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So now, I'm failing a class...

WiscongeneWiscongene Registered User Posts: 1,355 Senior Member
edited November 2012 in College Life
...and by the looks of it, there's very little chance of passing.

If you've been active on this forum, you've probably seen some of my posts. If you want context, look here: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-life/1404827-so-i-just-failed-midterm.html
and here: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-life/1412061-three-months-really-bad-experience.html

The situation is, I took a second midterm yesterday, probably answered less than half the questions, and walked out of the lecture hall feeling like I'd just gone twelve rounds with Pacquiao. Suffice to say, I know a failed, even with a curve, and it was a pretty significant portion of my grade.

Did I study? Yes. I did the reading, did the practice problems, got pretty far along in the project we've been working on, and even singlehandedly organized a study group to go over the subject on the night before the exam.

The class is a 300 level Comp Sci class meant for Comp Sci majors and Mechanical Engineers that I was told was an Intro class. I'd never taken any programing previously, whereas many of my classmates have, and was hoping to get a sense for it in this class. Bad idea. I don't even dislike programming, but it's very apparent I'm not operating at the level expected. And I'll be the first one to say there's no excuses--it's my fault.

I seriously feel like throwing up, and it's basically been one constant stomach ache since yesterday. I'm angry at the school for setting a freshman genetics major up with this class and not warning him, I'm upset because I let my parents down (and they're the ones basically paying for my schooling), but mostly, I'm angry at myself for doing so poorly and not achieving what I set out to do. I mean, I essentially do nothing except school work. I have no job right now, I don't really have any real responsibilities, and I've never "partied" in my life. I had ONE THING to accomplish and I failed.

I don't think I'm a dumb person, you guys. I am the classical CC kid--self-motivated, valedictorian, 97+ percentile ACT score, self-studied APs, state-qualified athlete. I came here as a Genetics major with prehealth or grad school hopes, and already it looks like those have been trashed. This first semester of college has been a complete reversal of fortunes.

And not to be a drama queen or anything, but I even welled up a little as I typed this, haha. It's just that I asking myself, "where do I go from here?" There's bad and then there's really bad, and my situation seems really, really bad.

What do I do, you guys? I have other midterms coming up before Thanksgiving, but at this point I'm so defeated I don't know if I can get enthused about the material. It just seems like a really dire situation, and as if I should already be thinking about plan B--dropping out and getting a job.
Post edited by Wiscongene on

Replies to: So now, I'm failing a class...

  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 11,776 Super Moderator
    Possibly failing ONE class doesn't mean you should drop out and get a job. It's just one class! And it's a class that you admit you don't have the prerequisites for. I failed a class in my major in my junior year of college and still got into Columbia for a top 10 PhD in my field. All is not lost!

    Check your college's academic calendar. Can you withdraw from the class with a W at this point? That may be the best thing to do - since you failed both midterms it's unlikely you'll pass the class. I had some Ws on my transcript when I applied to graduate school, too.

    It's just one class. Your life is not over. You'll look back on this in 2 years and chuckle at yourself, trust me.
  • WiscongeneWiscongene Registered User Posts: 1,355 Senior Member
    Thanks. I will certainly get in touch with my advisor and sort this out. I'm really angry with myself. This shouldn't have happened. I just need to stay focused and I will find a way.
  • spectasticspectastic - Posts: 847 Member
    If it makes you feel better, I failed a college class (it was my first com sci class too), and came into my freshmen year with something like a 2.15 GPA. I retook all my bad grades, and now I'm graduating with cum laude. everybody loves a good comeback.
  • TXMom95TXMom95 Registered User Posts: 51 Junior Member
    Juillet is right--find out straightaway if you can withdraw from the class. I had to do that once and graduated summa cum laude, so please don't get disheartened!!!! You'll get past this. I would do two things: 1) Withdraw if possible (or retake if it's not possible) and 2) talk to your advisor this week and get some help sorting things out. Then, put it out of your mind and concentrate on your other classes. Best of luck--it will all work out!
  • RoxSoxRoxSox Registered User Posts: 2,179 Senior Member
    I go to your school. That Comp Sci class (302?) is HARD. I know ridiculously smart people who had soooo many problems with that class. I have only seen the homework for it but my mind about exploded, I can't even believe what the tests would be like. From what I can tell, some people are cut out for computer science and some aren't. It doesn't mean you're stupid, some of the smartest people I know have attempted to take that class and they have dropped it or failed it. Drop it if you can (I think the drop deadline is soon if it hasn't passed) and explore other options if that class was a vital part of what you wanted to do. Advisors will help a lot if you need them. I'm sure you'll find something awesome, but don't beat yourself up about it. Comp Sci, at UW-Madison at least, is ridiculously hard. Different people are cut out for different things. Take a breath, get out of that class, and focus on the future. You'll be totally fine.
  • RavensFanRavensFan Registered User Posts: 121 Junior Member
    Chances are a cs class will be difficult if you haven't programmed before. If it's too late to withdraw and it's a required class, I guess your only option is to take it again next semester. I think at my school there's a 20%-30% fail rate for the intro to programming class and these are people who probably did well in math/science in high school, so you're not an outlier.

    It's not uncommon to have a low gpa after your first semester, but don't worry so much about this. The next few semesters (if you take the same amount of credits) will be heavily weighted in terms of calculating your gpa. What I mean is if you finish with say a 2.5 this semester and get a 3.7 the next, you're at a respectable 3.1 after your freshman year (it will be even higher since the cs grade will get replaced).

    It seems like you did everything you could to prepare for the test, but it wasn't enough. What you need to do is figure out what study strategies are most effective for you. Maybe you've been spending valuable time on strategies that don't help as much as you think they do. Use winter break to get ahead in your classes for next semester. There are many places online you can practice programming.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 30,806 Senior Member
    Yeah... the fact that it is meant for Comp Sci majors is a bad sign. I would not beat yourself up too much over your study habits for this. CS classes are different in terms of what it takes to be ready for tests and complete the assignments. You can't catch up in one semester with people who have likely been programming for years (no one picks a CS major without having messed around with it quite a bit, IMHO).

    So... see if you can drop. If you can't drop, stick it out and see if you can salvage a passing grade. But if you can't, do NOT drop out of school over this one class! As a genetics major, there are surely other classes you can take to get whatever requirement this is for out of the way; a hard core CS class is not required for that career. And I have to say, even if you fail, it is ONE grade on your transcript from first semester freshman year. By the time you graduate, you will have the opportunity to "show your stuff" in a lot of other classes, and it will be a blip. Think about freshman grades from high school... everyone knows that some students require adjustment that year. Freshman year of college is the same.

    The only other advice I would give you is to more carefully review the pre-requisites and target audience for classes you sign up for in future semesters. Also check "ratemyprofessor" and any other resources like that your school has, and talk to other students in a given major about classes you are not sure about (an advantage that you have now on campus that you didn't have signing up for fall of freshman year). If you have to take 8 am classes to get the best profs, do that (although to your credit you have not complained about the prof, at least in this thread; it does sound like you are trying hard, so it is possible that the explanations/teaching is also an issue).
  • WiscongeneWiscongene Registered User Posts: 1,355 Senior Member
    Yea, the class is taught by a TA. I don't even know what the professor looks like. I've emailed her about discussion my options but have not gotten a response. I mean, on the one hand, there are a handful of students who do bot have programming and are doing slightly better than me (although worse than average), but the majority of students have at least some prior experience.

    I have a meeting with my advisor scheduled for Monday morning. I also have a two midterms before Thanksgiving and a project (in this class) due.

    I really was not prepared for college. And with this class, I especially overstepped my bounds. I have to rebound somehow, but it's a difficult situation.
  • WiscongeneWiscongene Registered User Posts: 1,355 Senior Member
    And thank you all for your advice. I'm trying to turn things around.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 30,806 Senior Member
    So I have a couple more questions... have you been in to your TA's office hours? A lot?
    I assume you are attending every class, taking notes, and going to see the TA if you have any questions about the lecture material or the reading that you do not understand. That is key... and if the course has a website, have your reviewed all of it (if there are study tips, etc., pay close attention). Another option is to get a tutor (you are pretty late for that, but if you want to scrape a passing grade you could do that). What about getting together a more regular study group (not just the night before the exam)? Are there any extra credit options? Sometimes CS courses do have them... Just trying to brainstorm some ideas to help you get through the last month or so and salvage a passing grade.
  • teachandmomteachandmom Registered User Posts: 1,244 Senior Member
    Wow, don't let a failing grade make you think you have to drop out of college. It just goes to show that high school is unrealistically easy, and I hate to say it, but grades are inflated during high school too. Now you are in the real world of college. If you fail the class, re-take the course so you can get a new, better grade for your GPA. It may not be an A, but oh, well. College is about learning; if you already know everything enough to get A's, why go? Just school yourself instead. Do you feel like you have learned something, even in this tough class that has taken you by surprise? If you have learned, isn't that the point or goal of getting an education? It really isn't all about grades all the time. Change your viewpoint. Look at challenges and failure as things that can help you grow more than A's. Talk to your prof, and see if, at this point, you can pull yourself up to a C. If not, then fail for sure, and retake the class. Meet with your advisor, and talk to people in the major you want who are a couple years past you, when choosing your next courses.
    My D had to repeat Bio. She got an A in bio in high school, and figured bio in college would be a cinch. The labs and slide-identification exercises got really hard, and she got overwhelmed. Ended up failing after a great struggle, and was shocked. Now, she's retaking it, and gets what messed her up before. (Turns out, my mentor, a brilliant woman I admire greatly and also learned much from also failed bio during college too, so my D felt much better hearing that!)
    Go easy on yourself! Good luck.
  • steellord321steellord321 Registered User Posts: 349 Member
    I really think you need to find an outlet like a hobby, whether you did well or failed the class. No, you're not ready for college if you're still thinking of last year's accomplishments like it means anything. You fail one class that you shouldn't have taken at all and want to quit? This isn't a crisis, you're not screwed, but you do need to learn from it.

    If a TA is being useless, ask them for help in front of others right after class or go to the department and ask if another TA is around. This helped me finish a project when my TA no showed office hours and wouldn't answer a simple email. It just sounds like you never needed help before and don't know where to begin. I don't know why you're going back to an adviser who put you in this position. It's much better to ask others who took the class *before* you sign up, or do some research, find out exactly which classes you can handle. Ask the dept for a past syllabus before sign ups, check online study guides or class feedback, even go to a lecture for next semester's classes of interest right now if you're unsure. Buy a textbook ahead of time if they're cheap. Take advantage of all resources going forward including therapy if you need it.
  • WiscongeneWiscongene Registered User Posts: 1,355 Senior Member
    Lots of good advice guys. Ugh, I've learnt so much more about time management and about "what it takes" (and about myself) to make it in college, almost more than I've learned from any of my classes.

    I just hope I can stick around long enough to utilize what I've learned for next semester. :( A couple big midterms this week, and I've feel like I'm understanding the subject matter. I only hope it isn't too little too late.
  • swishbigswishbig Registered User Posts: 156 Junior Member
    Hi, I know this thread was almost 2 years ago, but I am having the exact same problem as the OP right now. I'm, a freshman in college in my second quarter and I honestly think that I do not belong in college. I graduated high school with a 3.7 gpa taking AP and honors classes. Then after my first quarter in college everything started going downhill. My first quarter I withdrew my my math class because I was literally failing after the first midterm that it was almost impossible for me to get a passing grade because math is my weakness. This quarter I told myself that I'm going to try a lot harder because I would be taking a intro to programming course. It started out pretty nice, the first few assignments I did well on (HW is worth 45% of the grade). Then by the middle I noticed that I had to keep relying on my friend to give help me through every tiny detail in the homework. The class only has one midterm and one final. I scored a 73 on the midterm which is shy of the class average so I thought that I am still doing okay. Then the homework got harder and harder. I'm averaging around a 70% which is around a 1.5gpa and I have my final coming up next week which is supposed to be brutal. I honestly don't know what I'm going to do! I know 1.5 isn't failing but it's still a very very bad grade for me. I feel so hopeless and depressed that I sometimes consider just dropping out of college. This week I have a CS homework assignment that I don't even know if I can finish and I have a midterm for another class as well as a paper to write! I have focused to much time and energy in this class and I won't even be able to pull a 2.0. I have reconsidered many different majors now but I'm afraid that having a 1.5 grade in this class and a W from my math class last quarter will be the end of my career....and I really don't want to retake this programming class again. It's too late for me to drop this class because I'm in the final week of the quarter. I feel really lost right now.
  • ddotjonddotjon Registered User Posts: 646 Member
    Whew....you are having a rough freshman year! Try not to panic, and take it one day at a time. First of all, you already took the W in the math class, so you will have to take that over next semester. I am guessing it was Calc 1? Did you take Calc in HS? If you didn't, Calc 1 in college can be really hard. The thing I have found out, through my kids, is that when you go in with a lot of AP credit, you are taking really hard classes freshman year. OK, so now you have to salvage what you can in the CS class. I think time management could be your problem. Can you work with someone on your CS homework? My son graduated with a CS degree in May 2012. He failed Calc 1 in college the first time he took it, retook it with a different professor, and passed with a C. He also had a friend tutor him. He was also really down on himself, like you, and contemplated quitting. After a while, he realized that study groups were essential to do well. This you can arrange yourself. Maybe get a class email list, arrange for a room and time somewhere, invite some people, and see what happens. And the paper....have someone look it over as you go along, an English major in your dorm? History majors write a lot of papers, you could ask one to look it over, you will be surprised how many people want to help, all you have to do is ask. Try to finish this semester with a great effort, then over summer, if you want to investigate other majors go ahead. You had good grades in HS, you are clearly capable, you just gotta figure out how to get it done!
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