History Course Drop-Out

*while reading this post, please feel free to play the song “Beauty School Dropout” from the Grease soundtrack 

If you had asked me 12 months ago, I could never have predicted that I would have dropped two courses and credit-no-credited one, all in my second year at U of T. 

In first year I was resilient. I studied course material that I hated, wrote tests I was vastly unprepared for, and was ultimately of the mindset that this is what University is

A selfie of me in the lecture hall, smiling at the lecture screen, acting goofy
Look at how much fun I thought I was having!

Being in my second year, I’ve had a massive perspective change.

While I know that University is still a lot of hard work, and there will always be courses you take because you have to - not because you want to, you shouldn’t be suffering through something just because you don’t want to be seen as a quitter.

Photo of me sitting cross-legged on my bed, with a pretty notebook that reads "adventure is worthwhile"

In first semester, I wrote for the blog about how I decided to credit-no-credit an elective course. CNCR-ing a course was still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, as it allowed me to take a step back from the pressure of getting a good mark, and actually focus on the course material 

But what happens when you’re not enjoying the course material? When you’re taking a course because you thought you wanted to, but turns out - you don’t. 

Photo of me with my head down on the desk , surrounded by homework, looking in despair
If you're looking like this every day of the semester, it might be time to change something up!

Thats what happened to me this semester, not once, but twice. 

For some reason that I cannot recall, I thought it would be brilliant to take 6 courses this semester. Three weeks into the semester I was already overwhelmed.

I found that I was taking time allocated to my actual degree-requirement courses, to study for classes that were just electives. My grades and my stress levels were suffering. 

My roommate becca standing on St. George Street throwing a pile of snow into the air
My roommate and I both dropped courses on the same day, so obviously we had to take a celebratory photo in the snow

So I dropped my first course by mid-January. I felt an immediate relief, and used that two hour class block I now had free, to head to the library. Everything was going great with my now 5-course semester load, until midterms hit. 

In an anxiety-induced “I hate school” coma, I dropped another course at midnight the night before my midterm. 

The fact that I spent the rest of the night ordering dominos cheesy bread and taking selfies, probably should have been my first hint that I had dropped the course for the wrong reason....
The fact that I spent the rest of the night ordering dominos cheesy bread and taking selfies, probably should have been my first hint that I had dropped the course for the wrong reason....

I’m now 0.5 credits behind where I should be, and have a serious wealth of free time on my hands. While I feel less stressed and have more time to do readings for the classes I require, I wish that I hadn’t used the drop course option so liberally. I should have taken the time to go and talk to an academic advisor, or someone at the registrar’s office, before I made such a rash decision. 

So overall, my transcript looks a lot different now than I expected it to when I chose my courses this summer.  While some of that is for a good reason, others I wish I had thought about a little more. 

But how about you U of T? I’d love to hear your stories, or advice, on dropping courses. Do you have any suggestions on how to get through a course that you hate? Leave them in the comments down below, or share them with me on twitter at @Rachael_UofT!

3 comments on “History Course Drop-Out

  1. I want to drop a course because of this strike, but I don’t know if I should or not. I don’t want to make a rash decision. Can you get back into a course once you’ve dropped it?

    1. You can’t get back into a course once you’ve dropped it (unless it’s before the sign-up date…which is way passed).

      From the Provost Strike FAQ for students (http://www.provost.utoronto.ca/office/2015strikeupdates.htm#students): “The University will provide consideration to students who wish to withdraw, without academic penalty and after the published deadline date, from courses which began in January. Late requests to add or remove a CR/NCR option for these courses, where applicable, will also be considered. Students should see their registrar’s office for more information.”

  2. I may be dropping one of my classes this week because of a long pattern of poor marks despite heavy effort which I feel took away from my other courses. I had entered the course assuming I would do well as I had been interested in the course material. It turned out to not be the case.

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