During my second week of classes, I dropped an eight-week class. Yes, me, the Type A Personality education major who actually enjoys learning. Before dropping the class, I expected to have major regrets.
Instead, I feel great. Yes, me, the Type A Personality type, education major who actually enjoys learning feels great about dropping a college class when there were only six weeks left and after renting the textbook for a semester. However, neither were convincing reasons for me to stay in the class.
When I woke up at six a.m., in complete panic about this course, trying to figure out when I would complete the coursework and meet my required ten hours of field experience outside of the classroom, I realized that I needed to take a visit to academic advising. After a fifteen-minute advising session, the class was dropped and so was my crippling stress. Despite my refreshed attitude towards this semester of classes, I was still confronted with these comments about dropping a college class:
1. You're just lazy.
I went from taking 18 credit hours, the maximum amount you can take at my university, to taking 15 credit hours. I'm still involved in three clubs, the literary magazine, the honors college, I started a new job, oh and I'm also trying to learn a new language. Still, I'm accused of being lazy – it's almost comical. One of the greatest misconceptions about dropping a college course relies on the idea that college students are not involved outside of the classroom. Sometimes, students drop classes because in combination with their other responsibilities, it is simply too much.
2. You just want an easy A.
At this point in my academic career, an "Easy A" does not exist. I did not drop the class because I thought I would fail, I dropped the class because I did not have time to take the class. My mindset is that I either give my best effort or I pursue something else. I recognize that I will need to take the class later to graduate, but now that I know what the class entails, I can structure my schedule accordingly.
3. You can do it.
I know this comment means well, but oh is it so misguided. It feels invalidating when I say, "I woke up in full panic at 6 a.m.," and the response is, "You can do it." It seems encouraging, but it devalues a person's feelings and mental health. Before judging someone about dropping a class, listen to their reasons and if it sounds overwhelming to you, chances are it's overwhelming to that person as well.
4. You're overreacting.
Again, returning to my previous point about invalidating someone's feelings. Don't do it. Everyone has a different barometer of stress and they should not feel pressured to push themselves to an unhealthy point of stress. Additionally, college students may have difficulties in their personal lives that magnify the stress of school. Before you accuse someone of overreacting, make sure you understand the full scope of their stress.
5. College is meant to be stressful.
Sure, college is stressful, but constant stress that interrupts sleep, eating and other basic life functions is unhealthy. The first step to thriving as a college student requires a sound mind. Dropping a class certainly frees time to prioritize one's mental health and focus on all the things that matter outside of the classroom like family, friends and feminism.
6. Well, I did it so you can, too.
This comment is closely followed by "Well my cousin/boyfriend/niece did it, so you can too," which is a false comparison. No two people share the same experience and they should not be equated as such. Even if you or your cousin/boyfriend/niece "did it" does not mean I should too. The best piece of advice I received when I went to academic advising was that I should do what's best for me. Sometimes dropping a class is what's best for college students.
7. You shouldn't quit now.
Well, that's not exactly what happened. In college, there is a week in the beginning of the semester designated for adding and dropping classes for this reason. Maybe students realized, "Wow this course load is too much for me to handle right now," or question, "Why didn't my academic advisor tell me this is an upper-level course?" Colleges recognize that students are imperfect beings and give them the chance to resolve any lingering issues before it affects their academic career – it's beautiful, really. It takes a certain level of maturity and humility to admit that a class may simply be too much right now and to drop it for the sake of stability.
College students drop classes for a variety of reasons, but before you go casting judgement, remember that every student takes a different journey towards graduation. Avoid saying these seven comments to someone who drops a college class as they have likely already replayed these misguided comments in their head. Instead, support anyone who drops a college class to better their well-being.
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