Dear Perfectionists, It's OK To Drop A Class

For The Perfectionists Out There, It's OK To Drop A Class

There are a million reasons why it is OK to drop a class.

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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.

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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I'm About To Burst, Laughing At The People Who Thought My Pregnancy Meant I Had To Drop Out Of College

I get stared at in the halls and asked if I am going to drop out. Here are ways being a pregnant student has changed my college experience.

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I have been pregnant the entire time that I have been in graduate school. It was not how I planned to experience grad school, but it has opened my eyes to a whole new perspective and will give me a lovely son (seriously, any second now). There are certain things that I did not realize about being a pregnant student until I experienced it, and maybe my experiences can help better prepare other women, or give them something to relate to since pregnant students are such a rare breed.

As a grad student and a 25-year-old, I am around the average age to have my first child in America. I am not dependent on my parents and the world does not treat me like a child anymore.

However, since I decided to pursue my master's degree, I feel that people are not used to seeing pregnant and student in the same sentence without gasping.

When I first told my father, his first reaction was to ask me if I was to going to drop out.

This became a recurrent reaction from my family and friends (which my boyfriend who is also a student was never asked once). I did not expect the hesitant reactions and it made me feel shameful to be a pregnant student. As my expecting belly grew I always noticed that people on campus would stare at my stomach.

As I walked past, their eyes followed my belly like I had a giant red felt "A" on my chest.

None of my classmates are pregnant and thinking back, I can't remember ever seeing a pregnant woman in all of my five years of college. Since none of my classmates were pregnant, I felt like I had no one to relate to. There are a lot of things that pregnancy effects, besides the baby in the tummy part. I could not go out and get drinks with my classmates and bond with them the way that they were all doing. I could not relate to them fashionably because maternity clothes are heinous. I also feel like pregnancy put up a barrier because I would have a baby eventually and will always be busy, so why bother?

Pregnancy side effects would sometimes take a toll on my school work. In the first trimester, I could barely get out of bed because I was so tired. I could easily have slept 14 hours straight and being a working student did not help. I would seep through some of my classes and had to take the hit to my attendance points. I also have "pregnancy brain." Pregnancy brain is a real thing and is not well known enough. My mind can be so scattered that I forget my friend's names while I am speaking to them. I think it is October when it is March. Pregnancy brain has made me forget that I even go to school or that I work in twenty minutes. I missed due dates or completely misread instructions on assignments. For someone who needs A's on every assignment to function, it hurt because I would never make that mistake otherwise.

There are also benefits to being a pregnant student. I am never hungover and I have never been tempted to ditch a night class for a drinking holiday.

Pregnancy has allowed me to prioritize my school work and ignore the college lifestyle.

Before I knew I was pregnant, I went with my roommates to bars in Chicago's Lincoln Park. I feel so happy knowing getting wasted from $3 shots on a Wednesday is behind me. I now truly have nothing better to do at night than complete my homework.

Another benefit is that you sometimes get special treatment. The special treatment that pregnant women get is awesome. It is my favorite part and sometimes makes me wish I could be pregnant forever. People feel obligated to wait on me hand and foot. If I drop something, people rush to pick it up. It is completely not necessary but I get to feel like a princess for a day (or 280 days). Even though I was singled out for being the only pregnant woman, I was always treated especially nicely by students and professors.

Regardless of my friends and family expecting me to drop out, I am doing phenomenal in grad school. I have received A's in every class and have loved all of my classes. Being a pregnant student can be tough, but it is totally doable. If you find yourself to be a pregnant student, don't feel discouraged. It is not ruining your college experience but allowing you to do college differently.

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