Hi, you probably don't remember me, but then again, we never even met… Well, not in-person anyway, so you definitely wouldn't remember me by face and probably only would by name. And if it still doesn't ring a bell, I'm sure that I'm still in your file somewhere…
See, I was in your class just four Spring semesters ago – three if you don't count the sort-of Spring semester we had this year due to COVID-19… but then again, you might, right? Because you did have that advantage of being particularly skilled at holding classes for students online – but for you, it was only strictly online. Not synchronous or anything like that. That class of yours that I took was an online class: Music 101, during the three-week Winter 2017 intersession.
I had just come out of my third and final semester at my previous school, Molloy College, and while I was there, I had been pursuing a minor in Music, and then decided to do just that at Stony Brook, since I had always wanted to get a bit more into music. So, when I saw that the Winter session was offering one of the required intro courses that all Music majors and minors alike had to take, and just before my first semester began that very Spring too, I decided to go for it.
But here was the thing: no one really prepared me for how to go about online classes, and while I was suffering from severe burnout after working at my part-time retail job for far too long than I would've liked, no one knew (too much) about what I was going through at the time. And so, as you may know from the resulting grade, it did not turn out in the way I would've hoped.
Look, I'm telling you right now that this letter isn't a letter of hate, or of blame, or even of payback to show you where I'm beginning to see myself now, but rather of forgiveness. And also of acknowledgment that would cover both fronts: I hereby acknowledge that I messed up and that a large conscious part of me deserved what I got because of what happened – and of what I let happen – to me; however, I want you to acknowledge of how much of an impact you had on me when you gave me that failing grade – not all bad, but all that good either.
I know it doesn't make up for it now, as it may be an excuse that's coming too little too late, but when I signed up for your class, I wasn't really in a good place – or head-space. I prioritized the wrong things over what I should've focused more of my energy on, or better yet, maybe even the parts of myself that I should've paid more attention to, and I should've let go of a class that I likely didn't need in the end anyway, instead of having it blemish my college transcript, the one that will follow me wherever I go whenever I go to apply for high-up working positions.
I let this one grade control how I felt about myself and my future for the past three years, drown out whatever weak flames I still had left in me, and hold me back from truly succeeding as I once did, an approach I would later bring to my other classes, required or not… because of you.
While I won't fault you for giving me a grade you felt that my (lack of) input deserved – be it written work, quizzes, and participation in the discussion boards – I will say that you should've reached out to me more: you should've seen the signs that I was falling behind on the work that was due, and made note of my very little effort to get all your class assignments in on time, and then done something about it, like send me emails reminding me of what was missing and how soon I could get them in to you. But instead, you let me fail without a single word.
At least the professor of the online class I'm taking now this Summer session – a class that I'm actually really passionate about and acts as the last class I need towards my minor in Creative Writing – had let me know that I missed the first week's assignment. And I got it in just a few days later. This is not to say you or I shouldn't have tried harder; it's to say we both should've.