The Shadows I Can’t Escape

I’m scared and I’m frustrated. That pretty much describes my weekend.

In 2004 when I was attending college for the first time, extenuating circumstances required me to start working full time at my then part-time job at Wal-Mart and stop going to classes. It was about survival. I don’t want to go into details here other than to say that I didn’t have anyone I could depend on, and had to do what was necessary for myself to survive.

I ended up with F’s in the four classes I was taking. It was unfortunate, but like I said, there was nothing I could do.

I always told myself I’d return to school when I was able, and something always prevented me from going when I set out to go; a car would break down, a relationship would turn sour, an unexpected bill (health-related or otherwise) would pop up. I was finally able to return in Fall of this year.

I applied for and received Academic Forgiveness for the 2004 semester I had to stop attending. What that means is that that semester does not affect my GPA. I made all A’s this semester, so I have a 4.0. I thought having that meant that I was good, and that the past was behind me. I recently found out that’s not the case.

The college I plan to transfer to next year will not honor the Academic Forgiveness my current college granted. That means my GPA will significantly drop when I transfer. I have to have a 2.7 GPA to enter the Education program in my state, so that’s a scary prospect. Two of my teachers this past semester recommended me for the Honors program, and I applied, but I am worried that that semester will prevent me from getting in. Finally, on Friday, I learned that my financial aid for Spring has been canceled.

To qualify for financial aid, you have to maintain a 2.0 GPA, and you must have a 67% completion rate for all of the courses you attempt. My 4.0 this semester brought my overall GPA up to 2.1 (this is ignoring the Academic Forgiveness, as Financial Aid doesn’t take that into account). My completion rate is only at 50%, however. It would have been impossible for me to get a 67% completion rate in one semester.

Federal loans are considered part of my financial aid, so I can’t afford to attend school in Spring if I don’t receive my financial aid. I tried to call them on Friday to discuss the situation, but naturally they were closed after I got out of work. I have to wait until Monday before I can speak to anyone.

What’s frustrating is that this semester from 12 years ago is continuing to hurt me today. I didn’t fail my classes because I didn’t try or because I skipped classes, but rather because of something that happened to me. I had no control over the situation. What’s scary is my college career could end here, despite my best effort to do well.

I don’t know what to do. I’ve been unsuccessfully trying not do freak out about this all weekend. I just have to wait until Monday.

4 Responses to The Shadows I Can’t Escape

  • I know all the struggles about schooling. You are not alone. I always wanted to get my teaching degree since I have a English degree already. The college I previously attended allowed me, but because I moved away, there was no way for me to take the class online. I was short one get my degree. That is when I found University of Phoenix. It is an online class that is allowing me to get my masters degree in teaching. All I had to do was keep my GPA up. Anyways, I know the struggle. I went through it for 8 years with my first degree. I regret a lot I did. Don’t worry too much. Just do your best.

    • Thanks so much, Amber! I don’t think it’s ever too late to get your teaching degree. My significant other teaches and there are a lot of second career teachers at his school. It’s awesome you’re so close! Best of luck!

  • Ah, I worked at Walmart for a time—my condolences. I’d started with the intention of going to college (earning some money to go), but it all went up in smoke…and the managers wouldn’t let the fresh high school grads younger than me off to go to college-y things, like enrollment and then classes, so…I just didn’t try. o.- (Trying probz would’ve been a waste, anyway, considering all that happened thereafter.)

    FAFSA put me on Financial Aid Probation, so for me to go to college again would result in me not being able to rely on them (and…ugh. I don’t want the mess of loans). I did skip school sometimes, but…it’s because of my mental health (dissociative identity disorder) and physical health that only grew worse by the last day, after which I was directed to the hospital.

    I understand their need to be strict, but…at some point, new adults are adults, too—and life happens, and it’s out of our control. Considering Monday’s already passed, I wish you the best. 🙂

    • Haha, condolences. Wal-Mart was not one of my better jobs, for sure.

      I’m sorry to hear about your FAFSA issues! They seem unforgiving with issues from the past, but I think if you ever decided to start back again, you could earn it back eventually. I hope your health is in a better situation now!

      I actually received an Academic Appeal due to my extenuating circumstances and high performance last semester! I have been wanting to update everyone with a new entry but haven’t had a chance with the holidays yet. Thanks for the well wishes and for checking in!

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