I think this potential change for the UA Grade Forgiveness Policy is crucial.
Of course, when this issue is brought up, the typical debate against it is that students will slack off more because they know they have more chances to make up a class.
No matter what the policy is, universities will always have those students who take advantage of the opportunity presented to them.
The people who might actually need this grade forgiveness to save their college career are not paid enough attention.
As a member of the ASG Senate, I focused on writing legislation on issues I thought were particularly important and needed more attention.
At the top of my list was grade forgiveness, but not in general. I was pushing for more grade forgiveness changes for students facing a mental illness.
My idea for legislation came from a friend who knew I was passionate about this subject.
His brother was an engineering student at the UofA and went through a terrible time in his life where he was diagnosed with an extreme stage of depression.
His grades plummeted one semester and he eventually had to drop out.
Even if he got straight As for the rest of his time at the university, there was no way he could recover his GPA.
He’s doing much better and even helped his brother who was an engineering major as well with his college experience.
Clearly, he was an intelligent student who went through a phase of episodic depression and because of that, he couldn’t recover and graduate with an acceptable GPA.
Here are a few facts from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
“Seventy-five percent of lifetime cases of mental health conditions begin by age 24.”
“More than 80 percent of college students felt overwhelmed by all they had to do in the past year and 45 percent have felt things were hopeless.”
“Almost 73 percent of students living with a mental health condition experienced a mental health crisis on campus. Yet, 34.2 percent reported that their college did not know about this crisis.”
Clearly, mental illness on college campuses has become an increasingly alarming problem.
Unfortunately, over my three years in college, I’ve seen one close friend drop out of school because of a mental illness and one currently fighting to do everything she can to keep from dropping out of school because of the setbacks she has faced while dealing with mental illnesses.
The friend currently doing all she can to fix her GPA and stay in school didn’t know anything of the grade forgiveness offered to students with mental health issues.
Some students can plead their case and get an entire semester wiped from their transcripts. However, this is extremely difficult to get approved.
I don’t want to go into detail, but if everyone knew what she was going through and the mental illnesses she’s been diagnosed with, I’m sure they’d agree she deserves the grade forgiveness.
Sadly enough, she’s still fighting to get her case approved.
It is absolutely disheartening to me because I’ve seen what she’s been through and what she’s currently going through and there is no one more deserving than she is to get that grade forgiveness.
I’ve seen many close people to me face various mental illnesses.
I even personally went through a time of anxiety and panic attacks. I never understood the whole panic attack thing until it happened to me.
And let me tell you, it is without a doubt one of the most terrifying and petrifying feelings in the entire world.
Before I personally experienced it though, I never really understood the effects a mental illness could have on someone.
Mental illness is a serious issue that is often overlooked. However, seeing as how college is the prime time of mental illness hitting people, something needs to be done to help these students going through a terrible phase in their life.
Overall, more grade forgiveness is needed.
Although this is grade forgiveness in general, it will help those students facing personal issues that have caused them to screw up for a semester.
Things happen that are sometimes out of our control.
College is a stressful and taxing place that sometimes takes a bigger toll on certain people.
Students should have more opportunity to recover from a semester that just didn’t work out. Those extra classes that they get to retake could be the difference in whether they graduate or not.