Friday, April 6, 2007


University of Virginia Rotunda Going into college my doctors advised me not to get stressed-out, and I had no trouble abiding by their recommendation.

After my second cancer I took their advice to a whole new level. I decided that I wouldn’t allow anything, especially school, to stress me out physically or mentally. This had become my general attitude toward life since my original cancer, but now it reached a ridiculous level as I refused to sacrifice going to the gym, eating or watching TV for studying. I even had a rule that I wouldn’t let studying dig into my eight hours of sleep.

In case you don’t believe me, my GPA speaks for itself:

1st semester – 3.17

This was the only semester before cancer #2. Although it wasn’t up to my high school standards, a B average isn’t too bad.

2nd semester – 2.77

B- average isn’t too good. I even had a reduced course load, taking only nine credits. But I had just finished beating cancer, again; cut me some slack.

3rd semester – 2.58

Like I already said, my priorities were set. Academics were somewhere toward the bottom, right alongside contracting Koro syndrome.

One class had a project due a few weeks before the semester ended. When I got to class that day, I noticed that all my classmates had project folders in front of them.

It’s not due until next week, is it?

“What’s in your folder?” I asked the dude next to me.

“Uhh…my project.”


Not only had I not begun, I hadn’t even looked at what the project entailed. Luckily, my professor let me turn it in a few days later with a grade penalty. Needless to say, I broke my sleep rule a few nights in a row.

4th semester – 2.38

I like to call this the transition period. During this semester, school actually increased in my priorities. How so you ask? My new goal was to see how low my GPA could get without me getting academic warning. I think I did pretty well.

In one class we were given a grading option called the “Dutch Knockout”. This basically meant that if your grade going into the final exam sucked, then that test alone would determine your entire grade. When I got a 44 on the first test, I stopped going to discussion section and didn’t even take the second test. The week leading up to the final exam I studied my ass off. To save time I went to McDonald’s seven times in eight days. One day I even went twice, for a total of four double cheeseburgers. Ronald did his job, though – I pulled off a C+.

5th semester – 1.97

And you thought academic warning was 2.0? So did I, but in fact it’s 1.8. In terms of doing just well enough not to be a fuck-up, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Surprisingly, the most impressive academic performance of my life occurred in this semester. One of my classes was called Introduction to Statistical Analysis. I had a solid F going into the final, having looked at the book for no more than 10 minutes.

For three days prior to the test all I did was study the book, page by page. When my apartment’s electricity went out only hours before test time, I kept studying with a flashlight. I aced the test and finished the course with a C-.

6th semester – 2.53

This semester I started trying and my grade point improved significantly. However, the GPA specifically for my Economics major dropped to 2.09. I began to fear that the Econ Department would kick me out and make me declare a different major.

By this time I began questioning my own intelligence, wondering if I even belonged at UVA.

7th semester – 3.08

It’s nice to know I’m not a complete moron.

8th semester - ?
I don’t know how this semester will turn out, but at the moment my grades are A, A, B+ and C+.

Can you guess what the C+ is in?

It’s in my writing class.


Tisha! said...

what a comeback! good luck with the publishing!

found you on blogmad :)

Sly said...

J Dubs,

While your EKG like peaks and valleys of Grade Point Averages are impressive I would like to remind you that you are still a moron. Do you remember the time you asked me "How much are free refills?" I also just found out last night while at the bar with peperoni nips and n****achi who the Stublmer was....HILARIOUS.

Ho-Train said...

Sly, I think Ben should have gone with S-Diggity for your name, were you not consulted on this?

Anonymous said...

Hey this is Zach from temple. My mom sent me the link to this and I've been following all your entries. I like this one a especially because it relates to me alot. My grades tend to fluctuate (is that the write word for this??)like yours and project due dates tend to be a different date then I thought at first haha. Well I keep reading, later.