(I mentioned in my last post that I already had some particulars on the situation with the first-gen student. Here is the rest of the story. Students, maybe you’ve faced this situation where you found that there were other things that fueled your passion way more than your schoolwork. Then, you had a hard time focusing on assignments, studying, etc. Well, let me tell you, you don’t have to be in college for that to happen! Read on for more of the story–and some advice that may help you deal with this issue while you’re in school!).
Thanks for replying and being genuinely concerned. As to your first set of questions dealing with my classes and what happened to put me in this situation, the answer is a number of things.
Throughout my academic career, school was never really my thing and it always took my parents lighting a fire under my butt in order to get me going.
I’m capable of doing the work, I just procrastinate almost every chance I get. (Programming note… I’m keeping this next part intentionally vague for anonymity sake, but have kept the theme of the discussion). Along with that, I am into the arts. It is something that I really want to make a career out of. I’ve won some national competitions and when I got to campus I became very involved with organizations on campus related to what I love.
I put things having to do with the organization over school work and honestly didn’t feel bad about it because it’s something I want to do in the future as a career. If my school allowed me to only take classes involving my interest, I would pass all of my classes with flying colors. But that’s not how it works.
My parents have supported me a lot, because I am the first in the family to go to college. My parents support me in anything I do.
Right now, I am waiting for grades to be posted. I’m just waiting to see if I’ll be put on probation or not. I already have the mindset of going back to school and dedicating all my time to it and becoming much less involved in the organization. But if I am put on probation, I really need to prepare myself for what I need to do.
And my response, once again, which I will also sanitize for any identifiers and abbreviate as best I can. Many thanks for all of your comments and more are certainly welcome!
It sounds like you have done some incredible, incredible things already with the creative part of yourself, so there is no doubt in my mind that you have it in you to do what you need to do for school. So tell me this:
What classes did you start out with this first year? Did an academic adviser guide you? Did you pick your own classes? I think there is a lot to be said for someone who is tepid about being in school to be a little selfish about picking classes that you’re going to be passionate about to start, regardless of what is “suggested” (I may be going against the grain with this suggestion–I realize that). So, in my mind, if you were my advisee and I knew that you loved the arts and had a track record of being a less than enthusiastic student, I might have front-ended you with classes that would fit your Gen Ed req’s, but fed those passions.
Okay, so I’m not going to tell you that Chem is going to feed that need, but if you are buffering Chem with three other classes that you love, it might help.
I see what you’re saying about being involved in your organization and absolutely loving that and then letting your class work go. Let’s just be real here: this happens to people all the time! Don’t think for one minute that profs and employees at all levels don’t get caught up in a special project that they love to do, but they still HAVE to do that “everydayness” of their career (which suddenly they don’t really want to do because they are being emotionally and mentally fed by this other thing they love!).
Personal disclosure: I just had a book come out two weeks ago (I’m a creative type, too, though you have me beat in many areas!). Now, if you think for one minute I am as excited about doing my “day work”–I’ve been doing grant work for the past year, not in the classroom–with a shiny book out, well, you can only imagine . Sure, I still like my work, but I’m jazzed about my book! It’s a dream come true! So, see? You are not alone in those feelings. But, as it sounds like you know, sometimes we need to force ourselves into the “have to do” in order to reach the passion point of the “get to do.”
Here is my recommendation for you about that and I’m wondering if it could help with the mindset of your future classes. I’m going to put this in the framework of grad school: There, you pick a topic YOU want to study and you make all of your classes and research tie into that topic. That’s your job.
I wonder if there are parts of your classes that can become this way for you (?). So, let’s say you have to write a paper in history. Could you talk to the prof about it being something to do with history/the arts, which is a subject that you love (if you were a sports fanatic, I would make that recommendation). If you have a speech to give in Public Speaking class, how about giving it on your experiences with your national awards?
Do you see where I’m going? Again, I can’t turn Calculus into something artistic, but maybe you can give yourself some sort of reward system of what you “get to do” if you focus. I’m also going to go out on a limb here and say that depending on the agreement you have with your parents and your financial aid situation, you may not *have* to get all A’s either (I’m not saying D’s, but B’s are respectable grades, and many people celebrate over C’s with classes that they struggle in). I’m just saying that there are lots of options here that are NOT all or nothing.
Now, let’s talk about the grades: Once you know what they are, remember, get the full story before you go to your parents. At some colleges, D’s still allow you to pull the credit out of the class. They aren’t a celebration, but sometimes they aren’t the equivalent of failing either. It just depends on your program/college.
Is there ANY way to circle back to your profs either in person or on e-mail to debrief your grades? If there is, I would strongly, strongly recommend that you do that. I don’t know if there is anything that could be done, but you never know. The profs may have suggestions that we aren’t aware of, but if you’re going back (are you attending this summer?), it would be good to know.
Last suggestion: If the entire term was bad, find out about academic renewal or its equivalent. I am not sure how this would affect your financial aid. At some colleges, there is a mechanism where you can wipe out an entire term’s worth of grades, but the caveat is that you have to be willing to let the whole term go. Sometimes, this cannot be done until a few years have passed–every college is different (and not all colleges offer this option), but it is worth looking into.
Keep me posted on how you’re doing. Once again, you are totally not alone. And your successes in other areas prove that you will find a way to make college work for you.