To drop or not to drop a class, that is the question


Kernel Opinion SIG

Plenty of college students can easily fall behind in their studies in college, whether it’s because of a long night out with friends or pulling an all-nighter to study for a huge test. It happens to just about everyone. It’s a given.

However, there are some classes that no matter what you do, you feel like you can’t pass. Consider me your older, wiser brother giving you advice on how to handle this.

There are three choices when it comes to these difficult classes: stick with the class and try to pass it, stick with the class and fail it or drop the class and possibly retake it in another semester.

But how do you know when it is best to drop the class or stick with it?

First and foremost, if your health, whether mental or physical, is worse because of the stress of the class, it’s probably best that you drop the class. If it’s before the add/drop period (which ends Sept. 12), nothing will show up on your transcript. If it’s after the add/drop period, you will receive a W, which means “withdrew.” Taking a couple of W’s in your college career isn’t bad. If a future employer asks you why you took a W, tell them the truth. Employers are human and if the class affected your health, they should understand.

Second, if you are so far behind that doing the rest of the assignments of the class and extra credit won’t save you, drop the class. It is far better to take a W on your transcript than a failing grade in the class. W’s do not affect your GPA, so if you have a scholarship that is dependent on grades, you will not lose the scholarships, as long as you meet other requirements.

I personally went through this. I was taking one of the hardest broadcast journalism classes last fall, and I was so stressed out I was going to fail. That stress made me really physically and mentally sick. I was worried about the class and I considered dropping it to save myself, though I was worried about my scholarship. I went to the scholarship office in Funkhouser and asked the clerk if I would lose my scholarship if I dropped a class. They told me that as long as I stayed at full-time credit hours, then I could drop the class and still have my scholarship.

Dropping that broadcast journalism class was the best decision I ever made. I switched concentrations from broadcast journalism to print journalism. Switching to the print path has made me happier and has yielded the best journalistic work I have ever done.

But on the other hand, just because a class is hard doesn’t mean you should drop it. My motto is, “A little stress can wake you up. Too much stress can kill you.”

So if the stress is affecting your health, drop the class. I would rather be alive and have dropped a class than to be extremely sick and stuck in the same path. No class is worth your well-being.

One final tip: If you plan on dropping a class, please talk to your adviser first. Your adviser can help you best navigate dropping the class and while still staying on track for graduation.