Friday, June 24, 2016

I Almost Left Grad School


The past couple of days have been a bit of a crazy whirlwind of confusion, stress, and disappointment for me. Why?, you may be wondering (if you didn't see the Instagram post or get a long email from me). Simple: I almost left JP Catholic's graduate program and I had to come up with my final decision and options in two days (by today). 

Basically, it all boiled down to not having the GPA (or so I thought) to continue in the program. I believe I received an 86% final grade for my course (did well on everything except the essay portion of the final exam which hurt the final grade). Between this B and the 2.85 GPA from the disastrous Fall quarter, I have a 2.92 GPA. The GPA minimum was a 3.0. My brain automatically went "Mayday! Mayday!" 

As soon as I figure out my culminative GPA, I went into planning mode because I sure wasn't going to sit around and feel sorry for myself. While I waited for confirmation about having to leave the program, I looked into different things. I looked at the nearby school that has a Speech-Language Pathology program, having the option to finish the state requirements to start working as an SLPA (Speech-Language Pathology Assistant). I do have classes (in which I did well) under my belt from my time at Utah State. I also remembered that I had options to do my Theology degree elsewhere but, honestly, I wasn't super thrilled about any of the other programs (that I could do online). 

I kept trying to remind myself that I was sure that Theology was the path God wanted me to take but doubt momentarily crept into my mind. "What if I discerned my career path wrong? What if this was just so that I could get the Theology bug out of my system? What if this was just so I could grow spiritually?" I looked at jobs I can do in the Archdiocese with my BA degree and my work experience. A few came up but nothing that I was sure was a right fit for me. I looked at jobs out of state. Some were exactly what I wanted to do but then I remembered that my savings have been depleted and I have responsibilities in L.A. so no go.

I finally got word that the minimum GPA to stay in the program was lowered to a 2.7 as of this Spring so I could stay. My scholarship would be decreased by 20% but that wasn't a big deal for me. Though I could stay, I then wondered if I wanted to stay. While my professor is brilliant and I enjoy his classes, I've traditionally done poorly on the essay portion of his final exams. Sure, I do well on everything else but I tank on the essays in the final exams. "What if I can't get a good enough grade to keep the 2.7 minimum? What if I can't 'get' what the professor wants in the final exam?" Oh, "What Ifs...", my old anxiety-inducing friend. Nope, I wasn't going to go down that rabbit hole.

I reached out to those whom I trust and told them what happened. I needed prayer. I needed to figure out what to do. Some encouraged me to return to the SLP field. Others just listened and said they'd pray for me. One friend told me to get in touch with my professor and talk to him about what he's looking for on the final exam. Another encouraged me to stick it out for one more quarter before leaving (if I still wanted to leave). I still haven't heard back from my professor but I hope he does get back to me before the next quarter (which begins on Monday) is in its second week.

What it came down to was choosing what I feel God is calling me to do. I was honest with myself -- if I did SLP, I would mostly be doing it for the financial stability more than anything. Yes, it would help people out and I loved working with the kids when I did on-site/field hours but passion and my heart are in the Theology field. That much was pointed out by at least two people; it's clear that I'm in my element when it comes to Theology. All the "what ifs" started getting answered. "What if... I couldn't find a decent job in L.A. once I graduate?" I'll move. "What if... I bomb out and then owe the government even more money for the three quarters I spent at JP Catholic?" I'll find a job and pay it back somehow. "What if... the money isn't enough since the field is so hard to get into and doesn't pay that well?" God will provide somehow.

I feel a peace about the path I'm on but I did have some doubts while things were in limbo. I need to remember to trust God, even when things are momentarily topsy turvy. I still feel like this is what I'm meant to be doing so I'm going to continue. If my GPA isn't that stellar and I have to leave, well, I'll deal with that if it happens. I've already taken proactive steps into improving as a student (reaching out to my professor; being on top of my work) and improving my health (doctor prescribed iron pills, folic acid, and vitamin C to help with my anemia and dismal folate level). All I can do now is pray and work hard and see what happens in the future.

Anyway, just sharing this part of my journey. It's not always glamorous or fun but stuff like this happens. 

I'm currently experiencing a pretty blah headache (possibly a migraine) so I'm going to rest for a little while before I have to go pick up Mom from work.

I hope everyone has been doing well!

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

1 comment:

Mary Cooper said...

I'm an SLP! :) IMO, you can't find a better field to go into. So many choices, and if you got in a grad program, you've done something right; they're so hard to get accepted to these days!