I feel like I’m not smart enough for uni

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MEV01
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I’ve never really been academically smart, I used to be the ‘gifted’ kid in my primary school but that was mainly because my mum was a primary school teacher and I read above my expected level. Now I can barely read a page without getting bored or distracted. I barely passed English in secondary school, and in college I took an art course where the writing was just annotating and evaluating my own work which I could do. From what I can remember there was only one essay I had to write and I got a lot of help from my tutors with it. Now I’m at Uni studying animation and I feel like a complete idiot. I’m in year 2 now and I was able to pass year 1 because my brothers girlfriend helped me with my essay a lot because she writes a lot for her course (some biology thing). Now I have to write an essay, a literature review, and the proposal for my dissertation and I’m thoroughly confused about everything. I can’t follow along in the lessons because I can’t understand the words and concepts my tutor talks about and when I ask he’s horrible at explaining. I chose animation because I like cartoons and wanted to work on fun shows like what I watched as a kid. I knew that there would be written work and essays to do but I never thought it would be to this extent that I would feel useless and so much like an idiot. No matter how much I ask and however my tutor explains I just don’t understand, and I can’t explain why I don’t understand. At this point I just spend classes crying out of frustration and I’m considering dropping out.
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Glossed101
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Friends of mines got D's, C's and a few B's in GCSE. Went to college and got D's. Went to uni to study engineering and came out with a 2:1. 2 years after graduating he earns ~50k.

If you ask him how he managed it he'll tell you he never gave up.

He doesn't have brilliant memory and it takes him weeks to understand concepts that could take another a few hours. But he persisted.
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Interea
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A lot of unis will have non-course-specific academic writing help (often offered through the library), have you seen if that's on offer? Also consider asking older students on your course who've sat the module before, they may be able to help explain things better than your tutor can.
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UniversityOfSunderland
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(Original post by MEV01)
I’ve never really been academically smart, I used to be the ‘gifted’ kid in my primary school but that was mainly because my mum was a primary school teacher and I read above my expected level. Now I can barely read a page without getting bored or distracted. I barely passed English in secondary school, and in college I took an art course where the writing was just annotating and evaluating my own work which I could do. From what I can remember there was only one essay I had to write and I got a lot of help from my tutors with it. Now I’m at Uni studying animation and I feel like a complete idiot. I’m in year 2 now and I was able to pass year 1 because my brothers girlfriend helped me with my essay a lot because she writes a lot for her course (some biology thing). Now I have to write an essay, a literature review, and the proposal for my dissertation and I’m thoroughly confused about everything. I can’t follow along in the lessons because I can’t understand the words and concepts my tutor talks about and when I ask he’s horrible at explaining. I chose animation because I like cartoons and wanted to work on fun shows like what I watched as a kid. I knew that there would be written work and essays to do but I never thought it would be to this extent that I would feel useless and so much like an idiot. No matter how much I ask and however my tutor explains I just don’t understand, and I can’t explain why I don’t understand. At this point I just spend classes crying out of frustration and I’m considering dropping out.
Sorry to hear you are feeling this way. Have you thought about reaching out to your wellbeing team? They provide a range of services and support that can help you when experiencing emotional and mental health difficulties which are impacting upon your studies and/or daily lives.
It might also be worth looking into whether your library offers study support which could help with your workload too. Not everyone learns in the same way so it's important to find a solution that best works for you. Dissertations can seem overwhelming initially but it's important to get help to ensure you dont fall behind.
Wishing you lots of luck!
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University of Surrey Student Rep
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(Original post by MEV01)
I’ve never really been academically smart, I used to be the ‘gifted’ kid in my primary school but that was mainly because my mum was a primary school teacher and I read above my expected level. Now I can barely read a page without getting bored or distracted. I barely passed English in secondary school, and in college I took an art course where the writing was just annotating and evaluating my own work which I could do. From what I can remember there was only one essay I had to write and I got a lot of help from my tutors with it. Now I’m at Uni studying animation and I feel like a complete idiot. I’m in year 2 now and I was able to pass year 1 because my brothers girlfriend helped me with my essay a lot because she writes a lot for her course (some biology thing). Now I have to write an essay, a literature review, and the proposal for my dissertation and I’m thoroughly confused about everything. I can’t follow along in the lessons because I can’t understand the words and concepts my tutor talks about and when I ask he’s horrible at explaining. I chose animation because I like cartoons and wanted to work on fun shows like what I watched as a kid. I knew that there would be written work and essays to do but I never thought it would be to this extent that I would feel useless and so much like an idiot. No matter how much I ask and however my tutor explains I just don’t understand, and I can’t explain why I don’t understand. At this point I just spend classes crying out of frustration and I’m considering dropping out.
Hi there!

I am really sorry that you are feeling this way! I understand how hard university can be sometimes. I would really suggest reaching out to someone like your welfare team at your university. They will be able to support you through anything you're going through. If there is also something you don't understand, please don't feel like you can't ask anymore. I recommend to keep asking for help until you understand, or try to reach out to any friends to see if they can help you and explain it so you understand it more. You've got this! and you can do this, you have to tell yourself that

I hope everything works out for you, I wish you all this best!

Becca
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University of Sunderland Student Ambassador
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(Original post by MEV01)
I’ve never really been academically smart, I used to be the ‘gifted’ kid in my primary school but that was mainly because my mum was a primary school teacher and I read above my expected level. Now I can barely read a page without getting bored or distracted. I barely passed English in secondary school, and in college I took an art course where the writing was just annotating and evaluating my own work which I could do. From what I can remember there was only one essay I had to write and I got a lot of help from my tutors with it. Now I’m at Uni studying animation and I feel like a complete idiot. I’m in year 2 now and I was able to pass year 1 because my brothers girlfriend helped me with my essay a lot because she writes a lot for her course (some biology thing). Now I have to write an essay, a literature review, and the proposal for my dissertation and I’m thoroughly confused about everything. I can’t follow along in the lessons because I can’t understand the words and concepts my tutor talks about and when I ask he’s horrible at explaining. I chose animation because I like cartoons and wanted to work on fun shows like what I watched as a kid. I knew that there would be written work and essays to do but I never thought it would be to this extent that I would feel useless and so much like an idiot. No matter how much I ask and however my tutor explains I just don’t understand, and I can’t explain why I don’t understand. At this point I just spend classes crying out of frustration and I’m considering dropping out.
Hi MEV01
Sorry to hear you are feeling like this. University can often feel overwhelming, especially when deadlines are due so I empathize fully. Does your library offer study skills services? Ours often holds support sessions (more so online recently) that cover basics like critical thinking and dissertation support. Definitely look into whether this is something your team offer!

I'd also recommend reaching out to your university wellbeing team, they can be anything from just someone to listen to or offer support in being able to deal with your emotions. Please dont give up till you've explored all your options!
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AlexSilver
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Hey - don't despair! If you're already at uni then they clearly thought you were bright enough to go!

Lots of people learn in different ways and find written work such as essays difficult. Also some people aren't good at remembering what people say if it's not backed up with visuals.
The fact that you're studying animation suggests that you might be a visual learner!

Also, please don't take this badly, but have you ever been tested for dyslexia, 'cos you sound just like my cousin who is dyslexic - brilliant at creative stuff, but runs a mile from written work.
You should definitely reach out to your tutor, wellbeing team etc, but also have a chat with the Learning Support team at your university - that's what they're there for!
Trust me - you won't be the only person feeling like this.
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