I Mulliganed a Class, and It's Okay

This semester has been the first time in my life where I have felt literally no motivation to do the work for a class. Of course I’ve had days (or weeks) in the past where work just seems like a drag, but I’ve always been able to push through those periods of apathy

In high school, regardless of my feelings about a class, I wanted to do well. It didn’t matter if it was my favorite subject or the class that I couldn’t wait to get out of each day, it was important to me that I excelled in my courses not only because I wanted to prove to myself that I could, but also because I wanted to prove to others, mainly college admissions offices, that I could, too. And, knowing that my hard work would pay off in the form of an acceptance letter to my dream school and scholarship money to help me get there was more than enough to keep me motivated.

Throughout my freshman year of college, I was a dedicated pre-med student. I looked at the required courses as a challenge that I couldn’t wait to tackle, and I knew that each good grade would bring me closer to my dream of becoming a doctor. With each step of my academic career, I had a goal and a plethora of outside forces that pushed me to reach that goal.

After realizing that my passions lie outside of the medical field, I dropped the pre-med track, leaving me with a world full of untapped potential. It was exhilarating to have the freedom to pursue my passions and to have the time to explore what I truly wanted to do with my life. With that freedom, though, came the complete loss of rigidity that I had always had in my class schedules. Going on to get another degree after Kenyon no longer felt as important, and, while I wanted to keep my grades up so that my options would remain open, aside from the requirements for my major, there was no required list of courses that I had to take.

When I scheduled my courses for this semester, I decided to take Biochemistry mainly because although it is not required, most Chemistry majors choose to take it at some point during their time at Kenyon. Also, my advisor—whose Organic Chemistry course I had absolutely loved—was teaching it, so I thought that although the content might not be my favorite, it would be an enjoyable class nonetheless. Unfortunately, that was not how Biochemistry turned out for me.

For whatever reason, Biochem and I just didn’t click. We met, and we tried so hard to enjoy each other’s company, but there was just no spark. Initially, I thought that although it wasn’t my favorite, I could push through. I had done it many times before, and I felt confident that I could do it yet again. By the third week, I was drowning in homework. Biochemistry not only required hours of work outside of class, but it was also work that, quite frankly, I didn’t want to be doing. So I didn’t do it. I did enough to get through each class, but I never took the time to actually understand the material. Further, my exam scores began to reflect that lack of understanding. The thing that was crazy though was that even though I wasn’t doing as well in the class as I knew that I could, I didn’t care. What’s more, even when I knew that I should be doing work, I would come up with any excuse to avoid biochem at all costs.

It wasn’t until I was cramming for my third biochem exam the night before that I realized that something was wrong. It was late on Thursday night; I had all week to study, but I was just getting to it then. Even then, I could barely focus. I had to call my dad and essentially beg him to motivate me. The only thing on my mind was my absolute disdain for the class. I tried my best to buckle down and prepare for my exam in the morning, but it was really no use.

I realized that, after a semester of forcing myself to do the work for the class that I hated, I just couldn’t do it anymore. It wasn’t required for my major, I didn’t need it to prepare for my future plans, and it was an unnecessary stressor in my life. I wasn’t failing the class, but I also wasn’t excelling in it either. The truth was, Biochemistry just wasn’t for me. So, instead of trying to stick it out the last few weeks, I decided to use my Mulligan. For the first time in my life, I didn’t force myself to stick it out. I realized that I didn’t like the class, and I decided that my time would be better used elsewhere, and there is nothing wrong with that. I’ve learned a valuable lesson about myself, and I’m happy with the decision that I made.


Image credits: Features, 1, 2, 3, 4