I have always had executive functioning struggles, and they caught up with me when I attempted to go to college. I was not ready, but I didn’t know that. I wanted the benefits of college without having to do the work, I thought I could somehow take the quick elevator to success. This video tells my ADHD and executive function college story. I hope you find it insightful and that it helps you get some great ideas and clarity because failing college is not fun.
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What’s up, students? My name is Seth with SethPerler.com. I’m an executive function coach and I help struggling students navigate this thing called school. And in this video, I’m talking to students who are going into college or who’s in college. I’m going to tell you three reasons I failed out of college. And I’m telling you this because I do not want you to fail out of college. I want you to do what’s right for you and have a fantastic life. And failing out of college is not a necessary step in life.
The first thing I want to tell you is that when I work with college students, most of the college students that I work with, are sophomores or second-year college students. Why do you think that is? It’s because they failed their first year. Or they more or less failed the first year. So they didn’t make it to be a sophomore and they are a second-year freshman, or they are a sophomore and they barely got to be a sophomore. And they struggled a lot and they’re finally ready for help. Asking for help is a very hard thing to do. So anyhow. Why did I fail out of college?
So I failed out of college, went to Ball State University, and I failed so I went to summer school on probation to start, because I almost failed out of high school. I didn’t fail out of high school, I had skated by. And then I had to go, I wanted to go to college really because I wanted to get away from my parents. And I went to college on probation in summer school. So I didn’t even have a summer break after my senior year of high school. I didn’t even have summer break, went straight to college on probation. I had to take three probationary classes. When I was in trouble, I often did well, so I was in trouble because I was on probation to start college. So I did well, I got an A and 2 C’s, true story. One of the classes that I got an A in, the class I got an A in was a study skills class. True story. I got an A in study skills. And 2 C’s and now I could go and fall. So I go fall semester. Failed. I go spring semester. Failed. After spring semester is over get a letter in the mail that says, “Seth do not come back you failed out of Ball State University. Thanks for your money. Good luck.” So I went to another college and I dropped out before I failed out. That college was on quarters, it went fall quarter, winter quarter, I didn’t go spring quarter because I dropped out because I had failed those two quarters before. How did I do it? Here are the three steps of how I did it.
Number one: I didn’t go for me. I went because I was told all my life I was supposed to go to college. I didn’t know there were other alternatives. I just thought that’s what you do. There’s no buy-in or ownership that I wanted to go for me to learn, to get an education, to better myself, to develop who I was, to get exposed to lots of new educational ideas, to get exposed to lots of new people and new ways of looking at the world, to have a great experience, to build a career. I didn’t have any of that. I went because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do and I didn’t want to live at home anymore. I wanted to move out of my house and be independent and be on my own even though I was not capable of being independent. I did not have the executive function skills necessary to be an adult or to be on my own or to be independent, but I thought I did and I want to get away from my parents. They were bugging me, or at least that’s how I perceived it. I regret the way that I was very hard on my parents. I have a fantastic relationship with them now, but I was not the easiest child. The number one way that I failed out of college is by not going for myself. Not going because I really wanted to go for good reasons.
Number two: The way that I failed out of college was by not having the executive function skills to navigate college. I was emotionally dysregulated, meaning I was depressed, I was anxious, I was uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable with who I was, I was not confident in who I was. I lived with a lot of fear that I wasn’t good enough in multiple ways. So I didn’t have the executive function, what’s called emotional regulation, like ways to work with my own fears and emotions and discomfort and stuff like that. Part of my dysregulation had to do that I was eating horrible food. I was not eating food that was nourishing my body. I was on a diet of processed foods, Doritos, some pop, and whatever. I was not sleeping well. I was up late, I was up all night. It was just horrible sleep. I didn’t prioritize myself. Well, I didn’t exercise hardly. I mean I never did like real exercise at that time. So, and I didn’t have just other executive function skills, like planning and organizing, and knowing how to study, and knowing how to prioritize, and knowing how to do all of these executive function things.
Number three: So number one was I didn’t go for myself, I went for my parents because I thought it was supposed to. Number two was I didn’t have the executive function skills I needed. Number three was I didn’t know how to ask for help. You may think that sounds silly. Let me tell you, it’s one of those important things I’ve ever learned in my entire life is that ask for help. I didn’t know how to ask my teachers for help, did know how to ask my parents for help, didn’t know how to ask tutors for help, for coaches to help, I didn’t know how to ask other students for help. I didn’t know how to ask anybody for help. I did not have humility. I had such a big ego. I could not show you that I had any weaknesses, therefore I could never ask you for help and admit that I didn’t have it figured out. So I thought that that would mean that there is something wrong with me. I thought that that would mean if I ask for help that I’m admitting that I’m broken and that I don’t want you to see that, that would terrify me.
There is a quote by Zig Ziglar, “There is no elevator to success. You got to climb the stairs,” and I wanted the elevator to success. I want to go up, I want a quick fix, I want everything to be easy. I did not want to climb the stairs to success. I didn’t want to put in the work. I didn’t want to ask for help. I didn’t want to build the executive function skills. And I wasn’t doing it for me, so that my friends, is how I failed out of college.
I hope you high schoolers or college students don’t ever go through what I went through. College isn’t right for everyone and it’s not right for everyone at the time when society expects it to be right for you. You got to do what’s right for you when it’s right for you, when you have the skills, when you have the motivation, when you have the buy-in, and when you have the ownership. You have to know how to ask for help and know that there’s nothing wrong with you. In fact, asking for help is a sign of maturity. It’s what real adults do, it’s what we all need to do. We all need help. Nobody does it alone. No successful people, no successful people do it alone. We all need each other.
So my name is Seth with SethPerler.com. I’m an executive function coach in Colorado. I hope you have a fantastic day. I hope you have a fantastic life and I hope this video helps you. If it did, go ahead and give it a thumbs up or comment or like or share with somebody, or something like that. I’ll see you the next time. Take care.