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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm back in school after a long break. While I'm happy to be there and excited to finish my BA, I'm starting to hate one of my classes. And it's a course I need in order to graduate. I like the professor. She is a great lecturer, and I enjoy the material. However, participation is 1/3 of our final grade. Just coming to class does not count for anything. We have to talk, and we have to "contribute something valuable." I would have dropped the class, but I need it.

So far, I've only said one thing in the class, and we're about six weeks into the semester. And the only reason I said anything was that she called on me unexpectedly. She already gave a warning to the class that "some of us" need to think about our participation grade.

My problem is that I can communicate well through writing, but not through speaking. I freeze. My thoughts jumble, especially when I am caught off guard; but it happens even when I'm not. I cannot get the thoughts in my head to come out of my mouth. Even worse, sometimes the thoughts seem to disappear completely. I watch in awe as other students, most of whom are significantly younger than I am, spout out answers easily. For me, it's very hard. The one time she called on me, I could barely get my words out, and I felt like an idiot. When I quit college when I was younger, it was largely due to the fact that I had terrible social anxiety and just could not function. I feel like I'm back there again.

Anyway, I'm just wondering how you other students get through classes like this. I do not want to end up with a C (or worse) in this class because of the participation portion of the grade.
 

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Rising Above
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Ugh, I hated classes like that. Most of the time I was able to find a way out. For example, maybe I could take the same class next semester with a different professor who didn't have a class participation grade. One time, I actually transferred to a different college just to take a class online because I couldn't pass it due to the heavy class participation emphasis (You had to contribute everyday or there were consequences.) And then I transferred that credit back to my University. It's not something I'm proud of, but I think professors could be a little more understanding to people with different personalty types. Why should I fail a class when I received an A for all of my work, but didn't contribute verbally during discussion? Besides, most of the time the students contributing weren't making serious comments. A lot of times they were just talking for the sake of talking. Anyway, I only had one class like the one you're describing. (One that I had to take on my University campus to graduate) It sucked and I felt physical pain in my stomach every time I entered that classroom, but I got through it. However, my anxiety made it hard for me to concentrate on the class discussions and I don't feel like I learned as much as I should have for that reason.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Besides, most of the time the students contributing weren't making serious comments. A lot of times they were just talking for the sake of talking. Anyway, I only had one class like the one you're describing. (One that I had to take on my University campus to graduate) It sucked and I felt physical pain in my stomach every time I entered that classroom, but I got through it. However, my anxiety made it hard for me to concentrate on the class discussions and I don't feel like I learned as much as I should have for that reason.
Yes, exactly, StoicJester. My class has about 30 people in it, and everyone competes to get their participation grade each time we meet (with the exception of about five students, including me). Most of the people who talk just say something, anything, to get her attention. And I feel exactly the way you do. The anxiety I experience because of the forced participation actually makes it harder for me to pay attention to the lecture. It takes away some of the value of the class when I'm sitting there trying to think of something to say, or worrying that she'll call on me. The older I get, the more physical my anxiety becomes, so I sometimes experience dizzy spells in her class from the constant worry. I would love to drop the class and take it with a different professor, but it's too late now. It would affect my financial aid to drop the class, and I just need to get through it. How, I'm not sure yet.
 

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Talk to your professor about how you are having difficulties participating in class.You probably cannot think straight because you are so focused,and nervous about being called on by your professor.Also,you don't always have to speak up whenever she is asking the class a question,you could speak if you have something to add to whatever she is talking about,or ask her questions about something you are curious about.
 

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This is one of the reasons I don't want to go back and study, although I would like to. Im just glad I got through my degree at the time which included a few presentations, it felt easier once I got started talking but I would not volunteer to do it. I never use to ask questions during the classes, although once a professor asked everyone in each row to answer a question during the lecture, when there was like 3 people to go before my turn, I got up and went to the 'toilet' and came back after a good while so they skipped me.
 
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