Academically Disqualified…what now?

Some of you reading this may have recently found out that you’re academically disqualified. Disqualification can feel punitive, but in actuality, the university is recognizing how difficult school is for you right now. Maybe you’ve experienced unexpected health issues or family responsibilities. Maybe you started college out of high school and struggled to adapt to the university’s academic standards. We understand that these things happen, and as advisors we meet students at all stages of this process.

On Thursday morning I met with Tony, a UO student who was academically disqualified in 2008 and is now working towards reinstatement for fall 2010. For those of you who are newly-disqualified, we thought you might appreciate hearing from someone who understands firsthand what you’re going through.

Tony reflected on his process over the past couple years – from initially getting the news and feeling upset and overwhelmed, to using this time to reconsider his career goals and work on personal stressors that were interfering with school. Now he’s looking forward to returning to UO and completing a major in public relations. I asked him to write out his thoughts related to disqualification and reinstatement:

Thinking back to Spring 2008 when you were academically disqualified, can you describe how you initially felt when you read your letter of disqualification?

Three words come to mind when I think of that moment – embarrassed, disappointed, and terrified.  I was embarrassed of what people around me would think about how I could not manage to keep a minimum GPA.  I was disappointed in myself – how could I let this get to a point that I could not get myself out?  And terrified about how I am going to fix this and how it is going to affect my future.  After those feelings stopped, I wanted to get right back into school, then realized I needed more time and that time made everything change for me.

How have your thoughts and feelings about disqualification changed since then?

I still think that disqualification is hard to handle, and no matter what, your feelings are going to be the same at the initial point you read the letter.  But that little letter changes everything for you!  You have to actually take time to figure out what you want and what matters to you. It’s hard at first, but that letter changes everything and points you in the right direction if you let it.

Looking ahead to the coming year, what are your personal and professional goals?

The time disqualification has given me to really look at what I want has changed my whole perspective. The time off gave me a chance to just be around some friends and their jobs and I realized there are jobs out there that you can enjoy and they become more than just a job.  I have realized that going to school is a great opportunity but a responsibility at the same time.  Take the opportunity to chase what you want, for me I realized that the time off made me want to go back to school even more. It also reinforced for me my career objective.

If you would like to speak to an advisor about disqualification or reinstatement (and everything in between), call our front desk at 541-346-3211 and request an appointment.

Meet Your Advisor – Jenni Van Wyk

 You hear a lot from us on this blog, and we wanted to give you the chance to meet other advisors in our office and across campus. So every once in a while we’ll spotlight someone new.

Today meet Jenni Van Wyk – Academic Advisor in the Office of Academic Advising. Jenni works with all students, but she specializes in advising students who are pursuing health-related careers.  We asked Jenni some questions and here’s what she had to say:

Jenni Van Wyk

Why do you like working at the University of Oregon?

I love being around people, students and professionals, who are constantly LEARNING.  It challenges me to continually learn, both personally and professionally.  I love hearing students’ stories, what they want to do with their major and life after UO, and hear their excitement when they realize they are 16 credits away from graduating.  My friends and colleagues also keep me interested in becoming a better advisor and person as I read books they recommend, go to places in Oregon they’ve been to, and try new activities I’ve never tried before.

What was a memorable turning point in your own education?

I was a senior and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life after college. I was earning a BA in Biology with a German minor, and loved what I studied, but just couldn’t make the connection with my major and a career.  Through my extracurricular activities I was working with professionals whose job it was to help students in college.  I decided that’s what made me happiest – all the things I was involved with outside of the classroom.  I wanted to stay in college for the rest of my life, but I had to figure out how to get paid for it.  I approached my Greek Advisor who pointed me in the right direction.  I got my masters degree in student affairs, and I love working in higher education!

Some students struggle to adjust to rainy Oregon winters. What have you found helps you through them?

I  just moved to Oregon from the Midwest (Chicago) and I love the rain.  It is so much better than December, January, and February in Illinois when the temperatures are well below freezing (one day in February the high for the day was -7, and with the wind-chill, it felt like -25!).  I prefer rain over the “freeze your face off” cold.  Students usually laugh and agree with me.  Everything is green all winter long, instead of brown frozen grass, gray-white snow, and bare trees.  It’s all about perspective.  And WOW, there’s flowers blooming in February around here!