Dear Kelly,

During the first couple weeks of school I truly didn’t feel like I was ready. A lot was going on, and I withdrew from my classes. Now, I want to start again, but I’m nervous I will experience the same anxiety. I don’t want to quit, but I’m worried I won’t be successful. What do I do?

First of all, let’s talk about that word, “successful.” Who measures what success means to you? Some people may think success is acing all their classes or making the President’s List. Other people may feel that success is passing their classes and moving on to the next level. The truth is your level of success is determined by one person — you.

So, I want to first encourage you: If you want to go to college, and this has been your goal, then definitely try again. Determine what your level of success is, what will define your goals, and write those down. Ask yourself, “What was it about my first semester that caused me to stop?” Were you overwhelmed by the number of classes you took? Were you concerned you wouldn’t have enough time to do all that was required? Did you feel like you didn’t understand the course content or what was being discussed? The answers to these questions are important because they will help you determine exactly what you need to adjust when trying again.

Now, here’s the part I truly want you to absorb. Mercer’s mission is, “To teach, to learn, to create, to discover, to inspire, to empower and to serve.” Even more specifically, part of Mercer’s strategic plan, titled, “Inspire,” professes the University’s goal to deliver individualized student support services. What does all this mean? Mercer is committed to helping you succeed. It is Mercer’s vision to encourage you to fully discover your unique gifts and talents in order to become someone who will change the world. As a Mercer student, you have access to support services that can help you along the way so that you will be able to achieve your goals.

One of the primary services that Mercer has available to support you throughout your academic journey is the Academic Resource Center, or ARC. ARC, as stated on the Mercer website, “Helps Mercer University students attain academic success and degree completion by promoting independent, active, and lifelong learning, scholarly achievement, and personal development. The ARC offers resources, such as quiet study areas and a textbook library, and services, ranging from peer and professional tutoring to individual study skills consultations, to support the academic endeavors of Mercer University students.” If you, for instance, have been assigned a research paper, but aren’t sure about APA citations, the ARC is there to help guide you through the process. If you need help with an essay you are writing or have questions about your math assignment, the ARC offers math and writing tutoring. Learn more about all the resources and services that the ARC has to offer at

In addition, Mercer offers counseling services that can help you navigate through any anxiety and stress you may experience while in school. Additionally, Mercer offers Tao Connect, a valuable resource where you can find 150 brief, effective, educational sessions on over 50 topics related to a variety of concerns. To access the wealth of counseling and support services that Mercer provides, visit

Finally, know that your professors and advisers are committed to helping you succeed. Each professor has office hours, and I adamantly encourage you (and all Mercer students) to use them. During this time, you can meet one on one, discuss your concerns and receive incredible advice and support. Never be scared of discussing your concerns with the people who are invested in your success. You may discover these are the people who will become your biggest cheerleaders and motivators.

The truth is I can tell from your question that you don’t want to quit. You’re just nervous, and you know what? That’s OK. But by deciding what success means to you, defining what you need to reach your objectives, and using the resources and support that Mercer provides, your achievement is inevitable. Don’t allow fear to rob you of the things you hope to accomplish in life. Instead, open yourself up to the support you have around you and find the persistence to do what you know you are fully capable of doing. You’ve got this, and I know that all Mercerians are ready to cheer you on.

As always, I wish you health, happiness and continued support throughout your amazing journey.

Kelly Browning, a master’s student and student ambassador at the Henry County Regional Academic Center, answers questions from the Mercer community. Email her at or fill out our online form to submit your question anonymously.


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