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How do I tell my parents that I failed two classes this semester?

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Replies to: How do I tell my parents that I failed two classes this semester?

  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 12,666 Senior Member
    edited January 2015
    Work through your mother. Tell her about your major thing. She can be your ally. And it seems that your dad may be the intimidating sort (and not even if he means to be). I can empathize with that. Unfortunately, many engineers aren't known for thinking outside the box.

    BTW, CS is more logic than math. I hated calculus, never got the intuition for it, and enjoyed CS and programming.

    Finally, you could consider majoring in philosophy. Many members of your family may laugh at that choice, but you could show them average salaries for philosophy grads. I believe it's quite high because if you study analytic philosophy (the dominant strain in the US), you'd have a strong grasp on logic, and all philosophy majors have to write.

    Think of this as an assignment: a legal case, where you have to marshall evidence to support your position and be able to anticipate rebuttals.
    Maybe find research showing that people who study what they love do better.

    Finally, work. Any work. Become self-reliant. It'd help with social anxiety as well, I think. And when you have to work with strangers, picture them naked.

    PS and the social anxiety: definitely don't hide it from at least your mom. Imagine that your mom had cancer but hid it from you. Then told you that she was going to die in a month. How would you feel? So why would you want to hide your social anxiety from her?
  • elizabeth1970elizabeth1970 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    This reminds me of myself when I tried to hide a bad result from my parents. But sooner or later they will come to know and rather than knowing from others or through other sources, I now know, it is much better to confess on your own.
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 20,529 Senior Member
    Surphe -- YOU control your major, not your parents. I realize that you don't want to disappoint them, but you do have the ability to take steps to change your major on your own, and then come back to them later when the decision has already been made. If you aren't sure, then figure out a plan for the coming semester that gives you more room to explore and also give you the opportunity to meet core requirements for graduation. Hold off on the decision as to whether to retake the courses you failed -- even if you do retake them at some point, I think you should only attempt one at a time, to avoid another disastrous semester.

    But I think the best thing you can do is have a GOOD semester that also helps you get a better sense of what you want to do in school-- also keep in mind the various career-exploration suggestions I made. Again, your major does not have to equate to your career -- but it helps to have some goals in mind.

    I'm not suggesting that you deceive your parents -- but it is going to be a whole lot easier if you come to them with a decision-- and have the ability to say that you made your decision after talking to college advisers. You might start thinking about summer jobs or internships too.

    It sounds like your mom really just wants to see you happy and fulfilled. Your dad really showed that he has a one-track mind with his engineering comment -- but you were cornered because your answer would have been, "I don't know what I want to do" -- perfectly ok for a college freshman, but it won't help you talking to a man who apparently thinks that his career is the only thing possible. So you will be much better off if the conversation goes something like this-- "I decided to change majors. I am now majoring in _____." When he says, "how are you going to possibly make a living with a major in ____!" - you will say, "I talked with the career office, and they gave me examples of jobs that recent ___ grads have "-- and list a few. Maybe he'll then scoff at those jobs - it's a good chance that he will never think they are good enough -- but you'll be a lot better off if you know what you are doing than if you seem clueless.

    I'd note that your dad and I agree on one thing: you can't use memorization for calc 2. It just isn't going to work.

    The problem is that your dad's "help" isn't going to be enough, because it is likely that you are missing foundational concepts going back to high school algebra or trig, since you've been using the memorization strategy all along.

    I'd add that you must have an absolutely phenomenal memory! It would be a tremendous asset in a lot of jobs. It's just that you need to someday have a job that makes you feel good about yourself ... and right now your "job" is to try to figure out what that might be.

  • greenbuttongreenbutton Registered User Posts: 2,717 Senior Member
    edited January 2015
    I am so proud of you! That is a really truly admirable course of action that puts your needs first -- and that's a healthy thing to do. Remember that the way you feel today is not the way you will feel forever. Life is always presenting opportunities to change course, re-evaluate, or retrench.

    When an engineer says "So, you want to get out of engineering?" it's the closest he'll get to saying, hey, maybe you should. Hear it as your dad acknowledging that maybe it's a poor fit or makes you unhappy. I have many engineers in my life and what people don't understand is that it is as much a personality/talent as being an artist. You just can't force yourself to be that person. You are, or you aren't. Nobody says "Go study painting more! If you just did color studies for more hours, you could be Renoir". If the door to a change opens, you have to be the one to walk through it. See your dad's comment as a partly open door. What do YOU want? What does your heart say?

    Get yourself feeling better, don't give up (don't ever give up) and know that we are cheering for your good outcomes!
  • colorado_momcolorado_mom Registered User Posts: 8,892 Senior Member
    OP - Glad you told your parents. That was Step1.
    He said "This is the first time I hear about an engineer failing a math class,"
    - Maybe he has been sheltered? There are probably plenty of engineers that have had to retake math classes at tough schools. Prime example that I've heard about... Calc2 at CO School of Mines.
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