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I did something stupid today

  • #1
808
37

Main Question or Discussion Point

I dropped my vector analysis course from my fall semester because I couldn't do any of the homework without any outside help or from my professor, which made me think that I wouldn't be any good when taking any tests. Now, I'm deeply regretting this decision for two main reasons:

(1) There are plenty of users on here who always ask for help on this forum on at least a weekly basis, so it's not a bad thing to always ask questions. On the other hand, I didn't feel like I could succeed on the tests I will be taking, since I would be lost without anyone guiding me. I just couldn't process the material all that well, and I had a feeling that the course would only have gotten more difficult as I went on.

(2) Now I have to take one more math elective next semester, and I'm stressing out about how hard the extra course load will be. I know that it's only twelve credits, but I'm still worrying about if I am able to handle it. I mean, if I drop classes just because they get too hard, then it won't really bode well for me come spring semester where I have four-thirds the usual class work for me to do. I can't just drop courses because they're too hard, because I need them to graduate.

In any case, I just dropped my vector analysis course and am now ruminating about if I did the right thing in addition to trying to live with the consequences of my action. I know I'm being overly dramatic, here, since it's only a college class. But I'm not really proud of myself at the moment. I feel like a quitter.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
S.G. Janssens
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
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633
This is not something that cannot be fixed.

Is it still possible to re-enroll? The semester just started and it may be a bit early to drop the course already. It is normal to need help, especially at the beginning of a new subject. See how it goes and if you are able improve your problem-solving skills as the course progresses.

If you decide to re-enroll but there are formal obstructions, I would advise you to talk with your instructor or coordinator to tell them you regret your decision and ask them to make an exception.
 
  • #3
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9,181
In the end it will be important what you have learnt, beside the formal requirements. I assume the latter are not the issue here, for otherwise you probably wouldn't have done it. Remains the content, which you still can learn on your own with a good book.
 
  • #4
verty
Homework Helper
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Have you tried using a supplementary textbook, one with clearer explanations?
 
  • #5
808
37
Is it still possible to re-enroll?
I could, but I'm just so scared of the coursework. It's too overwhelming.

Have you tried using a supplementary textbook, one with clearer explanations?
I have not.
 
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  • #6
808
37
Yeah, I can try to get back in, but it's highly doubtful. On the form to re-apply for a course at this university, if I wanted to add a course after the deadline to add has passed, then only under extenuating circumstances would I be allowed back into the class. And I very much doubt that "being panicky and making rash decisions without thinking of the consequences" would qualify as extenuating. I mean, I can still take an extra math elective next semester and still graduate, so I doubt that they'd allow me. My worry is being able to handle three math electives, a math seminar, and a physics lab, which is silly, because many people have to go to school full-time and work to pay off their expenses.
 
  • #7
mathwonk
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
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getting help from others is not only not bad, it is the essential way to succeed at a good school. many of us were the best or among the best in our high schools, hence not only did not seek help from peers, we always helped them. Thus we try to do everything alone also in college and think if we need help we are not good enough. This is a recipe for failure. A famous study at Berkeley to find out why minorities were failing out of calculus showed that it was apparently because, as former honors high school students who succeeded even in bad schools by working alone, they took a do it all alone approach at an elite college where everyone needs to help each other as much as possible. The investigator, Uri Treisman thus created an honors program for mainly minorities that met in the evening as a group, where the students went over material together and motivated each other to work the hardest problems, but together. This program transformed the experience of these minorities at Berkeley, and the participants became stars in their calculus courses.

I think the same thing could have predicted why I failed out of college, having entered as a merit scholar. I thought I was too good to receive help from others until I failed out. When I got back in I began to work on homework with a friend and classmate and became a success, later receiving an NDEA fellowship to grad school.

I don't know if this is your problem, but I hope it may help you. Taking an extra course next semester seems to me like an even worse setup for failure, and you might consider either re-adding the course now or attending over the summer for the extra credit. If you get back in the course now, I stongly advise changing your approach to the course and working more collaboratively.

One form of collaboration as you have noticed is asking questions here where there is always help available.

By the way have you even spoken to your professor about your concerns? The first time I met my calc professor in college I was astonished that when I expressed admiration for the students better than me, he said that actually not too many in the class were better than me.
 
  • #8
Math_QED
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2019 Award
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getting help from others is not only not bad, it is the essential way to succeed at a good school. many of us were the best or among the best in our high schools, hence not only did not seek help from peers, we always helped them. Thus we try to do everything alone also in college and think if we need help we are not good enough. This is a recipe for failure. A famous study at Berkeley to find out why minorities were failing out of calculus showed that it was apparently because, as former honors high school students who succeeded even in bad schools by working alone, they took a do it all alone approach at an elite college where everyone needs to help each other as much as possible. The investigator, Uri Treisman thus created an honors program for mainly minorities that met in the evening as a group, where the students went over material together and motivated each other to work the hardest problems, but together. This program transformed the experience of these minorities at Berkeley, and the participants became stars in their calculus courses.

I think the same thing could have predicted why I failed out of college, having entered as a merit scholar. I thought I was too good to receive help from others until I failed out. When I got back in I began to work on homework with a friend and classmate and became a success, later receiving an NDEA fellowship to grad school.

I don't know if this is your problem, but I hope it may help you. Taking an extra course next semester seems to me like an even worse setup for failure, and you might consider either re-adding the course now or attending over the summer for the extra credit. If you get back in the course now, I stongly advise changing your approach to the course and working more collaboratively.

One form of collaboration as you have noticed is asking questions here where there is always help available.

By the way have you even spoken to your professor about your concerns? The first time I met my calc professor in college I was astonished that when I expressed admiration for the students better than me, he said that actually not too many in the class were better than me.
I always love your stories. Thanks for sharing.
 
  • #9
808
37
Okay, I re-entered the course. But it took me like twenty-five hundred and eighty American dollars to do so, which included the cost of dropping the course in the first place. So they technically just charged me twelve-hundred dollars for dropping--or rather, they took back that much in the financial aid awards they gave me--and charged me an extra fourteen-hundred to re-enter. I don't have much confidence in my decision-making abilities, given how rash this decision was. It makes me feel like I'm a teenager who is irresponsible with money. It did help me stop taking my classes and my job for granted, though, so that's a plus. I just wish that hadn't come at such a high price. But that's part of the lesson, I suppose. It'll take me like fourteen weeks to make that much back. Then again, the award was just given to me free of charge, so it's not like I'm losing anything; I still have half of the award they left me. It's not like it was my own money.
 
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