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Dear Ari.

Dear Ari,
So that 60% final kind of killed me. I’ve been refreshing that damn e-Services page every day on the break, hoping for a miracle, but alas, I got the D. My parents have always been supportive of me, but then again, I’ve always been a straight-A student. How can I tell them that I failed when they have such high expectations?
Sincerely,
Conquered by the Course

Dear Conquered,
First, take a deep breath. You failed a course; you didn’t fail your whole life.
You’re a big kid now. Heck, some would even say you’re an adult! Your grades are your business, and you technically don’t need to tell your parents anything. That being said, I’m very open and honest with my parents – I’m just trying to give you some options.
Clearly, other factors come into play: Are the parents footing part of the uni bill? Is there a scholarship you’re trying to keep? Before you tell your parents, if that’s what you choose to do, make sure you’re aware of what this grade means to you.
First of all, a D is still better than an F! With a D, you still have to repeat the course if it’s a prerequisite, but you do get credit hours for it. Look at your GPA, and figure out what that means in terms of your goals. What kind of grades do you need in the semesters to come? Can you keep your scholarship? Can you get a co-op job?
If you don’t have the answers to all the pertinent questions, contact your academic advisor and the professor of that class. If your parents are anything like mine, you won’t be approaching them until you have a good chunk of the answers figured out for yourself.
University can be tough. Don’t beat yourself up, but do build yourself up for bigger and better things.
Affectionately,
Ari

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Dear Ari,
First semester, I went home every second weekend. I was nervous to be at university, and plus my girlfriend was back home. Now, I’m 19, ready to go out, and that girlfriend is history. I was stoked to get back to Fredericton until my mom started making plans for me to come home as often as I did last semester. Thing is, I don’t plan to go home until March break. How can I get my mom on the same page as me without breaking her heart?
Breakout Brandon

Dear Breakout,
The transition to university isn’t just a one-time event when your parents drop you off on the first day. It can be hard for parents to put themselves in your shoes and recognize how independent you’re capable of being. In fact, your independence can really produce mixed feelings in the mamas and papas who aren’t quite ready to let us and our childhoods go.
If you plan on going home for March break, use that as a tool for compromise and negotiation. Try something along the lines of, “Since I won’t be coming home very much this semester, I was wondering if there’s anything special you’d like to do over my March break.”
Play the reminiscing game. Ask your mom what it was like when she was first of age. Allowing her to go back to her early adulthood can help her to see things from your perspective.
You’re young, you’re single, and you’re ready to make a fresh start. When it comes down to it, your mom can love it or lump it. You can decide where to spend your time and how to spend it, and you certainly don’t need to feel guilty for doing so.
Just don’t forget where you came from, and try to keep your poor old momma updated.
Affectionately,
Ari

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