(Apologies for using a sock puppet account for this, but I worry there is information on my other account that would identify me to my friends and I think there's only one person other than my family and my partner who I felt comfortable talking about this with.)
The title basically explains my dilemma... I failed to submit a paper for a course last semester, and there were no mental health or compassionate grounds for requesting an extension. I worked fairly assiduously through the semester, from 9:00 to 5:00 maybe 5 to 6 days a week most of the time (including time at school/work), but it looks like I should have used my time differently and made more sacrifices in the end. I spent a lot of my working time doing readings for classes and preparing a summary for my only examinable course, and not enough time doing research for my two papers. (The rest of my course load consisted of a placement for credit and an associated seminar. I didn't participate in any extra-curriculars because I knew I was taking a heavy course load.) The mistakes I can recognize are
- I overestimated my writing speed and didn't realize how much trouble I was in until it was too late. I barely finished one of the two papers, starting from two weeks before the deadline. There are people who can turn out a 30-page paper in a weekend (maybe not a good one, but at least a complete one), and I am not one of them.
- Poor management of social time/invitations. I would make plans with friends, and then realize I was behind schedule on my papers. But because the papers weren't due for another month or two at those times, I felt like they couldn't be used as a proper excuse for cancelling, and I don't feel good about lying up sufficient excuses. Sometimes, a person would organize a group get-together, and then everyone would bail except for me and the host, and I felt too bad to bail in those situations as well. I would hang out with friends maybe once every week or two. (I also saw my partner once or twice a week, but I consider that a higher priority than seeing other friends, for myself.)
- I took a seminar that I found interesting, but struggled with the content. I should have dropped this, but I was optimistic in the beginning and didn't realize how much difficulty I had with it until after the drop date had passed. I completed the paper for this course, but 1) it took me all of two weeks, and 2) I don't think it's a good paper because I barely understood the relevant research. This is through no fault of the professor who taught the course; their lectures were very clear and they often encouraged the class to discuss papers with them.
- In reading week, I should have been working on my papers, but instead spent most of my working time confronting career anxiety. I have long-standing anxiety about filling out job applications, networking, writing cover letters, etc. to the point where I actually didn't apply to any OCI jobs despite setting aside time every two weeks throughout the summer to work on applications (I spent all those times being overwhelmed and looking through the job postings or staring blankly at my resume). A couple of my friends sat me down during reading week and basically helped me figure out how to write an application despite my anxiety, and I ended up submitting my first job applications ever as a result. (I have misgivings about considering this time spent as a mistake, as it had to happen at some point in my life anyway. But the failed paper kind of gives more "ground" to my fears of inadequacy than they ever had before, so...)
My GPA outside of this failure is maybe a low B, and if I'm reading my school's policies correctly, I could be kicked out for failing the course, but likely will be allowed to continue [edit: because my GPA outside of this is high enough]. I question whether I should even bother at this point though. If I'm able to drop the ball this hard, I don't think I should be a lawyer.
My family and non-lawyer friends I've talked to say I should just finish my J.D. anyway since I've come this far, and then hopefully a good non-lawyer career will come out of it, but I assume that for my J.D. to mean anything professionally, I will still have to secure articles and pass the bar and all that, no? I honestly can't imagine being hired anywhere, between my social/career anxiety and my bad grades. At the same time, if I drop out, it looks terrible (it is...), and I again don't know who would hire me. I feel trapped and hopeless and ashamed, and I don't know what to do now or who to talk to.
Edited by BulletproofPocketwatch, 02 January 2017 - 07:53 PM.