USF Students Struggle to Finish Their Degree

TAMPA (2011-12-13) -

Tuition hikes...crowded classrooms...it's not easy to be a college student these days. Few students graduate in four years anymore, and there are lots of reasons why.

We talked to four USF students about the challenges they face.

Ashanti Johnson, a junior majoring in criminology

"I have experienced some struggles while in school. Last semester I dropped a few classes and I'm about to go in the process of dropping two more classes.

"Really it's just we're students and we have a life, and life does happen and things happen. So I'm just going through some extenuating circumstances where I can't really focus 100 percent on school. I have to focus on my living situation.

"And unfortunately there comes a time where you’re life and what's going on with you is more important than school."

Kristen Slusser, a senior majoring in communications

She says she has NOT struggled with staying in school.

"Honestly I really haven't, and a good part of that is there are so many resources here on campus that has helped me overcome that.

"For example I'm in Honors College. We have personalized advisors in addition to my communication advisors and they've really been able to make sure I stay on track and be successful in all of my classes."

Catherine (no last name given), a student majoring in sociology

"I've had to drop a couple classes in the course of the four years I’ve been here because I was overconfident in my abilities as a student.

"My sophomore year here I thought that maybe I could take 4000 level courses and it proved to be a whole lot harder than what I thought it was. In general I’ve been struggling with tuition hikes and all the other expenses that come with being a student.

"By the grace of God I have gotten scholarships and that has been able to help. But I have had to take out student loans.

"I have to spend a lot of time to keep my grades up in order to keep my scholarships so I don't fall back, so I can graduate in four years, so I don’t have to spend money on textbooks that are just ridiculously expensive."

Michelle Shock, a senior majoring in psychology

"A few years ago I actually withdrew from school permanently. II took about a three year break off and I had to slowly come back and struggle with getting readjusted.

"I had a death in my family that was very close and just couldn’t finish out the semester, too emotional.

"When I first started going back it was difficult. I just slowly started out with one class because it had been three years since I had taken a class. After a while it got easier and I finally jumped back in and went full time."

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