Failing in my first semester

My friends were taking business so I thought I'd try it too. Turns out business wasn't for me, so I went back to my original plan.

Jan 19, 2017

My original plan out of high school was to pursue a degree in criminal justice and then become a police officer. You don’t actually need this degree to become a cop, but I knew I wanted get a post-secondary education and I figured this degree would look good on my application.

However, when it came time to actually apply for university I started to feel uncertain about my plan. I’d been talking to my friends about their experiences in university (most of them started earlier than I did) and they all seemed to really enjoy the classes they were taking. Most of them were enrolled in business, and they talked about how their classes were way more relatable to real life than the high school classes we were used to taking. I decided that I wanted to try business instead of criminal justice.

I figured getting a business degree would give me a wider range of career choices after university, and I knew that I’d still be able to become a police officer with this education if that’s what I wanted.

I quit my job to study business

By the time my first semester rolled around I felt like my life was on track. Quitting my job and going back to school was exciting! But that feeling started to fade as the semester continued. I soon began to get bored in the classes I was taking. It’s not that I had bad professors or anything like that. The problem was that what I was learning didn’t interest me one bit.

I didn’t enjoy learning about economics and marketing, and this in turn made my first semester a real challenge. It was hard enough to go to class and sit there for an hour and a half listening to what the professors were teaching; I didn’t feel motivated to study after class and put effort into my assignments.

A failing grade and a change of plan

About half way through my first semester my grades started to slip, and I asked myself: “is this what I want to be doing for the next four years of my life?” It's safe to say my first semester sucked. I was relieved when it was over, but unfortunately I ended up failing one of my classes.

I didn’t let my failing grade hold me back from wanting to go back to school in the fall. I knew that I didn’t want to go back into business so I decided I’d go back to my original plan and apply for criminal justice. I spoke with an advisor and found out that I needed better grades to get in, so I ended up taking the semester off to upgrade my high school marks.

Staying positive

After that first semester my thought process could have gone one of two ways: I could’ve chosen to view my first semester negatively, as though I’d just wasted four months of my life taking classes I didn’t like; or I could’ve chosen to see things in a positive light given that in those four months I’d tried something new and gotten a better sense of what I really want to do with my life.

I opted for the positive perspective. I’m glad I gave business a try, even though I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t like it. No one wants to stick with something they don’t like and end up hating what they’re doing ten years down the road.

I was able to acknowledge that business wasn’t the right path for me, and that helped me to change my plans and return to the path I had originally considered.

My story is a great example of how post-secondary doesn’t have to be a straight path. It’s okay to change your plans as you go. At the end of the day you’re in control of your life and you should be pursuing something that truly interests you, not following someone else’s path.


Criminal Justice
Bow Valley College

When I was in high school I couldn’t wait to be finished, but now that I get to choose what I learn school is awesome.

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