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UNF Spinnaker

To withdraw or not to withdraw?

It’s about that time of the semester again, where you have to decide what your academic willpower can stand against and what just can not be done.

November 7 is the last day to withdraw from Fall 08′ classes. As a student who has always succeeded in her academic career, I have found myself baffled, among plenty of other students, as a “series of misfortunate events” or whatever reason one chooses for having to ultimately withdraw from a class, has sideswiped my personal perception of how I was doing in school.

I am aware that having to withdraw is a common thing amongst the school’s population, but I never thought that I wouldn’t have some plan to pick myself up if I ever slipped behind. But no, as students, we are invincible; there is always a plan b, a way to cheat the system.

Well November 7 is a date that has been flashing in my head the past couple of weeks, as I have gone through plan b, c, d, etc. I try to ignore it and yet it fills my thoughts with all the potential disadvantages that are going to result when this day comes and goes. It is a choice encompassed with stress, a choice where we pick up the pieces of a puzzle we cannot afford to fail at solving.

Disadvantage 1: money. Many of us have financial aid, scholarships, and grants or loans that will only cater to us if we satisfy their wants from us. Withdrawing from one or more classes in a semester is not what they expect and in doing so, many students lose this help that allows them to attend school. But what if we get struck with pneumonia or a family emergency forces us to drive home and miss a one-class-a-week course. What if the night before has resulted in what we feel is alcohol poisoning or we pick up a friend in jail and miss that one exam in the morning that counts for everything. Sometimes it matters the reason; a validated one, even if a lie, is enough to let us make-up what we’ve missed if an empathetic professor is who we are dealing with. And sometimes a validated excuse still is not enough; we have missed too much important work or a speech date cannot be fit again into the class schedule. Whatever the reason is, we are forced to withdraw and lose the near $350, maybe more, the class cost us. For those with financial aid, they risk their chance of possessing it. And for those like me, who pay out of pocket to go to school, I am simply losing $350. Money I don’t have, money my mom would kill me to know I threw away, money gone gone gone.

Besides the money lost, is time lost. Time I could have spent focused on my other classes that I am now forced to crack down on as being they are my only ones! We waste a lot of time by withdrawing from a class because of the time we put into it, the study hours, the homework hours, the time the class lasted each week, is eventually time wasted. My time is precious and I continue to hand it over again and again to a sole person with the ability to crumple it up and hand it back to me. Syllabus’ are killers and I am dead.

And losing the money makes me want to cry. And losing the time makes me want to scream. But in my opinion, these two things are insignificant in the bigger picture. More than anything, I am losing my integrity, my pride, and future opportunity. Sure, we can re-take the class but the “W” is forever on our transcript and you know what that signifies? The perseverance we don’t have. Possibly our inability to grasp the material taught. Although we know deep down we have what it takes, and that a grade of “W” resulted from unlucky times, no one else does. Future schools and employers can’t read the reasoning behind the transcript. My future career doesn’t care what my excuse is for failing a WRITING class.

But on the bright side of things, it all depends who’s looking at it and who’s judging your character. Not all plaster a grade to our faces, but we have to be prepared for those who do. So do not believe you are invincible; plan b is not always guaranteed. Begin every semester by going to every class, not making stupid decisions the night before you have to do something that counts, and communicate with your professors every step of the way.

For those having to withdraw, I feel your pain. But it’s not over. Sign-up for the class again, start from scratch, and prove your willpower as great. And for those who haven’t, know the consequences and prevent them at all cost.

Policies on withdrawing can be found on the school’s website and talking to an advisor can provide you with a lot of useful information you may not know.


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