I almost failed chemistry first semester. Going to college with no chemistry background hurt me more than I anticipated. Most of the people in the class passed AP Chemistry with 5s and there I was with no concept of molecular orbitals or stoichiometry. I quickly realized after the first midterm that I needed to find help— and fast. There was only so much I could learn and understand by myself. At that point I was already involved in weekly group tutoring, but I knew that I needed to find additional help as well. Luckily, I was involved with a first year program designed to help underrepresented students better integrate into university. Through that program, I was able to ask for a private tutor and they covered the costs for me. On top of all that, I also made some great friends who were able to help me in chemistry even though I was lost most of the time. They didn’t see to mind that they had to reteach me many of the subjects, and they took me out to find new restaurants when I was started panicking.
My main motivation was that the only time I could retake chemistry was the following year. General Chemistry 1 is only offered in the fall and is the prerequisite to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry. This meant that it would have pushed back my academic schedule by a year and I couldn’t allow that to happen. I knew that there was no way I would allow myself to fall back so much on my schedule. Luckily, I didn’t fall into an emotional ditch. I went into university with the mentality that there would be many ups and downs. This mentality really helps because I always believe that I can pick myself back up. I have seen some students who refuse to get back up after they receive a bad grade, or don’t do as well as they hope. It’s okay to mope for a day or two, but it’s not the end of the world.
There is always help if you look in the right places. You, a student, are paying an enormous sum of money to get an education. Tuition is essentially paying for all the resources the school has to offer, so it’s in your best interest to take advantage of all of it. Although I didn’t talk to another human for the last two weeks of school, it was all worth it in the end. I passed.
Julia graduated from Blair High School (go Vikings!) in 2016 with an International Baccalaureate Diploma and is studying Behavioral Biology and Visual Art at Johns Hopkins University (go Hop!). She is involved in behavioral science research, cultural and community service clubs, and wind ensemble and has a work study job. After getting her Bachelor’s, Julia hopes to attend medical school and be able to help people in developing nations. She was first introduced to CAP through SAT workshops, and CAP has helped her ever since with college applications, resumes, and more. Julia is excited to serve on the Student Advisory Council because she loves CAP and helping other students succeed.