How Being Dropped From My Classes Was a Blessing in Disguise

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Being new to the process

Yes, I was dropped from all of my classes in my very first semester of college. I thought that I was prepared by enrolling as soon as they became available. I had this foolish assumption that you could make your payments by the end of the semester. This could not have been farther from the truth. As the weeks went by during summer, there was never even a thought that crossed my mind about checking my enrollment status. In usual fashion, I procrastinated to almost the very end of summer to finally refresh myself on my schedule (room numbers, meeting times, etc.). To my dismay, when I checked online, there were no classes to be found. I immediately called someone from my college and was informed that I was dropped due to missing the payment deadline. My classes were gone and I was hopeless. Getting on a waiting list was the only thing left to do.

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Waiting in the unknown

I reenrolled in the classes I had been dropped from (Computer Science and Calculus) and successfully got on a waiting list. However, at this point, I had completely different professors and meeting times. Before getting dropped, my schedule granted me the luxury of going to class two or three times a week. One of my courses now forced me to come to school for five days a week. All I could do was wait until the first day of class and hope that enough people would drop so that I could get in.

My Calculus class was not as hard to get into as I had expected. Even though I was on the waiting list, my professor told me that she would enroll me as long as I did the assignments for the first two weeks. The first two weeks of the semester were the period of time when you could drop a class without getting penalized. So, that was exactly what I did. As promised, I was enrolled after two weeks of doing the assignments. On the other hand, getting enrolled into my Computer Science class was no easy task.

I sat down in a seat on the first meeting of my Computer Science class. My professor immediately said that anyone crashing or on the waiting list had to stand at the back of the room. You were only allowed to take a seat if you were on the enrolled roster. Along with others, I stood at the back of the class for two weeks just hoping for people to drop. Throughout that time, I made sure to bring my laptop and notebooks so that I could follow along with the instruction (even though I was not enrolled yet). I watched day after day as people continued to not drop the class. I was getting worried about my chances for enrollment. Eventually, enough people had dropped to the point where I was number one on the waiting list. This meant that after one more person dropped, then I could get into the class. Finally, nearing the end of the two weeks, one more person dropped the class (the last to drop was actually someone from my Calculus class). After two long and uncertain weeks, I was able to sit down in a seat indefinitely.

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Benefiting unexpectedly

In the beginning, all I could imagine were the detriments that would follow after being dropped from my classes. How could anything positive come from a situation like that? Well, let me tell you, the benefits were well worth the chaos.

The Calculus professor I ended up getting was one of the best mathematics instructors I had ever seen. She was extremely helpful and passionate about the subject with which she taught. She had a master’s degree from Cornell and participated in mathematical research on Naval ships in her early career. I could always go to her office with questions and would never be turned down for help. The way she taught was intuitive and interesting. I could not have asked for a better way to start my journey into Calculus.

I bonded almost immediately with my Computer Science professor. He helped me make connections to better understand the fundamentals of programming. His lectures would pull you in and leave you wanting to learn more by the end. He fostered my curiosity and desire to ask deep questions. His professional background consisted of working in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and being an Architect. GIS is associated with stacking geographical data on top of each other. This stacked data is used to create 3D models of some geographical location. The model can be interactive and allows individuals to understand more about the spatial scene in question. An Architect (in terms of Computer Science) is one of the highest positions you can achieve while working in industry. My professor described his position as being the person you would go to if you wanted to build something (API, programming language, some useful application). Once you told him what you wanted to build, then he would tell you the kinds of tools required to turn your idea into a reality. I was getting the opportunity of a lifetime by having him as my instructor.

I would like to mention one last thing. I actually made my first friend in college while standing in the back of my Computer Science class. While standing in the back of the room, there was a guy that kept showing up just as much as I did. We became friends over the fact that we both had to stand to listen to the lecture. My friend eventually got enrolled in the class just after I did. We took more classes together as our college careers continued to move forward.

Photo by Joakim Honkasalo on Unsplash

The moral of the story

Sometimes the things that happen unexpectedly bring us the most joy in our lives. At least, this was the case with respect to my college debacle. If I would have never been dropped from my classes, then I would have never had the opportunity to meet so many incredible people. Although I was distraught in the beginning, the end result brought me nothing but happiness. Embrace the unexpected and never fear it. You never know what may happen on the other side of the unknown.



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