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I'm worried I'm self-destructing and need advice

  1. Feb 29, 2016 #1
    I have three semesters left before I get my BSME. I went back to school a few years after high school, and a few years later (I had to start at the very bottom, seeing as I didn't even pass algebra in high school) I got accepted into an engineering school. I've done well enough up until now to get a full scholarship.

    But this semester, something happened that I can't explain. I just started doing very poorly. It isn't the difficulty of the coursework. I'm doing bad in some of the easiest classes. I'm failing quizzes left and right and making ridiculous mistakes on tests. I'm having to drop a 1 credit hour programming class because I've fallen so behind.

    At first I thought, "well, I just need to study harder." So I'm at school studying on average 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. It didn't help, and I did just as bad on the following tests. I'm now starting to lose sleep over it. Worrying about losing my scholarship with only 3 semesters left, after the years of work I've put into this.

    I'm friendly with my professors, and ask for help whenever I need it. I've expressed my concern, and their answers are, "you just need to study harder".

    At this point I don't know why this is suddenly happening, or how I can fix it. I'm worried I'm burnt out from the previous five years.

    Has anyone had this happen to them? How did you recover? I can't be the only one. I really don't want to go back to working long hours at the steelyard...
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 29, 2016 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Is there any possibility that it could have a medical cause? Do you play contact sports, and maybe suffered a concussion recently? Or have there been any changes in your meds or supplements recently? Can you associate any outside environmental changes with the change in your schoolwork? When was your last physical?
  4. Feb 29, 2016 #3


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    Junior year was the hardest of M.E. school, by far. I remember getting up for my 8:00am class and working almost non-stop till midnight, except for 30 min lunch and 30 min dinner. That was 5 days a week. Then for the weekend I probably took off 1 night and 1 afternoon to do something fun, other than that it was all work. Not sure why they pile on the workload so much Junior year, but I've heard similar stories from other engineering schools as well. All I can say is keep at it and it gets easier Senior year.
  5. Feb 29, 2016 #4


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    Sounds like you're on self-feeding negative spiral. Spring break is coming up soon right? Try to flounder above water until then and use the time to reset.

    You're probably studying too much if you spend 12 hours, not counting lectures, 7 days a week. Take a break. Let the material sink in, go out and stop thinking about how you're doing badly. If all you think about is how bad things are going, they will keep going poorly. Start being more positive.

    Also take berkemans comment into consideration.
  6. Feb 29, 2016 #5
    I'm normally an extremely active person, so it has crossed my mind that lack of exercise could be playing a role. But I don't see how it could have SUCH a huge negative impact. I've also been trying very hard to get adequate sleep and eat healthy this semester. I will consider seeing a doctor, as I have no recollection of my last physical.

    And student100 is right, I am on a negative spiral. I can see myself self-destructing, and it really worries me.

    Thank you all for your replies, I'll take them all into consideration.
  7. Mar 1, 2016 #6


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    jaguar ride, there is chance that you should not study harder, but "lighter". Many people cannot cope with the level of stress you are putting up with for extended amounts of time. Especially once noticed that things go amiss. After a while, efficiency tends to start to drop rapidly. In fact, I think that few people on this planet can get more done in 60h/week than correctly organized 30h/week.

    Depending on what kinds of mental constitutions you may or may not have, also a lack of physical activity might have severe negative consequences for your ability to concentrate. Not everyone can sit on the desk all day 7 days/week. If considering all your recent changes in lifestyle, health, and activity, and taking a physical (all as berkeman suggested) should not help, it might be worth trying to do something completely different: Set a strict time limit per day on how long you study. This forces you to spend the time with maximum efficiency and plan ahead (think about what you need to know, which skills to get, in which order, and how to efficiently study to get there). And might give you time to fix the other issues affecting your life.
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