Thinking back to my hot mess of a freshman year, I can’t believe that four years later I’m still standing in one piece. From failing two classes, being put on academic probation, changing my major three times and losing the HOPE scholarship, my first semester at KSU didn’t turn out to be what I had expected at all. College can be overwhelmingly exciting as a freshman. You get the chance to start over new and forge your own path. Maybe you see yourself stepping out of your comfort zone that you stayed in during high school. No matter what you think now, whatever your expectations are, the reality will likely be very different.
The first class I went to was KSU 1101 at 8 a.m. I thought, ‘Hey, 8 a.m. won’t be so bad, I woke up earlier than that for high school. It’ll be easy.’ Nope. After that first class, I may have gone to two more classes at the most before the semester was half over. Getting up early for class seemed less important than staying up late and running around with my new friends. Little did I know that if I had paid better attention to the syllabus, I would have seen that there was an attendance policy stating that if you miss three or more classes, you automatically fail the class. I showed up for the midterm, realized that I had officially failed my first college class, and slowly let it set in on my walk back to my dorm room. I didn’t tell my parents because I was too embarrassed, and even worse than that I decided to try and ignore it completely. I kept focusing more on the new clubs I had joined and the parties I was being invited to. I was happier that I was socially succeeding and didn’t see it as a big deal that my grades weren’t up to par. Until my parents got a letter in the mail that I had been put on academic probation. I finished my first semester with a 1.75 GPA and suddenly I was in a place I never thought I’d be in.
The next semester, I planned to study more and party less. I thought I’d retake KSU 1101 and it’d be a piece of cake. I thought I could handle all of my problems without anyone’s help. After all, I was in college, right? I should be able to handle things on my own. Again, I was wrong. Class took a backseat again to going out with friends and going to Panama City for spring break. I brought my GPA up to a 2.0, but it wasn’t enough to keep myself from losing the HOPE scholarship. Now I really felt like I was drowning in a pool that I’d never get out of. It took four semesters of 4.0 GPAs to pull myself out. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t impossible.
Coming to terms with your own failures is the only way you can overcome them. Even more so, begin your college career on a good foot so that you won’t have to work ten times harder to fix your own mistakes. The most important piece of advice I can give you is to never hide anything from your parents. Especially things like slipping grades. Your parents are always going to be there to help you and forgive you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes getting a little help in the beginning can keep things from getting even worse and spiraling out of control.
Push yourself to succeed. Join clubs and student organizations, but never forget that your number one goal will be reached by sitting in the classroom. Once you find a major you’re passionate about, immerse yourself in all of the education that you can. For me, that major was communication. Once I started taking communication classes my sophomore year, I realized that I wasn’t skipping class because I was so interested in what my professors had to teach me. College can be one of the best or worst experiences of your life, but ultimately it is up to you what you will take from it. Let it be something wonderful.