Quitters Can be Winners

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My high school was a place where teachers wanted everyone to succeed. If you didn’t do well on a test, then you could retake it. If you weren’t happy with a final grade, there was always an extra credit assignment. No one told me college didn’t work this way, too. As I packed my bag and left my dorm room that first, hot Louisiana day of my freshman year, I was ready for a similar experience. I walked towards my microeconomics class ready to do well.

A few weeks later, through many long study sessions and packs of flashcards, I realized this was not the case. No matter how many meetings I had with my professor or how much time I spent studying the graphs, equations and vocabulary, for some reason I was just not able to do well.

As I sat in my academic advisor’s office explaining how hard I’ve been working, and the intense study plans I made for the rest of the year, she started to laugh. I asked her what went wrong. Her response?

“Sweetie, drop the class. You’re not doing well; it’s causing you stress. Just drop it.”

This was the exact opposite response of what I’d planned on hearing. But I decided to ignore her. I didn’t drop the class.

A few tests and long hours of studying later, I realized that I still couldn’t conquer the class. But quitting wasn’t an option for me. I’ve always followed the motto of never giving up, and I wasn’t about to start. I would’ve rather gotten a bad grade in microeconomics than drop the class. I couldn’t quit.

A month before the end of the semester I met with my advisor again. I hoped that maybe she was BFF’s with my professor and would magically push my grade up a few letters. However, my optimistic, unrealistic thoughts were quickly shut down in her office.

In this moment, I had to do the unimaginable. My only option was to quit.

I thought back to how I could have been warned about this; I thought back to the advisor who helped me make my schedule and got upset that she’d even let me take microeconomics…for my communications major. None of it made sense. I blamed everyone but myself. I wished that my advisor would’ve forced me to drop the class earlier so that I wouldn’t need to deal with this embarrassment. But it was too late. Microeconomics was a class that counted for nothing in my degree. This credit would give me no benefit—especially with a bad grade.

I worked my hardest, did absolutely everything in my power, but there was no way out of this situation. So there I sat in my dark dorm room a month before the semester ended. I logged onto the registrar website and I waited, staring at the drop/add page. A few minutes later, I was still waiting. Maybe out of nowhere a decent grade would pop up on the screen. But I realized that this wouldn’t happen.

In this moment, I finally did the unimaginable, in my mind anyways, and pressed the button. Just like that, I dropped the class. There was no better feeling of relief, yet a mild disappointment and discouragement in myself. A year has passed and while I am still sad that I wasn’t able to complete what I started, I see that I did do the right thing— I got myself out of a stressful situation.

In the end, I found out I have absolutely no need for a knowledge of diminishing marginal utility as a communications major. Let your advisors…advise. I may have figured that out a little late, but better late than a bad grade.

Samantha is a sophomore at Tulane University studying communications and sociology. You can find her watching Gilmore Girls, trying every Ben and Jerry's flavors or walking around NYC

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