I'm applying to grad schools soon, and I'm really nervous about my prospects. I grew up in a really violent and screwed up home situation, and I was pretty much a fish out of water when I came to college. I almost flunked out during my first two years. Once I shook myself out of it and decided I wanted to do physics, I managed to get myself turned around to the point where my GPA steadily climbed up to about a 3.1. That would all be one thing, perhaps understandable, I think. But even today I flip back and forth between A's and C's due to a lack of concentration and bad habits, and there is no reason for my recent performance to be so dismal. I do well on tests and my research, but I can be awfully scatterbrained when it comes to classwork and I feel very ashamed at how poorly I've managed that. I've been doing theoretical work on BEC dynamics with a professor for about a year now, and he has agreed to write me a recommendation letter. He wants to go over my transcript and personal statement before doing so, however. I've never mentioned any of these problems to him, or the fact that this will be my sixth year in undergrad. I will have to explain this to him, and I'm dreading the conversation. It's one thing to explain it all in a letter to people I will probably never meet, but I don't want to disappoint someone I know and work with, and it's a personal subject for me. Does anyone have any advice on how to broach that kind of subject with someone you only know professionally, without coming across as making excuses? Another question I've been turning over is whether I would even be cut out for grad school. I know no one here can really answer that for me, but if anyone from a similar background has any advice, I'm all ears. Thanks.