Dear Debby,

I’m too dumb for school, I keep failing my classes and it really feels like I’m not cut out for my program but at the same time, I don’t know what else I’d do if it weren’t for this program because I don’t like anything else.


Fai Lure


Dear Fai Lure,

     I thought I wrote this. This sounds so much like me I debated about whether or not to do it. I was very recently in your shoes and am still suffering the effects of it. However, I am no longer in that position and so I think I am qualified to give my advice.

Let’s start with the first sentence, you aren’t too dumb for school. You probably just don’t fit into that small box of learners school is meant for. I say that as someone who also failed a ton of classes throughout high school and then when the pandemic hit, college. But in a time when hands-on learning was allowed/possible? I excelled.
    You are likely just a different type of learner. There has been a lot of debate about how many learning styles there are. There could be anywhere from 3-170! To make things easier, I’ll just explain the top 8.

1. Visual (Spatial)
    Visual learners are, as the name says, those who learn by seeing things.  They are people who learn best with graphs and diagrams. These learners are well suited to most school environments and make up a good chunk of the population.

2. Aural (Auditory-Musical)

   Aural learners learn best through sound and rhythm. Hearing someone say information is very helpful to the Aural learner.  This is another group of learners that do well in school environments. 

3. Verbal (Linguistic)

    This group is the note-takers.  Verbal learners find it easier to remember and process information when it is written down or expressed through words. Verbal learners are also catered to in classrooms. 

4. Physical (Kinesthetic)
  Physical learners learn to do by doing.  They’re the type who do really well on field trips.  They have to get their hands dirty and actually experience something to understand. Education systems are slowly adding them into the groups they teach for.  

5. Logical (Mathematical)

   History and science call to this group.  Picking up on patterns and grouping information together is where they excel.  Schools are built for this type of learner the same as physical learners; they’re trying but it’s not the best.

6. Social (Interpersonal)

   School is made for this group. Classroom settings and group work where they can communicate and bounce ideas, thoughts, and questions of others is where they learn best.

7. Solitary (Intrapersonal)

   Where the last group excelled, this group struggles.  Being alone is their best way to learn.  This group is likely to struggle through elementary and high school but do much better in post-secondary when left to their own devices.

8.  Natural

   This last group is very much debated on but I am adding it as it is one of the ones I fit into.  Natural learners learn best when outside and connected to nature.  As you can imagine, this one is hard for a lot of schools to cater to. 


   Most people are not just one type, they are usually multiple.  For example, I am a Physical, Logical, Solitary, and Natural learner. You are probably multiple as well. You definitely aren’t dumb.

     Now that we’ve covered that you aren’t dumb we can move on to the rest. 

     Is there a reason other than failing classes that makes you feel like this isn’t the program for you?  Are you still enjoying the program?
  If you are still enjoying the program, talk to teachers, and professors.  If you need more support, Student Success programs and Student Accessibility can help too.  Reach out to those around you, people are more willing to help than you think.
  If you are not enjoying your program, there is no shame in dropping out.  School is hard enough when you love what you do.  If this program isn’t for you, don’t waste your money by staying. I’d suggest changing to a program you like better but you say you don’t like anything else.  Maybe take a break from school altogether.

    Most programs have a 5-8 year time frame for completion.  You can take a year off and work or explore your interests.  For most people, finding out what they want to do is trial and error.  You don’t have to know what you want right now.
    For me, I applied to post-secondary 3 times in a row (only got in year 3) to a total of about 6 different programs ranging from Equine Management to Television to Creative Writing and Comedy.  I didn’t know what I wanted even as I was applying. I chose a program and then had a job change.  That job turned out to be in none of those areas I applied for and it is the thing I love and am now going to school for.
    Go out there and find where your passion lies, it may be somewhere you least expect. Good luck on your journey.


– Debby