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What's The Matter?

Question:

Dr. Schwartz, I’m a 20 year old college student on the Deans and Chancellors list. I enjoy school and find it easy most of the time. I take online classes so there is not a classroom environment for me and sometime I find myself not being able to understand my work that I’m given. I will read it over & over but it does not register. I will find myself writing a paper feeling as though it makes no sense and receive an A. After reading & writing a paper I don’t feel as though I’ve learned anything. I stress over my school work alot….do u feel as though you can tell me why I cant understand?

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Answer:

I have a "hunch," a gut, instinct reaction that you need to be in live classes with other students. Of course, I have no idea why you are taking all of you college credits at an online school, and I am not saying that is a bad thing, but, at age 20 years of age, you need to be able to socialize with other students.

Socializing with other students means a lot more than having fun, although that is also important. As a student at a college or university, students are usually able to tutor one another, ask for clarification from each other and, at the very least, study together. In other words, I am suggesting that learning is something that does not happen in a way that is isolated.

When a student spends most of their time in college they are able to make appointments with professors and seek their help. Students are able to go to the college library and get help with what they are learning. Most colleges also provide tutoring services provided by more senior students who are majoring in the subject areas where tutoring is needed.

Of course, if you are working and need to take your education online I fully understand that.

Look, not being able to understand what you are learning is natural. Very few of us are able to learn without struggling. It is true that some subjects may come easier than others but they are requiring concentration, effort, confusion and misunderstanding, at least to a certain extent.

You are complaining that even when you submit assignments that you do not understand you receive an "A." Either your work is not being read and graded or you are doing better than you believe. One other possibility is that your online school is really "bogus." I hate to think that you are being taken advantage of and I hope it is not so but I would look into the legitimacy of the school, if I were you. Also, check the online school that advertises on our site. That way, you have some quality control.

Finally, I want to urge you to take classes in a real college environment if that is possible. It is one thing to take a few classes online but it is another thing to go for the entire degree online without attending real classes. You are missing one of the fundamentally aspects of college learning: live interaction with students and professors in and out of the classroom.

 Please do not misinterpret my comments. Even the major universities in our nation are offering online degrees. I am in no way suggesting that what you are doing is wrong. In the spirit, I want to offer an additional idea: consult with your professors and tell them the types of problems you are having. They are not aware of what you are experiencing even though your grades are good.

Best of Luck

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