPA to be able to stay in my degree. This all isn’t because I am “smart”. This is because I am stubborn as hell and don’t take no for an answer. I have a goal and I will go for it onto my last dying breath. I will save my worries about job or happiness for later, it can wait until I get there. I work full time, I go to school full time and I work hard as hell to get where I am today. Some days I feel like crying, I get sick often from too much stress on my body, I hate my life at times, but I have found a good group of friends to help me keep my sanity. Find yourself a study group, put those doubts behind you, they aren’t important here. Think of your dream, think of your goal, and then go for it with all your heart. Don’t let obstacles get in your way, for they surely will try, but stand proudly by your dreams and goals, because, in the end, you are the one who is going to have to live by them. This is about you. What do you REALLY want if there was no one to tell you no or “that won’t make money” or we are displeased/pleased?

    For you, m’dear, I suggest you go to your thinking place. Banish all your fears, doubts, and forebodings. Think and think deeply, where do you want to be in five years if all your dreams came true? Just advise from a 22 year old who has learned that with college comes the need to understand how to kick some ass (because advisors tell me bullshit too).

  33. I believe I’m echoing the sentiments of everyone on here when I say “Don’t give up!” I realize it’s difficult…I came from high school with a 3.85 GPA and ended up with a 2.8 after my first year in college. It was a wake-up call, but I didn’t give up. I graduated with a 2.7 and eventually went back to get a masters where I was able to hold a 3.92 (one A- dropped me out of the 4.0 club). My brother BARELY graduated from college with a 2.00 GPA – but HE GRADUATED. My boyfriend does NOT have a college degree because he dropped out and it has been KILLING his chances of moving up the corporate ladder (so much so, that he’s headed BACK to school – at the age of 27!).

    Keep your chin up – get a tutor, take a smaller course load (all you need is 12 credits to be classified as full-time). Do what it takes to finish…at this point – you’re not going to graduate with a 4.0; but you can STILL GRADUATE!

  34. Dropping is not the right solution. I had no problem with my GPA but will like to say that when you have a GPA of 2.1, you should think of taking courses that are easy even if they are not within your specialty to rise your GPA.

  35. Through true effort and work, you can do anything yo want to. You are more than just average, you are Jatna. Keep working, put in extra time into what you do not understand.

  36. Jatna,
    I am going to just say that you can do anything you desire with effort. Part of the problem is you just need to realize that you are doing it. It may not be ther grades you want but with a little more confidence, maybe some tutoring and hard work you will graduate. Please dont sell yourself short. I am the mother of three children and I work full time. I am also in school and I refuse to be detered from achieving my goals. Along with it I have a son who is autistic that had such a hard time in high school yet he graduated with a regular diploma that was not modifed in any way. Now he is a college student as well and her is working really hard but and he has a GPA just like yours. The thing is there is nothing that the two of you can’t do. I tell him this daily. I think you needed to remind yourself daily that you can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it. My son is disabled but I am absolutely positive that he will get his degree and I have the same faith in you. You are not describing the qualities of a failure. You are describing yourself as a remarkable person and you need to live your life like a remarkable person. Look in the mirror and remind yourself that you are an amazing person. YOu might need to have a tutor and possible speak with some or your teachers for extra help. Many teachers like to know you are trying and want to learn and will be willing to help. What I am saying after all of this rambling is DON’T DROP OUT!! You can achieve your goals just keep working on it. NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE A REMARKABLE STUDENT!

  37. Hello,
    I didn’t see too many comments from the perspective of the parents, so I thought I would share our experience and response. My daughter had a similar experience; nearly straight A in HS and then stumbled a bit her first year of college (landed on probation for awhile), and lost scholarships. The bright news is that she (with lots of talking to us and her advisors) moved back closer to home, changed her major, and is doing great.

    We went from thinking she would graduate early, to knowing she will graduate when she is ready. Her biggest fear is that we would be disappointed; I would be more disappointed in someone giving up, rather than looking at what is not working, and making changes.

    So: Find someone to talk to; don’t get hung up on arbitrary deadlines; take full advantage of counselors/advisors (your tuition pays for that!); examine your attitude about what you are trying to accomplish (why and how).

    As parents we have had to make sure our expectations aren’t wrapped up in false pride, and keep it focused on what her needs are. And that we were willing to work through stretching a bit, along with accountability (she still had to go to class!)

    As was said in earlier posts – hang in there, you are ONLY 21.

  38. Don’t quit. Show people you can persevere. If you show that strength then people will support you. I did not always recieve good grades in high school and I didn’t even think I was cut out for college… But people are more supportive of you when you follow through instead of quitting. Instead of thinking about the perspective that you are failing, think of it as you are merely struggling and will see it through. I’m 22, and I’m not graduating until next fall! It’s not because I’m a failure. For many careers they may never even ask for your GPA. Ask for more help, none of us want to watch you drown. You can do this.

  39. I wouldn’t quit at all.
    Don’t let your GPA bring you down.
    My friend told me this great saying, and I live by it everyday;
    “What do they call the student who graduates last in Medical School? ‘A Doctor.'”
    So no matter what, you can still be what you want to be.

  40. Do Not Drop Out!!!!!

    Ok so you are 21 and going to graduate a little behind your friends. Jatna, I am 42 and will graduate with my BA when I’ 43 yrs old. So 21 is nothing in the real world. The real world will care whether or not you have a degree, not the age at which you got that degree. The real world will care that you finished instead of dropping out.

    I had been an A/B student in high school and started college with no real direction in mind back in 1987. I wasted a lot of time in courses with no direction, sometimes getting A’s sometimes making C’s. I dropped out due to a family crisis after 3 yrs at community college with a 2.1 GPA. I had intended going back in a year and it turned into 20 yrs. I got my AA from a community college in 2008, with a 3.5 GPA. So it can be done.

    But if you think you feel old for graduating at 21 yrs old try thinking what it will be like to be 43 yrs old when you graduate. Don’t get me wrong I am thrilled I went back and am working toward that degree. But if I had realized back then that my 1 yrs break would last 20 yrs I think I would have made a diferent choice. It is harder in some ways when your older. So don’t fret being a year older then your friends when you get that degree. It doesn’t matter to the “real” world what age you get it.

    I can relate to feeling like you dropped the ball when you get low grades. I was in the wrong major for me and started watching my GPA slid because I wasn’t passionate about my courses, and part of them were in an area I have zero aptitude. Then I lrealized I was in a major because other people thought I should be there. So I swtiched majors. Last spring I ended with a 2.5 GPA, down from the 3.5 I came in with. I felt down and considered just giving up because I was to old, and just not a college student.

    Then I switched majors and this quarter things have been better. I am probably getting an A in my ethics class, an A in French, and a C+ to B- in Historiography. Sure I would like that C to be an A, but it means overall my GPA will be coming up from 2.5. My History class is the hardest one out of my major, and every student that has had this class says the others are easier in comparision. So while getting a C doesn’t thrill me I can live with it knowing that my other courses will probably get better. Before I switched majors I got a D, not once but twice, in a course that is not me. First D’s in my life. I had taken the class and got a D-, so I retook it with tutor help and some of it got better but not good enough to get above a D the second time around. So I had to do some soul searching.

    I knew I shouldn’t keep banging my head against that wall only to bomb again. So I asked myself what types of courses had I enjoyed up to that point. History was at the top of the list. So instead of beating the proverbally dead horse to meet others ideal, I switched majors. I still have to work on papers and do tons of reading. But I am much happier and don’t feel like I am failing any more. College is work. But that degree will be worth the effort.

    If i can do this at 42 yrs old, you can certainly do it. I work full time taking care of a disabled parent while going to college full time. My friends live in other states, so my support system is far away. But I am doing it. Other then being frustrated with getting some C’s you don’t have it to bad. Yes, C’s are stressful when you believe you can do better. But you know what the solution is for that… Stop worrying about C’s and use that worry energy to study, study, study:)

    Josh is right. C’s get degrees. So you can and will graduate with some C’s on the transcripts. So will I, in fact so will most of the people that graduate from your school. Don’t believe it ask around. You’ll be hard pressed to find large numbers of people that only got A’s in college. I’ve meet only 1 person that fit that bill since 1987. Most students get some A’s, some B’s, and some C’s–a few even have a D or two on there. So don’t freak it is normal to have an adjustment going from hisgh school to college. Just decide to not make doing less then you know you can do be the norm. Learn what is working in the classes you are getting A’s and B’s; and what isn’t working in the class you got a C. Maybe you need to shift your study time.

    For instance, I have found that staying up to 2 am to do readings doesn’t help me. I don’t retain it. But going to bed a little early, say by 10:30 pm, and then getting up an hour earlier and reading works well for me. So maybe you can play with when you study your toughest subjects. Or how long you study in a session. Some of my classes study for a straight 2 hours doesn’t seem to be as effective as study for 40 minutes and taking a break. You can figure out what works if you get some help and put a little thought into it.

    Jtna, you can do this. We all believe you can. And I am so envious you got to go aboard to Japan. I am driving myself nuts trying to swing going to France in summer.

    Good luck:)

  41. Here is the deal; stay in now and finish or yll only have to come back and do it later. 21 years old? You are just a baby and got plenty of time. Stay in school, and get serious. give up a couple of years of social life for the next 60 years of your life.
    Think about that for a minute, do you want to work for 7.25 an hour at 50 yrs??? If not then spend the time to get serious with school and seal the deal for your life. Your degree will change the quality of life you live. you got 60 more years to go…spend these tiny itsy bitsy few years studying, read, being serious, and you will do just fine.

  42. Seriously Jatna, the reasons for students failing or getting a row of C’s are simple:
    1- They don’t study;
    2- They don’t like their major;
    3- They’re dummies.

    And the respective solution are also simple:

    for #1- study harder by cutting all the things that prevent you from doing so( family crap, love, jobs, friends, tv, games etc…)
    for#2- Change major in base of your interest…disregard what others have to say about it. Ex.if u like art, do art.. if u like science, do science and if don’t like anything do philosophy.
    for#3- Drop out and search for a simple job with benefits:)

  43. Please do not drop out! Keep your focus on your projects, do not give up never! I am a little bit older than you and I know that if we waste our time, it goes so fast and recover it back it

  44. First let me say, DON’T YOU DARE DROP OUT!
    Second, you’re so lucky! You got to go to Japan. I still have a while before I can study out there.

    Third, okay here’s the deal. I completely understand getting great grades all through highschool and hitting college only not to be on top. When I finally decided to stop running and jump head long into my dream of going to Art school, guess what? Even though I was getting A’s in the private college I was attending before hand, I’m struggling to get C’s alone at the Art college. I spend a week or more on a single project and still barely manage to get a C. When I first started, I was lucky to get D’s.

    The thing is, you just have to keep at it. College is so much different from highschool and yes. I felt like finding a corner to cry in, because I felt like I needed A’s to prove myself, but a C in college can be the same as a A in highschool. And that’s okay! It’s alright not to have straight A’s. And you want to know something else? I’m 21 and I still have five years of college ahead of me. Why? Because the classes are so hard and expensive it’s nearly impossible to do more than two a semester, three semesters a year. Yep, it’s insane, but after I realized that getting an A wasn’t the biggest thing on earth, that even though I was only getting C’s I was still improving, it stopped mattering to me.

    That’s what you need to realize. If you’re still learning and getting on with college you’re fine. Not everyone can learn everything in one go. I’m sure for the next two years even, my art work won’t be as good as the students that are acing the classes I’m in now, but that’s okay. I started learning a bit later to do things and it’ll just take me a bit longer to get through them. So a C? Ha, don’t kid yourself into thinking you’re actually good enough to drop out and think you can’t do anything, because of an average grade. Be GLAD you can manage the average, a lot of people can’t.

    So, Gambatte! You can’t give up, that’s not part of the Japanese culture. You work hard until you can’t and than work even harder. And no, I’m not saying throw yourself off a building, I’m just saying a C and wanting to quit? It kind of sounds like you just want an excuse to run, I think you’re just a bit overly stressed due to classes. Hey, I know. My classes are seven days a week and we don’t have any breaks of any kind until the semester is actually over. That means I’ve been working hard at school and my job from Sept till Dec 18th.

    I promise you though, the end result will be worth it. You won’t regret it once you get that piece of paper and realize even though you didn’t feel like you could do it and it was so hard that you could barely breathe, you did do it. You manage to keep going where so many others decided to drop out and just let their fears run their life. You CAN do this and I hope you stay with it, because it’s not worth dropping out.

  45. Jatna,

    James Baldwin once said, “Not everything faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” I took his statement to heart the first time I heard it some years ago when I was faced with personal adversities back in high school. Sometimes, things are out of your control and it’s how well you’re willing to “go with the flow” that proves how badly you want to succeed. However, with that said, I know how you are feeling. I am currently living my dream (or what seems to be the nightmare of my dream) because I am going to a top-ranked school for undergrad Architecture and I not doing as well as a pleased. Being the Valedictorian of my high school graduation class and now being below average at college, has taken left my confidence in the gutter and my will and desire to continue on with my life-long dreams almost non-existent. However, for some strange reason (or maybe not–I just cannot figure it out) I am staying here, in this race to finish. What have I done differently is something you may ask? Well, as of next semester I will no longer be in that race to finish with my class of 2013. I will be a semester behind and I won’t be taking 19 credit hours per semester. I will take 15 (which is more manageable) and possibly even take a semester off from the designing aspect of my degree and explore other interests. It will take a lot of will power on my behalf to accept that I am not on the same page as my class and that I must run this race a little bit slower. Yet, as my mother would say, “Slow and steady wins the race.”

    So, my advice is don’t quit. Yes, it’s hard and trust me I cannot count the amount of tears I’ve cried along the way because as hard as you are on yourself, so am I. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that you’re not as good as your peers, but what I didn’t realize is that I am as good as my peers, I just have to want to win for me and not win to stay in the game with “them.” Thus, you got to do this for you because at the end of the day they won’t get you your degree. YOU WILL. And if have to take more time to do so, then so be it…and if your friends want to drop because you didn’t finish that race with them, then they weren’t your true friends to begin with.

    So, don’t drop out. Keep weathering through this storm. There is always more than one path to success, you just have to find the one that suits you best.

    My best wishes go out to you.

  46. As Polina said: College requires a different set of skills than high school. I was a C and D student in high school, with the occaisional A. In college I’m an A and B student. It’s a matter of your skill set. I do better in something that is less rigid as far as class work goes. Chances are, you got your As in high school because the homework was worth such a large percentage of your grade. I think it’s a matter of forcing yourself to do (probably self assigned) homework. Sure, the teacher won’t use it to pad your grade, but it’ll help you learn, and that’ll probably result in better test scores.

    Also, as Claireanne pointed out: That stupid piece of paper will get you a lot of extra money. Suck it up, accept you’re a C student, and get your diploma. If you can’t get your GPA up to a 3.0 (for grad school purposes), then find a career choice that doesn’t require that you get anything more than a bachelor’s.

  47. I dropped out. Now I’m going back to school at 25 years old. Going to community college to get my grades up, transfer to a 4 year school…and finish

  48. omg, stop whining & trying to force him to tell you to drop out! you’re fine! you may not be where you want to be or where everyone expects you to be but like he said- Cs get degrees. If you really feel like dropping out- first DON’T. but look into what you could do with your degree with just a Bachelors. sure everyone wants to make a ton of money and support a family & all but, unless you have a family now, that may just not be in the cards for you. And if you can make a good living off of a Bachelors then why bother going to grad school? if you still want to later, give yourself some time to recooperate and go back. you’re ONLY 21.

  49. You don’t have to drop out. You can, however, take a year off and take a break from college and cool off for a while. And while you’re taking a break, you can either get a job, or get some tutoring, or do some self-study, or whatever. The point is, sometimes you need a break. It’ll be well worth it in the end.

  50. Do not Drop out! Also , I have a friend who would be extremely jealous of you if she knew that you had gotten to go to Japan.

  51. The story told here is a simple one. Girl grows up…loses sense of identity and sense of direction. While I say simple it really isn’t. You have to believe in the tooth fairy to believe all the facts were place before this blog. The very premise of the story seems riddled with self-serving omissions. FYI…why would a student (supposedly losing all motivation) waste a whole lot of money taking classes in Japan? Did she actually finish the classes or was this only a time filler…a very expensive sight-seeing tour? Then the very possible premise is that the writer is not a very responsible person. Whether confused and/or lost still leads to not responsible. Taking classes is NOT a goal for life. Getting a degree IS NOT a goal for life. They are just points along the road of life. Interim waypoints leading to somewhere. I hear no mention as to where the writer thinks it is all going. If you have no idea where your going for sure it is hard to be motivated. And if you are here looking for answers you won’t get good ones if in fact what you say is less then the big picture.

  52. Don’t do it. I had a 2.9 and I thought that was the end of the world. I have managed to pull it up to a 3.469. There is always hope. If you think that you have to take on a bunch of hours just to finish on time. Don’t! My advice. Take a fewer number of house 15 or 14 with the harder classes, that way you’re not trying to juggle a bunch of classes all at once. If possible take easier courses during the summer, it can really help your gpa. And if you can’t take them during the summer well, take your harder class first, with only 15 or 14 hours then take the easier course with one harder class . Never give up

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