The college fear factor

Afraid of failure, community college students sabotage themselves by not talking in class, asking questions or turning in assignments.

Also on Community College Spotlight: From foster care to college.

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  1. Michael E. Lopez says:

    Let’s start another fight!

    I submit that many of these students are afraid because they’ve essentially been abused by their experiences in school thus far. They’ve been lied to in that they’ve been told that they won’t have any sort of life if they don’t get good grades (which is entirely different from saying that you won’t have a good life if you don’t learn something). They’ve been manipulated in so far as many teachers really do reward regurgitation and repetition of what the teacher says, and some teachers are actually affirmatively hostile to inquiries as to the accuracy of and criticisms of the answers that the textbook (or whatever authority prevails) provides. They’ve been told that college is necessary when it’s not. They’ve been subjected to a zero tolerance atmosphere that threatens to institutionalize or suspend them if they write a story about guns or violence. They’ve been told what to think and how to think, and they’ve successfully learned their lesson: shut up and do what your told and society will allow you to survive.

    None of this is intentional, of course: it’s just how things often work. No one WANTS to crush spirits. It just happens.

    Then they get to college and their instructor — someone who actually values learning for its own sake and who has more than a simple C-average run through a state school gen ed curriculum — wants them to trust him.

    It takes a long time to get a beaten dog to like being petted.

  2. Some were like me an just scared period. I was a b minus student in school and terrified I couldn’t cut it in college. It took nearly three and a half years before I saw that I was going to make it. I was the first in my family to graduate with a four year degree. College is hard when you don’t have anyone to mentor you.

  3. What was described in the article is not *just* a college experience. I have several high school students who fit that bill.