On August 4, 2009 at precisely 12:25, I received the following email:
Thankfully, I was able to overcome this set back; however, before we talk about what I did we need to talk about how I got into this predicament.
I did alright my first semester at Tech without studying much. I took four classes and ended up with a 2.76 GPA. Then again, I had pretty much taken classes I had taken in high school. I had done both AP Chemistry and AP Calculus AB and gotten 4s on both exams. While a 4 wasn’t good enough for chemistry, it was good enough for Calculus. I ended up getting Bs in both Math 1501 and Chem 1310, without too much work. I think I had convinced myself that I could do Tech without studying, much as I had done in high school.
This mentality wasn’t good enough for my next semester. I took Calc II, physics 1, inorganic chem, inorganic chem lab, and computer science for engineers. I dropped CS after the first test, and was doing alright in a couple classes, but for the most part I was struggling. My progress report was pretty damming.
I wasn’t able to fix my performance in either physics or inorganic chem. In fact, I also tanked in Calc II. My final grades from this semester were completely terrible.
That hurt. I dropped from a 2.76 to a 1.8 GPA. Which I should point is the minimum GPA you needed to stay in Tech as a sophomore, and because of my AP credits, I was a sophomore after this semester.
This semester took me from good standing to academic probation. I went ahead and skipped warning.
After this semester, I pretty much had to retake everything. My dad, who also went to Tech, called this my redshirt semester. Summer 2009, wasn’t much better. I retook both Calc II and Physics I. After the first test, I dropped Calc II. It was a calculated decision since I did so terribly that I couldn’t afford to fail the class. Looking back at the grade distribution, I made the correct decision; I think over 30% of the class got a D or F. I managed to scrape by and get a D in physics.
This dropped my GPA from a 1.8 to a 1.68, which was bellow what I needed to stay in school. Normally, this would be a terrible situation to be in, but I had an ace up my sleeve, grade replacement. Since I had earned terrible marks in both physics and calc, both of those classes were eligible for grade replacement.
Mid way through summer semester, I was pretty sure I was going to fail physics again. I had to have a back up plan. Dropping out of college wasn’t really an option, I had to stay in. Doing a bunch of research, I found out that I could use grade replacement to change my academic status. This meant I could use it to stay in school.
Fast forward to August 4, 2009 and summer 2009 grades are official. Normally, you’d have to wait to get grade substitution in; you’d give the form to your adviser and then they’d eventually get it to the dean of students. I didn’t have that time, I needed it done then. I printed out the form and then I personally took it around campus so it could be put in that same day, I needed to stay in school. Both my advisor and the registar said that they didn’t normally do this, but it didn’t matter to me. I got the damned form signed. A few hours later I was back in school with a 1.96 GPA.
I didn’t do that good in fall 2009, but that didn’t really matter. I got my GPA back above a 2.0 and that was all that mattered.
I got my GPA back up to a 2.18, which took my status from probation from dismissal to good standing.
After that semester, I never did go back on to academic probation or even warning. It took a lot of work, but I did graduate in December 2012.
You can believe that I was extremely happy in that picture.
Failing out of school wasn’t the worst thing that happened to me, it was terrible but I was able to overcome. It taught a lot about myself, and overcoming it remains one of my greatest achievements.