I started college in 2012, and I was able to pull off a 3.7 my first year. Due to night terrors, my grades began to slip in my sophomore year, forcing my GPA to a 1.9. At the time, I had no idea that it was going to be one of the most inspiring moments of my life.
The class that was pulling my GPA down was Astronomy. As unfortunate as it was, I was getting a 43% because I wasn’t doing my homework. I should have done it, but I was always so tired. Either way, I never missed that class.
Since I want to write science fiction novels, Astronomy is an amazing subject to me. The professor even tried to tie popular movies into actual physics. So, even though I was failing the class, I was having a good time when I was there. I continued to read the book and ask questions, but my grade had slipped so far that towards the end, the only possible way to move to a passing grade was going to be getting a perfect on the final.
Of course, I wasn’t going to get a 100% on my final, but I still showed up.
My studying paid off with a 89%, but it was far from enough to pass the class. At the end of the semester I had a 57% in the class, I was on my way to going academic probation. My night terrors were getting worse because of it.
Before grades were finalized and I had to deal with my lack of concentration, I received an email from the professor. In the email, he explained that he was shocked that I had failed the class. Based on my test scores and my questions in class, he thought I deserved a better grade. I ended up apologizing and saying that I didn’t really have an excuse.
Eventually, the professor sent me another email stating that he was giving me until the end of the weekend to redo all of the homework. To be fair to the rest of the class, he could only offer me half credit for all of it. Mathematically that meant if I got half of all the total points, I could pull off a 83%.
Really though, I was in shock. I never thought that a professor would consider me to be smarter than my grade.
For the first time, I felt as though a professor really cared about what would personally happen to me, because of my failure. He had given me an extra chance, not because I asked, or because he pitied me, but because he thought I deserved it.
After procrastinating for far too long, I did end up finishing the whole semester’s worth of homework, and I hand-delivered, so that I could thank him. When I handed it over, he told me that he always felt like grades weren’t the only way to measure his student’s intelligence.
“Why did you end up coming to the final?” He asked me towards the end of our talk.
“It was my last chance,” I had said.
“You weren’t willing to give up on my class, so I wasn’t going to give up on you.”
In the end, I received a C, and it was enough to take me out of academic probation. The entire situation reminded me not to give up, because I had no idea the professor was watching me struggle. I had no idea that there was a second chance for me.
Authored by A.M. Hounchell
“A.M. Hounchell is a college student with a handful of novels under his belt.”