No college student begins their first semester with the hopes of doing so poorly that they are subject to dismissal. We begin our college careers with high hopes and dreams, partly believing that it will come naturally to us just like high school did. People warn us that college is difficult, but do we heed this warning?
Most of us will be okay. Most of us may come out of our first semester with a C or two, but still be on track to achieving an above average GPA. Then there are people like me, who were so caught up in the new college experience that they did not put enough effort into their studies. I came out of my first semester with a 1.7 GPA. Impressive, right? This landed me right on Academic Probation. At first, I was humiliated. I was also terrified to tell my parents. Eventually, I came to accept what was and embrace the journey rather than try to hide it.
All schools are different with their requirements, but mine required that I attend weekly meetings with a peer-counselor, monthly meetings with an advisor, and to make frequent trips to my professors' office hours. This may seem like a lot, and it definitely is, but it was in my best interest. I am notashamed that I was on academic probation. I am not embarrassed. I do not regret anything. I was not shy when my friends would ask me where I was going, or why I had to do all of these things. Being honest is the best way to go.
It is natural for humans to fail. No person is great at everything they do, especially not at their first attempt. I view my first semester as a first attempt at college. Did this have lasting effects? Definitely. I had to put in extra effort every semester after in order to raise my GPA. However, I will not be hard on myself because I was not successful at first. School can be difficult, whether it's high school, college, graduate programs, etc. This was a learning experience that I am grateful for. It has made me more mindful of my practices when it comes to education, but it has not caused me to view myself as a failure. I am human, and humans are not perfect.
Do I wish that I had started off on a better foot? Yes, of course. However, the following semester I was able to get my act together and be just shy of a 4.0. All of the annoying things I had to do that semester (on top of trying to get better grades) made me realize what I was doing wrong. I was not focusing on school work, I was focusing on establishing a social life. I was focused on making friends and acting "too cool to study." Why is that even a thing?? Since middle school, it seemed so outrageous to be interested in doing school work. Luckily for me, I surrounded myself with friends who were within the same major(s) and were way more dedicated to studying than I was.
From this experience, I learned how to prioritize. How to embrace my studies. How to make my college years fun, yet functional. College is one of the most difficult experiences a person can have, in my opinion. For those of you who landed yourself on probation like I did, just know there are countless people supporting you. Tell yourself that the only way to go is up. Put your social life on hold for one semester, it won't kill you and it won't make you a loser. Don't be bothered by the ridiculous amount of stuff you have to do in order to get off of probation. Take it as a new experience, and actually try to learn from it. Trust me, it will only help you in the end.
If you have found yourself on the wrong side of the academic standings, do not let it consume you. Do not view yourself in a negative light because of one misstep. Life is hard, college is hard, trying to keep up with the million things that young adults have to do is hard. You will make it through, and you will become successful. I made it through and so will you.