Another summary of the oscars.
original post (x)
I didn’t think this gif could get any better……. I was wrong. ~ Juliette§
This quote made me cry. I don’t want to go on too much about why, but I want to put down this complex situation down somewhere, so why not on my own blog? I won’t put hashtags on this and I don’t expect this to get viral at all, but this is mostly for myself to jot down my thoughts. I might also use this edited blog post as an appeal to get another chance at my education. If you do happen to read this, thank you for taking your time to read my story.
The problem dates back exactly a year ago when I was still in my last year of high school. After searching for a technical school that I could attend to major in Computer Science, I simply could not afford any of the options. Computer Science is something that I enjoy. I enjoy creating things digitally on the Internet and I enjoy video games. I want to learn how to program and design games as well as program and design websites and software alike. Working with computers excites me and just seems like a perfect career path for me—I would prefer to be my own boss as well—so being a free lancer in a competitive field would not discourage me, it would be uplifting to work at home. The university that I could afford, however, did not have Computer Science. I was really discouraged to see this, but what other choice did I have to further my education? I desperately thought about what makes me happy and what I am most passionate about. The first thing that comes to mind is music. I am a vocalist and a musician in my own right, so why not try out a music program? I was far from ready for the monumental shock later in the year.
This was my first year of college (I won’t put the name of it because some of the academic advisers really don’t like me and I don’t want any chance of getting in trouble.) Going in I expected to have an easy, exciting first year of college filled with experiences and to learn about one particular subject that I love so dearly: Music. When I auditioned into the program, the director told me himself this:
You do realize how bad your entry exam was right? If I had to compare it to something…lets use English as an example… its like trying to take a college level English course when you don’t even know your ABC’s. You will not last very long, so don’t bother trying.
I was really offended by this and I told him that music was a passion of mine and so on so forth. I was determined to learn the material and was greatly determined to one day be a great vocal coach, that’s what the degree would allow me to get as far as I was concerned—I did the research and I was perfectly fine with that job, even now I think I would still enjoy that job. Out of rage I quoted the Great, Mighty Kamina from my favorite anime Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagan, “JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM?!”
I was obviously on edge after being offended and immediately showed him how upset I was to hear that. Startled and not quite sure how to respond, the director opened his arrogant eyes with a dropped jaw. Seeing this reaction I immediately took advantage of the situation and stated the following: “I swear to you and this joke of a program that I will learn the material. I may not be the best at Music Theory, but I have the heart and talent to be a damn good singer!” His jaw immediately shut back up and his face transitioned into a serious tone. He replied, “We’ll see about that, lets see how the first semester goes. I’ll be keeping my eye on you.”
I stared right into his eyes, it almost hurt like those lasers you see girls do in anime. I receded from the battlefield and said no words—it would be best to just leave it like that anyways. Later I found that he gave me, out of a small chunk of the music students, a few scholarships that paid for $8000 of my tuition. I couldn’t help but be skeptical, this was a challenge for $8000 for four years. That’s a lot man.
The fall semester started and I was barely being registered for classes. Immediately that should set off alarms for being quite the problem. Not to mention that only a few weeks before school started I was barely handing in housing applications because of a huge delay that my adviser had (for some reason or another that remains untold to any living soul.)
As a result for the delay, I had to buy books by the end of the first week, figuring out that my Music Theory class alone had about 5-6 different books that was a basic requirement—it really seems like too much, but somehow it was somewhat justified. I just wish that the cost of that class alone wasn’t hundreds of dollars that felt stolen from my wallet.
The second week of school continued on faster than a race car. To my dismay, I still did not have all of my materials because of either mailing issues (I ordered some books online for a cheaper price tag in order to keep my budget, which was destroyed by the pile of books I had for my Music Theory class alone. There I was in all of my classes without a book (the main books that I needed for my Music Theory class to do homework and studying were coming in the mail) and trying to follow along with intense teacher-student questioning and vigorous note taking. That still wasn’t enough for me, I couldn’t study for the quizzes or even do the homework because the homework were all in tear-out workbooks. I needed my own pages to get credit, and I couldn’t even turn in homework for the first few weeks. As a result of that missing homework, I couldn’t even practice the Theory concepts that were being taught, so I was already massively behind the class with a failing grade. I failed the first few tests and explained my situation to my professor. She understood and gave me advice on how to stay motivated to finish the class.
The third week arrived like the morning sun. It was finally a good week! I received all of my books and received an opportunity to finish my homework. The key word is “opportunity”. I was truly 3 weeks behind the rest of my class, almost 5 chapters behind, which meant that I needed to do about 6 weeks worth of work to catch up, so my Music professors told me. This would discourage anyone, but oddly I was just happy to finally have all of my materials to actually work and reached out to my professor to schedule me for tutoring and asked my friends to help me with my homework and tutor me as well.
As a result of all of this help, I had finally received a C on one of my quizzes for Music Theory. I had a euphoric sense of accomplishment, I cannot describe this sense of achievement in words—I finally wasn’t failing a quiz in the class, better yet it wasn’t even a D, but a C. It was a step up in a large staircase, a step for a better year. Out of this excitement I went straight to my adviser and switched my major from being a Vocal Performance major to being a Music Education major.
As I was switching, I did not notice such an irksome situation. I was an ignorant student. Naive is a better way to put it actually. I already had 18 credits as a Music student and truly did not realize that going over 18, which is a “block” of credits that range from 12 (being the minimum) to 18 (being the maximum for a Full-Time status,) would increase my tuition by a significant amount. My avid naivete ignored this problem entirely and simply accepted these conditions. So what happened? I was told that I had to complete an elective, in which I selected Public Speech, to fill up requirements. I did not bother to ask if I had to do the elective now or later, and as a result I dug myself further into a cumbersome issue.
As a new education major, I felt joyous for a future of being a music teacher. The very idea of being able to teach kids Music Theory so that they did not have to go through the issues that I had in my first semester of college.
I was juggling 8 classes at this point, 5 of which were Music classes, the other 3 were pre-reqs that I should’ve paid more attention to, but under so much pressure from juggling that much work, I did not have my priorities straight. The priority that pre-reqs hold have never been more important to me now after-the-fact. Tutoring and peer help was a solid plan that should have worked. Unfortunately, Music Theory and playing the piano did not come naturally to me at all. It does not come naturally to most people, actually. Even so, being able to comprehend the most basic concepts did not come naturally to me like it did for literally everyone else in my classes. After Weeks 4-6 passed I received help. Alas, I did not improve. I was now about a month behind from my class. I started to question my career path and my own self-value. Was I cut out for this challenge? Am I really incompetent? These questions made me gloomy.
I asked for my professors to console me and lift my spirits. They reminded me that every student faces practice times of 1-2 hours for every hour they spend in class for each class, including Choir. Because of my “questionable” inability to learn Music Theory in such an incredibly fast paced program, I would need to practice double the average time, so that meant 3-4 hours for each hour of class. That seemed ludicrous. My professors effectively convinced me to take that literally and work my hardest. I was motivated to prove them all wrong—I was not stupid, it sure felt that way after seeing my classmates and other peers be so “successful” in their studies on the other hand. I had 5 Music classes, so that meant that I had to practice at least 9 hours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; 6 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and take “advantage” of my weekends by dedicating at least 12 hours to studying.
I tried getting in the habit of dedicating at least 63 hours per week of studying and practicing my music. I tried this for the entirety of September. As a result, I broke down and sank into a deep depression and an incomprehensible anxiety to quit this lifestyle. I gave up my social life, but did not give up my relationship with my girlfriend (which I put huge limitations in the time I got to spend with her.) I gave up my time and energy as well as my priorities (which under that much pressure is understandable.) I broke down everyday and all of my instructors and professors would not allow me to attend class in that condition (I was breaking down in tears during class.) They all wanted to see me get the help that I needed.
I implored help from the university’s health center to see one of their therapists who could help me. I could not believe it was free-of-charge first off, that was too amazing to be true. I attended therapy immediately. I told this exact story to the therapist and he pitied me greatly for this unfortunate situation. In attempt to empathize with me, he told me that he has dealt with many misfortunate events himself in his career—everyone has to at some point in their lives. He suggested that maybe being a music major really was not the right path for me and that I should explore other career paths that match my talents. I am very talented with working with computers and video games, so maybe I could be a game developer and a Computer Science major. However, the program was not available to me at the time and still is not available (yet.) After 3 days of counseling, I changed my major to the most computer-friendly program that the university had to offer: Business Intelligence. I did some research beforehand and found that Business Intelligence works with Big Data, which is a very high demand field that utilizes any business’ database and I would be required to work as an information collector. With such a responsibility and skill set, I would be a Data Analyst or a Business Analyst and would be required to learn how to use several different software that would help me with my job. That was good enough for me at the time, however I knew deep down that would never replace Computer Science.
There was an issue though, it was too late to change my program again. I had sadly forgotten that it was already time for midterms. The switch wouldn’t go into effect until the second semester. In an effort to minimize my workload, I dropped Piano and Music Theory. The workload was immensely lifted. I had to do my best to finish the semester as a music student. With the best effort that I could put out (compared to my peers should be looked down as a pathetic attempt,) The workload that I had was still too much for me to handle. As a result, I failed all of my classes aside from 1 online pre-req that was completed before my breakdown. I was mentally prepared for this result as a mental protection to keep me from having another mental breakdown and cause my parents grief and have them send me to a therapist over the break for it, I couldn’t do that to them—I endured it. I was at least proud that I had finished both of my Choir concerts in such an elaborate fashion with Hendel’s Messiah in conjunction with the Phoenix Symphony. It was such a great achievement that I will always treasure in my mind for my entire life—I sang with a symphony. How many people can honestly say that?
The second semester came around, I made sure to get my books in time and my classes secure. The first few weeks passed by without much struggle, aside from the Math class. The reason is the software that the university requires the entire Math program to use: MathXL by Pearson. I absolutely detested the software because of its input errors, bugs, and its strict input methods. It doesn’t bother many people and a lot of people are fine with it. It just didn’t sit well with me, so I dropped the entire Math class and plan on attending community college to take a traditional Math class. That’s a problem I solved myself nice and fine.
Then came the second problem of the semester. After a month into the semester I was randomly dropped from my Choir. If I don’t have my Choir in my schedule, I will indefinitely lose my music scholarship (which makes up a significant amount of my financial aid to even attend.) I never figured out why I was dropped, I moved on with a mentality that it was a problem that was out of my hands or anyone else’s.
With this in mind, I needed a way to make up the large sum of financial aid with my own money. So I got a part-time job and accepted double-shifts multiple times a week and worked a lot. This should seem like no excuse to attend class, but the work schedule did interfere. I missed a lot of classes this semester and am behind in my Accounting class. The other two pre-req classes I caught up in and am doing a fine job in them. I spoke to my Accounting instructor and told her my story, she empathized with me and offered me such an amazing opportunity to pass the class—even an opportunity to get an A in the class. This opportunity is that I can complete any homework and exams as if I were in class. I was in tears when I heard this and promised her that I won’t disappoint her by the end of this semester.
In recent events, I met with my adviser’s manager to complain about his incompetence (he forgot to give me my housing application for next semester or even to do a mandatory meeting with me; as a result of his substandard work, I now have a “chance” to even live on campus.) I made him leave the room, told the manager my story, she pitied me as well and offered me the following: a reimbursement for all charges the university made on my mother and myself since the fall term, a different adviser who would be more than happy to work with me and mixes well with who I am, allow me to take the Computer Science classes as long as I complete my pre-req classes somehow and immediately switch me into their Computer Science program when it is offered to upperclassmen, and finally she offered to fully support me and pull strings to make a successful appeal for me to attend next fall term under the condition that I do my best as a student for the remainder of the term.
Here we are at this current situation that I have now. As of right now, my cumulative GPA is a 0.56. That is consequential in nature. What do I mean by “consequential”? I need at least a 2.0 to avoid suspension. I met with the manager to talk about this and she told me that no matter what I do, the math that adds up the cumulative GPA of a 0.56 to 2.0 is impossible if I don’t have straight A’s—which is not going to happen by any means at this point. The best that I can do is from an estimated range of 1.75-1.84 by the end of finals. Good news is that the summer term would be suspended, bad news is that I have to sign up all over again to be a student at this university and I would lose all of my scholarships. I am fine with going through the process again as long as this manager is the one helping me through it, she also said she would personally help me through this if the appeal is successful.
After hearing this, I threw up until the point where I couldn’t move. I was sincerely scared before I wrote this and I broke down today. I asked myself “what is the point anyways? If I’m going to fail, why bother trying…” Then I decided to seek inspiration by watching Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagan for an hour and then discovered a TED Talk by John Wooden on The Difference Between Winning and Succeeding. I broke down crying tears of joy when I heard him say this:
“If you make the effort to do the best of which you’re capable, to try and improve the situation that exists for you, I think that’s success."
The tone in his voice had a reassuring feel to me, as if he were speaking to someone like me—a prospected failure and potential college dropout—people with such misfortune in their lives—people with the odds stacked against them. I was tired of all of the odds being stacked against me. So tonight, my entire perspective in life has changed once again. Even though I know that I am going to fail, I will still do my best. It is better to know that I gave it my all then doing nothing at all.
Thank you for reading.
From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
Pixel Nintendo Legacy