The Famous Frustration.

July 24, 2008

As anyone who has ever heard of Swarthmore knows, the classes are hard, the coursework is harder, and the years you spend there are a blur of nearly constant, frenzied attempts to claw your way to the top of an ever steepening slope of grades.

I haven’t even arrived on campus yet, and I’m already feeling frustrated.

Included in the Swarthmore mailing I discussed in my previous blog was the math placement test. Well, this test is nearly all calculus! And I have never taken calculus! The last math class I took was precalculus over a year ago, and I have successfully blocked all memories of that trauma from my mind. Now I am torn between trying to teach myself calculus in order to take this placement test, and not taking the math placement test so that I can be taught calculus by a professional.

And then, yesterday, I receieved a brief, one-page letter from the Dean’s office. It stated that they were concerned with my decline in academic performance during my second semester, and expect me to come to Swarthmore with renewed vigor. Let me clarify this “decline” in performance: first semester, I took the maximum courseload available and got straight A’s. Second semester, I received special permission to take more than the maximum courseload available, and got three B’s and two A’s. Meanwhile, I was volunteering after class as a literacy tutor, and living on my own 3,000 miles from where I grew up. My cumulative GPA for my freshman year was 3.7. I don’t really consider that a significant decline to warrant a letter.

So not only with Swarthmore deliver on their promise to take up all of my time this school year, they have successfully rendered the rest of my summer impossible to enjoy.

Is it weird that I feel like more of a Swattie now?

Screaming, frustrated, and still yours,
The Transfer Student


2 Responses to “The Famous Frustration.”

  1. Mr. Dad Says:

    Don’t worry Swarthmore is a very academic school but they also help their students through the hard times… Relax go with a positive view you’ll be alright…

  2. Dina Says:

    This is kind of odd, but I got your blog from your FB, which I got from you post on the class of 2011 page also on FB.

    You seem insanely stressed about Swarthmore – which is entirely fair, given your unique situation – but I just wanted to reassure you that you aren’t getting into some kind of nightmare. The math test was kind of crazy for even those of us who DID take calculus (I didn’t even take the test, and have taken stat and astronomy to fulfill my credits), my time so far has not been a blur, it’s mostly been a series of wonderful (and some not so wonderful) distinct memories that I can’t wait to return to, the workload is hard but not nearly impossible, I’ve never clawed at anything, and anyone that tells you so is either an Engineering major or silly, and that letter is ridiculous!

    Anyway, I just wanted to say welcome from a fellow 2011, we’re so excited to meet you, and that you should enjoy your summer lots and lots, because you deserve it, and because you’ll be too busy doing things you love all year to have enough time to worry about this stuff!

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