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What do I do about my grades?

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From an 11th grade guy: Ok, here’s how it is, I’ve suffered from depression ever since i was eleven and it has tampered with my school progress ever since, but NEVER like it has now. I have an IQ of 122 and I’m a history buff, mentally I guess I am pretty smart, but in school it’s a complete different story, only class i’m passing would be history. History is the easiest for me because its basically straight from the book. But every other class I take I fail. I have all of the stuff in my head but when it comes down to writing it down I get stuck and I just can’t get it down on paper. It feels like some kind of anxiety, but I tried to explain it to my mom but she just says it’s me being lazy.
I do great on tests but I just can’t get homework and classwork, is there anything that can help or tell me does it seem like it may be signs of a disorder.

What do I do about my grades?

Answered by on -


This must be really frustrating. You know you’re smart. Your parents and teachers know you’re smart. But you haven’t been able to reliably show it. If you don’t get ahold of whatever is going on, you’re not going to be able to be successful in many, many things. Schools will sometimes judge folks on their “potential.” Bosses want results.

So — The first thing I would want to know if we were talking with each other is whether the problem is limited to school. If there are other areas in your life where you can show up, do what is asked of you, and produce, the problem is school-based. If, however, you have the same difficulty making yourself do things you really want to do outside of school, you’ve got a bigger problem.

I think you need to sit down with your school’s psychologist or another mental health professional who is experienced in adolescent and school issues to get an evaluation. The work doesn’t end with getting a diagnosis or label, though. A diagnosis is only helpful if it leads to a thoughtful treatment or management plan. No matter what is going on with you, you are going to have to work on making it better. A diagnosis will only give you and the people who are concerned about you a road map for what to do.

Then it’s up to you. If you are merely a creature of laziness and bad habits, you’ll need to work with someone to help you kick yourself into gear. If bad grades are a way to fight with your mother or to show people in authority that they can’t make you do things, you’ve already established that fact. Now be self-interested enough to drop the fight and do what’s good for you. If the problem is an undertreated depression or a significant learning disability, you’ll need to work with the right specialists to help you learn how to take care of yourself.

Millions of people go to work every day in spite of depression. Millions of people are successful at work even if they are fighting with people at home. Millions of kids succeed in school in spite of challenging learning disabilities. The only difference between them and you is that they are getting appropriate help and are determined to succeed.

You’ve got only one year of high school left. If you can make a good showing in your senior year, there are colleges that will still take you on. If you aren’t interested in higher education, you still need to do well to get a diploma and to show prospective employers that you are capable of consistent work that reflects your intelligence. Use that brain of yours. Figure out how best to help yourself and start doing it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

What do I do about my grades?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). What do I do about my grades?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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