As I was walking through campus today, I was thinking of how this college experience is truly different than my previous experience. I recalled being about 19-20 years old. My grades were awful and because I had decided to stop being a French major (a major that was eventually dropped at the school), I was given a generic advisor in the Academic Achievement Center.
While she wasn’t a horrible woman, she had a way of making me feel about two inches tall when I saw her. Yes, my grades were lousy, but telling me to focus more on school did nothing to help the situation. I always left advising sessions feeling worse than when I went in. There were never any solutions or options offered to me. (Now I can think of so many services on campus that may have benefited me.) I didn’t really know what my problem was and why I didn’t just magically get my shit together. I think that’s what she expected from me.
I do remember feeling like I was fighting my GPA the whole time. That’s what happens when you start out with a less than stellar GPA your first semester. I was constantly fighting to bring it up and I felt like it was a losing battle.
This particular advisor said to me at one point, “You should consider transferring to a new school–one where your decent credits will transfer, but you can start fresh with a new GPA.” That always stuck with me. I always remembered that comment and hoped that some day I could do that. But I still remember the look of complete disgust on her face as she said that to me.
Well, 15-16 years later, I did just that. And if she could see that pathetic little girl now! I am on track to get As and Bs this semester, and I’ve gotten involved in a Public Relations organization at the school. I’m also trying to get involved in other activities at my school.
What a truly different experience this already is.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to know what they want to be “when they grow up” right out of high school. Not every student has the will to get it all done in their late teens/early twenties. What I do hope is that those people in a position to influence younger college students realize that not every student with lousy grades is a failure. There might be a smart person in there that needs to jump out, but also needs the faith in himself or herself to take that leap.