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Bitter Disappointment, Sweet Hope (2)

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It’s been a week since I sent my Grade Change form to San Francisco State University wherein I wanted to challenge my grade and show that I’ve worked very hard for my essay. However, the results seemed to be inconclusive, I’m looking at other options to get around the situation, and I need to deal with it fast.

I checked out the grade I got for the class, and the grade the professor gave me was a C minus, tad better than the D minus he gave me for my essay. But, my advisor told me that I need to get Land Use and Planning with a C grade or better so that I can move on since it’s a major subject for my chosen major, Urban Studies and Planning. Since then, I’ve been confronted with multiple solutions to deal with this latest dilemma, in which I will basically describe how it works and the risks involved in doing so:

  • Grade change. The first method I’ve done, in which I write down on the form the current grade and a reason why I want to receive a better grade. However, this involves talking directly to the professor first before handing over to the dean. Seems like a risky move, not only because I’ve already had issues with that professor, the chances of getting my grade changed may be very slim (unless I have a compelling reason to have it changed).
  • An incomplete grade. A method told by a friend of mine, this involves requesting my professor to hand me an “incomplete” grade (“I“), in which the condition is that I will be given a year to make up for anything I need to hand over to him over a certain period of time to be changed to a better grade. In this case, if it is granted, whenever I receive the “I” grade, I will be given a full year (two semesters’ and a summer’s worth) to redo my essay and perfect it to make it acceptable to the professor.
  • Work with the dean to modify grade. If my professor does not say anything about the grade change or an incomplete request, I will talk directly to the dean and work on the matter so that I can get a second opinion on the essay issue (which caused the low grade in the first place) and allow myself to be assessed again for a better grade.
  • Repeat the class. My advisor told me that if I cannot change the grade from a C minus to at least a C for some reason, I will have no choice but to retake the course with (hopefully) a different professor and make up for the time and grade lost last semester. Fortunately, in the Fall, my advisor also happens to be the professor for the class as well, meaning I will have a better understanding the course and gain much more insight from a real Urban Studies professor.
  • Move to another university. This may be the riskiest, yet most viable, move that I can take, in which I can get the classes I need at San Francisco State, and I will need to improve my Grade Point Average (GPA) so that I can reapply again for University of California, Berkeley in September, with a “more than acceptable” GPA so that I can be ready for an eventual transfer there once more. What makes this option very risky, though, is money: the last time I wanted to apply there, the tuition they wanted from me amounted to $16,000, which is significantly too much to pay in full; although scholarships and loans are available, I choose not to pursue them as of right now due to personal obligations. My uncle specifically thought of this idea, saying that if there are no more competent professors in my department today, I will have no choice but to move to Berkeley.

Beyond those, I have little power to turn the situation around and instead focus on the future: a future in which I can start a clean, fresh slate and work harder to improve my current GPA of 3.02 (down from 3.75) so that I can be ready for graduation with honor and distinction. I just want to really have great teachers and mentors to guide me through my chosen career path; however, it is a sad reality that not all teachers are great. In fact, the professor I just went through was one of the worst teachers I’ve ever encountered: I’ve learned nothing from him, the books were nearly useless (we didn’t use them pretty much), and his monotonous tone made me felt uninterested to learn his topics. It was a perfect storm for me to flunk his course, which I did. Worse, during his office hours, he is not that supportive, helpful, and open; he’s basically rude, doesn’t care of his students, and has serious favoritism issues.

I just hope that the next time, I can meet professors who teach well and reach out to other students without reservation or restraint, who are helpful despite times of crisis, and who can really show students what the subject means and why it’s important to work on the projects and assignments necessary to the course. Learning from a tough professor can produce tougher lessons to deal with, and the workload he demanded has caused lots of stress and anxiety for me that I wanted to ignore any other classes he offers; instead, I will work with the remaining professors in the Urban Studies department and take each course one step at a time so that I can finally move on and make my future happen.

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