By Matthew Scipioni

Dear Matt,

I’m having trouble in my classes and don’t know what to do. It’s really discouraging. What do you think I should do?



Dear Anonymous,

Honestly, I feel that. Yeah, everyone says that school is hard and you have to get through it to make it in the “real world,” but what if school itself is the issue? I feel that people commonly downplay or overlook that school is just one of the many challenges we have to face in our adult life. Many people, myself included, aren’t especially academically gifted and have to work especially hard toward making sure that classes and assignments get taken care of. 

I know my big thing is staying motivated and not getting distracted. I constantly find myself not wanting to do schoolwork or, frankly, getting bored of the assignments that I have to submit. Because of these two issues, I often procrastinate and rush to do work but get distracted halfway through… you get the picture. It’s not the best cycle, I know. But it’s reality. With time, I have adjusted to this, and I’d be lying to myself if I said I still don’t have these issues today. The important thing is that I recognize it and have learned to work around it. I’m not saying that I don’t give into these negative behaviors; I sometimes do, but I make sure to plan with this in mind.

What works for me is lists. I write a lot of lists. Sometimes even writing the same list twice. My desk is a literal wreck, sure, but at least I see what I have to get done before I have to do it. Lists help remind me that I need to get tasks done; that way, I can throw out the post-it or index card to make room for other things I’m doing. Maybe I have to plan an event for the Gaming Group or make some RA door tags, but I need to do some work for that to happen. And hey, once I get a bunch of free space, maybe then I can grab my controller to play some video games or my sketchbook to make some combat maps for Dungeons & Dragons.

Where am I going with this… I think that the main thing I would say is to learn to work with yourself and realize that everyone has to approach school, a job, or class assignments in their own way. A friend might suggest keeping a planner, but I know realistically I would never use it, and it would just sit in my bag. Everyone goes at their own pace, and I think it is important not to beat yourself up over the small stuff. 

As Babe Ruth said: “You can’t beat a person who never gives up.”

Take it one step at a time, and don’t be afraid to ask for help, but when push comes to shove, no one knows how you work better than you.

Your friendly neighborhood columnist,


If you would like to submit a question to Matt use this link!

Note from the writer:

Thank you all so much for the submissions! I’m so excited to be starting this column in the Mount Messenger and thank all those involved for the opportunity. If you did not see your comment/question addressed have no fear, I still have all of your submissions and will be working through all of them as the weeks go by. If I see a lot of people asking about a similar topic I will try to incorporate as many submissions as I can into one response. I hope you guys enjoy and keep up the good work!