The Breaking Point

Deena Mueller

Until next week, we have the freedom to quit – a class that is. Add/Drop runs through Wednesday, September 6 and allows students to switch, withdraw from or join classes without consequence.

For many first-years this is a completely foreign concept, yet I have already met numerous students who have taken advantage of it. But it all seems a little strange to me. Throughout my entire life, and this is probably true of many Colgate students, it has been ingrained in my head not to take the easy way out. I need to see something through till the end.

Now I’m not ragging on Add/Drop, because I do think it is beneficial. Coming straight out of high school, I’ve never before had the ability to play with my schedule once classes had begun. I see no problem dropping a class in order to take something that will better fit into a major or something that is really interesting. However, I disagree with using Add/Drop to switch to an easier class after attending only 20 minutes of that class, an action many students took on Monday. There should be some amount of time that we must endure something before deciding to quit. Additionally, there must be some amount of time spent considering our options before we throw in the towel. We have to answer the questions of when and where to draw the line.

When Add/Drop ends, at least the decision about staying with our current courses will be made for us. Other decisions remain in our control without an appointed date. Extracurricular activities have made me realize that classes are not the only thing people ever consider dropping.

On Tuesday, I went to club rugby practice. I did not really like it; at least not enough to commit myself. So what do I do now? Should I just quit and walk away? The part of my mind that has been brainwashed by society tells me that I need to stick it out. In my life, I have never abandoned anything I’ve started because I’ve been trained to abhor the idea of quitting. I could probably even be classified as having a phobia of quitting, but that’s the way many of us were raised. Giving up was never tolerated, never talked about as an option and most of all; it has never been the right decision. On the other hand, what value is there in staying involved with a club I don’t enjoy?

For my rugby dilemma, I have decided to stick around until I see how the first game goes, but that’s my personal decision. With regard to others’ problems, each person must choose what road to take, but I will offer some advice from a veteran at agonizing over when to stop.

Life really is too short to waste doing things you don’t enjoy, studying things you aren’t interested in and being places you’re unhappy. But don’t be too quick to judge a situation. Give it some thought, talk it over with a friend and relax. Few decisions in college are permanent. Electing to switch majors, find a new roommate, drop a class, join rugby, study abroad; these things are not irreversible.

As for how long to mull something over, unless I’m absolutely certain that I’m making the right decision, I wait for the breaking point: the moment when things suddenly become clear. This could be a failing grade on a paper in a class that I was considering dropping or the opposite response, which would affirm that I actually did belong there. It could be a broken nose in rugby (hmm, maybe I shouldn’t go back to practice today). When it’s time for a decision to be made, we’ll usually know what action to take.

So in the seven days we all have left to “quit” our classes, I hope that everyone makes the best personal decision. Don’t be scared off by a challenging syllabus, or lengthy term paper assignment; give the class a chance, but in the end, don’t be afraid to quit if that’s the right thing to do.