So when we last left our hero, he mentioned that he finished his first semester on academic probation. Let's pick it up there...
The root of my freshman year problems actually started my senior year of high school. I'd been accepted to FPC and it came time to pick my class schedule for freshman year but being a high school student, I knew absolutely nothing about how to do it so I went to see my guidance counselor. Your high school guidance counselor is supposed to be the expert on such things but I was unlucky to have a terrible guidance counselor. How terrible was he? Let's put it this way - when he "helped" me with my SAT application, I somehow ended up being scheduled to take the test in Kents Hill, Maine, a town on the Canadian border about 6 or 7 hours away, instead of in Nashua with all my classmates.
Anyway, I took my course manual to him and asked for help. He perused the manual and read the requirements and said "It says here that you will have to take an art class and a music class as part of your core requirements so let's get them out of the way your first semester." I agreed, he told me which classes to enroll in and I did so. When he finished with his recommendations, I looked at my form and noticed there were only 4 classes instead of 5. To graduate with a degree, you'd need 120 credits and the average class was 3 credits so 5 classes per semester is the average (and recommended) course load. I asked him about this and he replied "You don't want to get overwhelmed your first semester of freshman year so it's best to take 4 classes instead of 5 and then you just make up the other 3 credits sometime in your next 3 and a half years, it's easy". Sounded good to me. So my first semester my classes were:
Art, Drama, Music
Science for the Citizen
Normally this might not have been a problem. However a couple weeks into my classes I discovered that the "Renaissance Art" course that my idiot guidance counselor had me enroll in was a freaking honors level art class for Art History majors. I don't know how in the world I was ever allowed to enroll in it in the first place - just about everyone in the class were juniors or seniors who were majoring in Art History and were all advanced. The only way the class would have made less sense to me was if it wer etaught in a foreign language (which a lot of it was actually). So I tried to switch out into a different class but by that time everything else was full and no other professors would accept new students. The only option I had was to drop the class but - and here's where it gets comical - I could not do so because I was only enrolled in 4 classes instead of the normal 5 and to be considered a full time student, you had to carry at least 4. I was stuck. I tried to grit it out but I was in so far over my head I had no chance. I completely bombed the class, finishing with a big, fat 'F'. I did ok in my other classes but the F in Renaissance Art brought my GPA down to 1.75. Anything below a 2.0 puts you on academic probation so there I was, a very inauspicious start to my college career.
Things didn't get any better over the semester break either. As I mentioned earlier, I thought I was interested in a career in radio. We had a campus radio station and I had a show that semester that I enjoyed. It was mostly just talking about sports but it was a nice break from classes. So during Christmas break I called up our local radio station, B106 and excitedly told the DJ that I was a college student and I was planning a career in radio and asked what advice or info he could give me. He told me "Well, I'm not going to lie to you. You're going to spend the first several years of your career bouncing around small towns in the middle of nowhere working the overnight shift for very little money. If you're lucky you might slip into an afternoon drive slot but that won't happen until you've got years of experience under your belt and even then you won't make much money". I hung up and suddenly realized that a career in radio was not for me. Mass Communications was the only thing I was remotely interested in majoring in so that was quite a kick in the nuts.
I sleepwalked through my classes second semester with no idea where I was headed and finished with a 2.25 GPA which was not good but combined with my first semester to put me exactly at a 2.0. I was off academic probation but just barely.
Next time I'll write about how I rebounded...