“I chose not to do this assignment” or how to fail in one easy lesson College Life

Hello everyone:

Picture this: A student walks up to me and says, “Dr. Parmelee, I chose not to do this assignment.” I replied, “What???” She repeated herself and walked away. A few weeks later, she failed my class. She was none too pleased when she got her final grade for the course and sent me an email that said, “How dare you flunk me?”  I replied, “Let’s go over the numbers.”

You see, ladies and gentlemen, college is a numbers game. You make the grades, the numbers are high, and you pass the course. You “chose not to do this assignment” and you fail.  For the sake of understanding, let’s say that she had a potential to earn 100 points in that class. Here are her numbers:

The assignment (a group presentation) she did not do was worth 20 points.

The Team Dynamics paper she could not do because she did not do the group assignment (she did not have a team because no one wanted someone who refused to do any work) was worth 10 points.

The Reflection paper on how she felt about working on a team (which she also could not do) was worth 10 points.

So, those totals are 40 points out of the 100 points she could earn for the entire semester, which left her with a 60. At that particular college, 60 points is a low D. If everything else had been perfect for the entire semester, she would have gotten a D. But it wasn’t. If she had lost only one point all semester, she would have gotten a 59 and that is an F.  But she lost a lot more than 1 point on her other assignments. As a result, she ended up with a middle-range F. That’s how the numbers worked.

What are your numbers saying about your work ethic?


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.


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