High-Risk Behaviors!

Forty reasons people fail in college


  1. Missing classes / Absenteeism / Scheduling routine medical and dental appointments during class hours as a good "excuse" to be absent or in order not to miss work / Being careful to use up every allowable class absence during the semester / Missing class to travel home during the semester in order to attend family birthdays, vacations, trips or adventures / Taking off extra days early before holidays or Spring Break.

  2. Working too many hours / Over-scheduling yourself / Bad time management / Trying to fit too many things in a day / Not leaving yourself plenty of time to read and study as your top priority / Not having a plan "B" ready for when they unexpectedly change your work hours or ask you to work overtime.

  3. Letting homework or readings pile up / Cramming / Procrastination / Leaving assignments to the last minute / Not having a plan "B" prepared for catching up just in case you get sick or get significantly behind in your schoolwork.

  4. Keeping late hours / Not enough sleep / Excess TV or entertainment viewing / All-nighters / Reserving your best hours for work and play, leaving your studies for when you are dog-tired.

  5. Not seeing college as one of your #1 jobs while enrolled / Never stepping onto campus except for classes / Being a "freeway flyer," always rushing home, or to work, as fast as possible right after classes, never staying back for study, research or fun.

  6. Lack of identification with and pride in the University / Not self-identifying as a college student as one of your primary identities / Not having any UTEP "school spirit."

  7. Inattention in class / Nodding off or sleeping in class / Texting or e-mailing in class / Studying or doing homework for one class during another class.

  8. Not being a learning-driven student / Being in college mainly because you want to put off facing "real life" / Going to college just because you get financial aid or VA benefits, or because you need a college diploma to compete for a decent job, not because you want to learn anything / Being proud that you "don't give a damn!"

  9. BS’ing your way through / Being proud of always succeeding in your classes with the least possible reading, writing, thinking or learning / "Putting something over" on your professors / Thinking you know all this stuff already /  Being proud of wasting your college years or drinking them away instead of getting the most out of the thousands of dollars you pay to attend,.

  10. Overspending / Debt / The credit card trap / "Shopping therapy" / Bad budgeting / No budgeting / Running out of money to pay for school.

  11. Having parents, household members, spouse or significant other not 100% supportive of your being at UTEP or not understanding what college is all about / Not having a plan "B" ready if your family support unexpectedly dries up, if your parent, caretaker or spouse suddenly discovers on the spur of the moment that they need to move out of town, or if other unexpected family crises occur while you are enrolled.

  12. Depending on undependable transportation to get to class / Not having a transportation plan "B" ready for car problems, if the bus is late, or if your ride doesn't show up / Not bothering to consider transportation arrangements for after class hours or special events when necessary.

  13. Approaching college thinking “I'm the customer, I pay my good money to go here, and the customer's always right." / Going to class with an "Entertain me!” attitude.

  14. Bringing personal, family and household issues to college instead of leaving them at home  / Not having a plan "B" ready for when your child gets sick, if someone you are responsible for gets high or goes on a drinking binge, or if a childcare or elder-care provider lets you down.

  15. Having a shaky, chaotic, unstable, conflictive or unsafe home life when you go home / Tolerating domestic abuse or violence / High-risk or poisonous emotional, intimate or domestic relationships / Trying to deal with a messy divorce, separation or child custody case while enrolled in classes.

  16. Regular or frequent intoxication, alone or with others / Binge drinking / Uncontrolled alcoholism / Illegal substance use / Coming to class drunk, “high,” “stoned,” hung over, or with a buzz on.

  17. Inappropriate sexual behavior / Unprotected or intoxicated sex / Promiscuity / Unexpected pregnancy / Getting someone unexpectedly pregnant / STD’s / Not having a plan "B" for continuing your studies in case you unexpectedly come up pregnant, or if your wife or female partner unexpectedly finds herself pregnant.

  18. Cheating / Plagiarism / Pulling papers off the Net /Buying papers online or from other students  /Not having a plan "B" ready for when you can't get an assignment in on time or simply don't understand it.

  19. Still seeing yourself as a "kid" / Social, community, political and intellectual apathy / Thinking "I refuse to grow up!"

  20. Going through college with an "I hate school" attitude, or as though you were serving some kind of a sentence / Being stuck in a high-school type "me vs. the teacher" attitude / Complaining that "I HATE history; I HATE math, I HATE science," etc. instead of just sitting down, studying it and learning it well. 

  21. Choosing a major that is not your major passion / Repeated changes of major/ Drifting passively through school instead of grabbing control of your own education.

  22. Roommate / apartment-mate / landlord problems /conflicts.

  23. Spending too much time on the phone, texting, Skyping or online with friends, classmates, family, spouse or lover.

  24. Keeping an exclusive or too narrow focus on your major, or on one single personal interest, activity or goal (sports and coaching, music, athletics, dance, cheerleading, writing, drama, fashion design, programming, netware, graphic design, gaming or game design, etc.) with no time, interest or tolerance for any other subject or activity. 

  25. High-risk or aggressive driving / intoxicated driving / Euro-driving / talking on the phone or texting while driving.

  26. Always trying to find the easiest and most fun classes and easiest prof’s instead of focusing on what you need to take / Registering for 20+ credits each semester and then dropping all the classes that look hard or boring or where you decide you don't like the professor / Dropping classes as soon as the prof's start demanding serious study / Seeing professors as your enemy or as your opponents, not a resource to be trusted.

  27. Focusing exclusively on grades and exams instead of what you can learn in classes / “Cram and dump” learning / Going to the professor to plead or bargain for that extra point instead of earning the grade fair-and-square / Being proud of your GPA instead of what you have learned.

  28. Primarily concentrating on making social or professional contacts or on finding girlfriends / boyfriends / sex partners, instead of on classwork.

  29. Trying to keep up a long-distance engagement, marriage or intimate relationship while in college / Premature engagement, marriage  or pregnancy while enrolled in college.

  30. Lack of exercise / Significant weight gain or loss / Overeating / “The Freshman 15”/ The Ramen Diet / The fast food diet.

  31. Anorexia / Bulimia / Eating disorders / Self-injury / Cutting / Burning / Self harm / Untreated depression.

  32. Isolating yourself / Going it alone / Withdrawing / Dwelling on your own homesickness instead of engaging whole-heartedly with UTEP and making friends here / Choosing to hang out exclusively with old high school friends and extended family instead of seeking new friends and broadening your horizons.

  33. Devoting too much time to online gaming / Facebook / Twitter, etc. instead of schoolwork.

  34. Spending too much time and energy on rebelling against parents, family, injustice, discrimination, or against society in general,  or concentrating on  “making a statement” (personal, social, cultural , musical, religious, racial, political or sexual) instead of  studying.

  35. Feeling sorry for yourself / Bitterness / Resentment / Anger / Self-hatred / Lack of self esteem. 

  36. Ongoing, repeated or unnecessary conflict with professors, other students, or the University itself / Walking around campus with an "I don't take s**t from no one" attitude.

  37. Kissing-up / Trying to succeed by befriending, flattering or even flirting with the prof’s instead of by studying.

  38. Over-committing to campus clubs, teams, organizations, frats and sororities, music, sports, dance, church, etc. instead of classwork.

  39. Failure to keep up physical health, including nutrition, dental, vision, hearing, etc.

  40. Failure to be aware of possible problems with mental or emotional health, including culture shock  / Insomnia / Self-medication / Crying yourself to sleep every night / Being afraid to ask for help.

OW Rev 7/14 

For educational purposes only.


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