I Almost Dropped A College Class, Here Is Why I'm Glad I Stayed
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I Almost Dropped A College Class, Here Is Why I'm Glad I Stayed

How I grew through an experience that once made me feel defeated.

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I Almost Dropped A College Class, Here Is Why I'm Glad I Stayed

I started this semester excited to take my first political science class, I had recently decided to add the minor. The class was a pro-seminar limited to fifteen students and taught by a former chairman of the Democratic National Convention, an incredible learning opportunity. The conversation was meant to focus on the four freedoms FDR spoke on during his famous speech: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from fear, and freedom from want.

The first day of class, my professor went around the room and asked each of us to share our ambition and describe how it relates to an American value. My class is primarily upperclassmen who have a clear career goal and are eager to share their passion, in fact, many are journalism majors who drew the natural connection between their ambition to disseminate information to the public and the freedom of speech.

I am currently an international business and finance major, with minors in Spanish and political science — I do not have a specific end goal because not only am I just a second-semester freshman, my degrees lend themselves to a wide array of career paths. I froze when the question was asked to me.

The next class, we discussed which freedom has the highest significance to us. Once again, I honestly was unsure of my answer because I have personally never experienced a time where I felt one of my freedoms was violated and therefore had a greater appreciation for it. I went back to my room that day feeling defeated, dumb, and ill-experienced. I knew my professor was extremely smart and my peers seemed to be better informed because of their willingness to talk. Therefore, I felt so much pressure to present a perfect, cohesive thought every time I spoke — which prevented me from speaking at all.

By the time I began to heavily consider dropping the class, it was only a few days before the add/drop deadline at my school, meaning that by dropping the course neither my GPA nor grade in the class would be affected. For pride purposes, if nothing else, I decided to stick with it. I am so glad I did.

The same week that I decided to stick with the course my professor invited anyone to come to his home to meet presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand. I have always been taught to take advantage of any and all opportunities and decided to attend. Not only was it a rare opportunity to have a more intimate meet-and-greet with a prominent political figure, but I was also able to talk to my professor outside of what I considered to be a stressful setting.

The next class, I volunteered to speak about the nature of freedom and whether it is innate to strive for or a concept that exists only because oppression engendered the desire for freedom. I still was not well acquainted with my classmates, though felt more comfortable speaking in front of my professor. Our next assignment was to turn in a brief essay on our thoughts on freedom as a general concept and which of the four from FDR's speech we felt was most important. When the essays were returned, I saw an arrow pointed to part of my essay, with the comment "bring this up in class."

So I did.

I thought this particular part of my essay was not very important and so I had never previously shared my views on the issue in class — this made me realize my unrealistic standards for myself were just that, unrealistic. My confidence in my thoughts and views increased as I saw a positive response when I began to speak in class. In fact, our final project was a presentation and a lengthy paper and I volunteered to present first.

My presentation lasted for over an hour with follow-up questions from my professor and classmates. I was excited to present because it was a topic I was interested in and devoted a lot of time to ensure I was well-informed on the topic. The anxiety I once felt to even make a one sentence remark had slowly washed away and been replaced by a renewed sense of confidence.

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