Friday, October 8, 2010

Academic Success; second meeting

I had my second official meeting with Trena Bolin and the Academic Success Center on Wednesday, October 6. If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, click here to see my introduction to the Academic Success Center and then click here to see my take on last week’s first official meeting.

This week’s meeting started off on a wrong note, as I woke up late. What caused that, you may ask? It’s hard to pinpoint anything for certain, but I’m going to say it’s possible that my late-night roadtrip to Sheetz caused it. Sheetz is a gas station/restaurant that is apparently very popular. Upon discovering that I was making regular trips to Morgantown, my friend Justin Edens asked me if I was eating at Sheetz. He was disappointed that I was not. During my last couple trips to Morgantown, I noticed the construction of a Sheetz somewhat reasonably close to Princeton. On my most recent trip, I realized that it was open and informed Edens of this. A roadtrip was discussed and finalized for the night of Oct. 5. Click here to see the Facebook album.

Tuesday, I woke up at 8 a.m. for my 9:30 a.m. class. I had class from 9:30-10:45 a.m. Then, class from 11 a.m. until 12:15 p.m. Then, class from 12:30 until 1:45. Then, work at Pizza Hut from 3 p.m. until whenever closing duties are completed, which can be anywhere from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. So, Tuesdays are pretty full for me. I did all that and finished with work around midnight. Then, we drove about 2 hours to Sheetz. We ate at Sheetz, then drove about 2 hours back. I got home at around 4 a.m. My meetings are at 11 a.m. I wonder why I was late…

I woke up, feeling like shit, but knowing I had to get to Concord at 11 a.m. I was ready to leave for Concord around 10:45, but I knew there would be no way to make it there on time, so I got ready to call Trena and let her know I would be late. One thing stood in my way… I didn’t have her office number.

I looked through every paper that I was given from the Academic Success Center. There wasn’t a phone number on anything. Luckily, I had a backup plan - I sat in my car in my parking lot and went to on my phone and checked the directory. That’s something people might not know - there’s a directory of every Concord professor and administrator on Concord’s website.

I called Trena and let her know I was running late. I didn’t tell her it was because I was at a gas station in Beckley at 3 a.m. She was very understanding. She told me to take my time and let me know when her schedule would be open for me.

I got to Concord and made my way to her office. She was busy with some stuff, so I sat in her office while she finished her work. She was working with another student who was in the Academic Success Center program. I guess that’s the right term for it. Anyway…

It was cool to see this program actually utilized for somebody who needs it. For me, it’s different. It’s like, "You fucked up and have to go to the Academic Success Center. Fix your problems." I know why I’m there and I know what I need to do. I just needed somebody to actually say, "You messed up. You’re here. Do something about it."

The student that I was waiting for Trena to finish up with was doing something else at the moment; she wasn’t in her office while I was sitting there. While I was waiting, she told me a little about that girl and why she was there and what they were hoping to do with her. It was interesting to see one of the student workers come in and have Trena tell her what to say to this student. It was even more interesting to see that very student come into Trena’s office and interact with her. It was neat to see what the Academic Success Center does and how it interacts with a student.

Things are different for me, since I was a part of Concord’s newspaper staff my first semester at Concord. It was part of my job to know who was who and what was what on campus. Within a month or two of being a student, I knew who the Vice Presidents where and what office was which and just general stuff that a lot of "regular" students wouldn’t know.

Regarding stuff on campus, I always used myself as a sort of test. If I didn’t know what was going on around campus, then the average student didn’t know. It was my job to know what every organization was going and what other events were going on. It was like, "I’m the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper and I have no idea what your organization is doing. I go out of my way to know what’s going on, so if I don’t know, then that random guy over there has no idea either."

That’s the case with a lot of freshman students - which this girl is - and a lot of programs and stuff around campus. A lot of people don’t know what is where and who is who. That was the case with this girl in Trena’s office. I looked at her and could tell that Concord was overwhelming her. If you told her to go to the Admissions Office or the Registrars Office, I’m sure she would have no idea what you were talking about.

That might be something that needs to be addressed at Concord - simplifying things for new students. Maybe the University 100 courses do that; I’m not sure. If they don’t, maybe they need to.

An example about simplifying things for students that involves me would be a recent trip to Morgantown I made to visit my girlfriend - Candace Nelson. I went up there after my classes on Thursday, skipping class on Friday (something I can’t do anymore, now that the Academic Success Center is keeping tabs on me) and stayed until Sunday. Going up there during the school week meant that Candace had class on Friday. I walked her to her class and was basically told, “Occupy yourself for an hour.” I had never been on West Virginia University’s campus before and was just left to fend for myself.

I had heard a lot of bad things about WVU’s campus from friends over the years. It’s cluttered, disorganized, ineffective, stupid, etc… I walked out into the hub of WVU’s campus and looked around. I realized that things weren’t really that bad. It was just a few buildings and a lot of people. It was not a big deal at all. And then I realized that my friends all went to WVU when they were 18, fresh out of high school. And, I put myself in those shoes - how different would this situation be if I were 18, instead of 24? I was such a different person at 18, that same situation would have completely overwhelmed me.

I realized that was the same situation at Concord for some people. I wasn’t overwhelmed by Concord my freshman year, but I know some people were. That girl in Trena’s office was. It’s people like her that need help. Hopefully, the Academic Success Center can help her and similar people.

To get back to me…

The actual meeting was pretty short. Trena asked me how my classes were going. I told her how I felt I was doing. She gave me an update on some financial aid issues I was having. She then told me that if I didn’t have a D or F in any classes when midterms were given that I wouldn’t have to meet with her anymore.

The most interesting aspect of my time with Trena was that we discussed my blog. For the most part, she seemed enthusiastic that I was helping spread the word about the program. We discussed a few issues about some stuff I had written and she encouraged me to continue what I’m doing.

So, that’s where we’re at now. I’m not exactly sure when midterm grades are posted. It’s either next week or the week after. So, I either have 1 or 2 meetings left. That is, of course, assuming I don’t have a D or F in any classes. I feel like I don’t. But, if I do I’ll let you know. I guess this is a pivotal couple weeks for me, concerning my future with the Academic Success Center program. I’ll keep everybody updated.


  1. Wow, I didn't realize you were in so deep on the grades thing :/ I skipped a ton of classes too... But I graduated with a 3.12, and a 3.6 in just journalism courses.

    I'm not sure if you want a reporting job when you graduate, but you should be aware that things are so competitive now that grades do actually matter a bit. There is such a glut of candidates out there that you can be choosy as a manager / hiring person.

  2. It's one of those situations where I messed up as a freshman, sort of pulled myself out a little bit, then messed it up last year. Hopefully I can pull my GPA up a little bit over the next couple semesters. I'm realizing that things are a lot more competitive than they were just a few years ago.