Fail Once, Fail Twice

There is one day of the semester that always seems to make me a little sad. It’s the last day that students can withdraw from a course. Now don’t get me wrong, if you can retreat with your dignity and your GPA then by all means–just do it.

It saddens me to see some students leave , and I wish them all the best. However, sometimes I encounter people who…well, let me tell a little story and you will see what I mean.

I had a student who simply did not do well in my class. He had a really rough time understanding everything, from the basic concepts to test taking. While in my class he had a decent attitude, but once he dropped the class he began acting a bit strange. He stopped speaking to me in the hall, spoke negatively about my class in public, and told other students that he really didn’t need my class and that that was why he dropped it. Two years later, on the first day of a Fall semester I began to call names from the roll when lo and behold guess who was back? Yep, the same guy. And guess what? This was his third time taking the course.

He couldn’t look me in the face for weeks. It wasn’t long before his grade began to slide south and he was too embarrassed to ask for help. Realizing this I began to make a “public” announcement about a class (his) issue. I let them (him) know that too many of them (him) are relying on hearsay and prior class experience rather than studying. I told them (him) that this was dangerous, and that if they (he) wanted me to I would meet with them (him) to give them (him) some pointers.

Sometimes there is a thin line between confesion and bragging.

He stoped by and we talked for an hour. He made something very clear to me. He told me that because he had taken the class before that he assumed that all of the prior knowledge would just magically be there. That most of the class material would just be easy-A material because he had heard it before. But then he realized that if he had not passed it with understanding the first time that he had a higher chance of repeating this the second time.

This is true for many classes, and students who repeat classes should take caution against this. When you drop/withdraw from a course, make sure that you journal exactly why you dropped/withdrew and what your weakness was. Once you are ready to take the course again, be honest with yourself so that the second time around is the last. Remember: sometimes the most difficult person to be honest with is yourself.