I remember my freshman year, during our first CC ’14 Lit Hum class in Roone Arledge Auditorium, Christia Mercer called out the accomplishments of my classmates. Among us were Olympic athletes and award-winning scientists. Countless editors-in-chief and class presidents. Thousands of the most interesting individuals to be found. We are all winners.
Quitting is not in our vocabulary.
Last week, I made the decision to drop my sixth class. As a double major who studied abroad, this was no easy decision to make—I’ve been used to taking six classes or having an internship for most of college. I’ve been used to thriving in an environment where deadlines supersede sleep.
Just like in my senior year of high school, I’m over-committed to extracurriculars. Then, it was the newspaper, the debate club, and the Junior Classical League. Now, it’s the newspaper, a political journal, and student council.
This sixth class was a global core requirement. I thought I would work on improving my Spanish, learn some Latin American history, and have my horizons broadened. Instead, my professor didn’t provide an environment in which I felt comfortable making mistakes in Spanish. I was re-learning a lot of the same European history as it related to Spain, and I was focusing so much on the busy work of making summaries of the reading for each class that I felt my horizons were shrinking as I shirked my other classwork.
I was stressed out, not in the “zomg I have like four midterms tomorrow how about you?” kind of way. I was actually just desperate. I was falling behind in my responsibilities in every other area: friend, student, sister.
Should I leave my final Core requirement for the spring? Was that wise as a senior? Shouldn’t my spring be for partying and carefree Steps sunbathing? Was quitting the only option? Shouldn’t I just prove my professor wrong and do really well in the class and shove his nose in it?
I decided to take the first exam. I saw the concepts, the people, the IDs, the essay questions. I knew most of the answers. I knew I could write an eloquent response and synthesize two of the readings in the space provided. But I wasn’t happy. Easy A or not, I wasn’t happy. I didn’t want to continue in a class that I dreaded every Tuesday and Thursday.
The next day, I went to the registrar, signed my name, and felt a wave of relief. I quit.
I don’t think that quitting is wrong. Some mountains don’t need to be scaled. I believe in hard work and I believe in challenges, but I don’t believe that pushing through an unhealthy situation will make anything better. Sometimes, we need to change the situation, not ourselves.
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