Since I can remember I have prided myself on my academics. In grade school, I would get perfect attendance and tons of kind remarks from my teachers. In middle school, I would get unbearably flustered if I forgot even one homework assignment at home. In high school, I loosened up a bit when it came to the marks I received, but would still study for long hours into the night.
My habits haven't changed much now that I am in college. I study hard and strive for a 4.0 every semester. I have always been under the impression that I needed to be perfect.
Though I have come to terms with the fact I will never be physically or emotionally perfect, one thing has remained the same: the need for perfect grades.
I am not sure what it is about getting good grades that make me so proud. My family has always told me to just do my best. They have never reprimanded me if I disliked my teachers or did poorly on a project. My biggest critic is myself in my academics, no one else.
With that being said, this is the semester I have been the closest to a 4.0 GPA than ever, but it didn't begin that way.
At the beginning of the semester, I decided to take the max amount of 18 credits. I took the remainder of my prerequisites, my major classes, and even decided to take a course to continue my minor in Marketing. I have LOVED all my classes this semester.
I was thriving, doing really well. Still getting A's on exams, turning in all my homework and going to every class until suddenly, I asked myself if the classes I was taking were actually something I liked to participate in.
I noticed I loved all of them more than ever this semester, besides one. It was the class that was going to help me achieve my minor in Marketing. Don't get me wrong, I really like marketing and the concepts involved in it.
However, the past two semesters each Marketing class I have taken happened to be my least favorite. You wouldn't think it looking at my grades, however, it was the truth.
Compared to all my classes, these classes just seemed like a chore. Instead of being excited to head to class I felt exhausted and unenthused. The creative juices weren't flowing and the classes were not what I anticipated.
I thought to myself that I couldn't just withdraw or drop the class, I needed to push through.
Until I realized, I didn't.
I took a good hard look at the minors offered at my university and the requirements I needed to fulfill my marketing minor. After reading the descriptions I knew it just wasn't for me anymore and I needed to come to terms with that.
Although I was thriving in all my courses, including my Marketing ones, I just didn't have a passion for it anymore. I just didn't want to conform and do the normal minor for my major in Communications.
So, instead of pushing my limit and taking on 18 credits, I decided it is OK to drop my minor. It is OK to drop a class.
There are a million reasons why it is OK.
Maybe it would help your GPA if you dropped a class. Maybe you just don't have the passion for that minor anymore, like me. Maybe your workload is already too heavy to continue you the suggested courses.
Whatever the case is, you are not a failure for dropping a class. It doesn't make you dumb or "less than." It is not embarrassing knowing what you can handle and what you cannot, I think it makes you stronger.
Ultimately, every student is different. We all learn differently, interact differently and can handle different workloads. I for one could not handle walking into a class every day that was no longer going to serve me or my future degree.
So, if you have found yourself feeling disengaged or unchallenged or discouraged by a class, maybe it is time to consider taking a step away, no matter how much a perfectionist you are.
Focus on your required courses and find out the number of credits that work best for you, not what you have convinced yourself is best to do. Society tells you that you have to take a full semester worth of classes, you have to graduate in four years and you have to have a minor.
In reality, you don't. Take an extra semester if you need, drop that minor, take classes you're interested in so you can find what you actually love, and for God sakes, it IS OK to drop a class.