How to Cope with the Curveballs, Reality, and Fall from Grace in Going from High School Superstar to College Rookie

Briana Franklin is currently a sophomore enrolled at Dartmouth College pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Chinese. With aspirations to launch a career that coincides with her ultimate goal of becoming a writer in the television and film industry and ideally also explores two of her other passions, which are fashion and languages, she is seeking any and every opportunity that will give her exposure to and experience in any of those arenas.

If there is one thing that every college student knows to be undeniably true, it is that there is nothing- and I do mean nothing- in this world that beats the sense of comfort and security embedded in school life prior to college. This protection that I am quite sure the majority of us college students took for granted back in the day, is something many of us now probably miss more than anything, and includes everything from not having to fret over course registration, housing applications, or paying for textbooks to the peace of mind that graduation was nearly a guarantee at the end of four years. Not to mention, schedule management in retrospect was actually a breeze (those 6pm track practice end times don’t seem so bad compared to their 7:30pm start times now, do they?) To put it simply, life was just easier. Furthermore, when it came down to the academic aspect of our high school years, a number of us also had our tickets written and were soaring with flying colors among the top of our classes.

But what happens when that prestige, that longstanding track record of scholastic excellence, is brought to a screeching halt? When achieving and maintaining a competitive GPA goes from not being of concern to your main focus, when you go from having all but a reserved slot on the honor roll or dean’s list to getting letters saying your academic future is in jeopardy, and when with each term, your plans for the future become increasingly less certain?

Well, most students who are put in such a position initially do not take it well, and that is something to which I can attest first hand. My freshman year not only saw me receive the lowest GPA in my academic career, but also saw me earn one particular grade that was so poor, I ended up getting placed on academic risk. At my school, a student only receives such a letter when he or she earns a grade below a C in a course, so being a student who had previously never received less than a B, the news needless to say rocked my world and thrust me into a severe state of panic. In less than a year’s time, I went from a straight-A student to being placed on borderline academic probation.

If something like this just so happens to be your predicament down the line, you probably will find yourself frantically trying to pick up the pieces and figure out how to steer your life back on track. You’ll probably at many times find yourself wondering, ‘what happens next?’ What do you make of everything after dealing with what feels like for the first time in life being categorized as a ‘problem student’ (which by the way, you are not at all!)? Well, while an experience like this is in fact a hard-hitting wake up call, life certainly does not end because of it, though I will not lie, things may intensify before they do finally improve. But when they do, and trust me- they will, you hopefully will be able to take with you many learning lessons from this rough patch, including how to adjust in the face of adversity as well as how to handle life’s curveballs that will inevitably continue to come your way.

Believe it or not, encountering hardships like this can help you see life in a more realistic way and hopefully will motivate you to take your work ethic to a new level. But at the end of the day, always bear in mind in the midst of any academic obstacles, that you are more than your academic standing. Even if you never do make it back to where you once were, as long as you put forth your best effort, you will always come out on top.

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