Late withdrawal now easily abused

Katrina Mossberger

We are all stressed. Ask any random student on campus. There will be tons of tales about the hardships of life and how a student struggles to cope. Well, relief is in sight. Students can now drop their classes after the third week of school without penalization if they cite stress as the reason.

This addendum to the previous drop rules is kinder and seems to take into account the harsh realities of daily life. In the original rules, a student was unable to drop by themselves after the first three weeks of school without a lengthy application process. If they did not attend the classes, they received an unofficial withdrawal, which essentially is an automatic F until they retake the class. Now that stress is an acceptable reason for needing to withdraw, a student can avoid receiving a semester’s worth of Fs if they become over-stressed.

Stress is not a malady to be taken lightly. Short-term effects of stress can include irritability, insomnia, chest pains, or even a loss of sexual appetite. Even this most basic form of stress relief can be affected.

In the long-term, the constant heightened levels of stress on the body can lead to anxiety disorders, weight loss, substance abuse, or even heart attacks or strokes. Stress literally can kill you.

Imagine starting a new semester with a full course load and then a month or so in, losing your parent or significant other, two of the most stressful events a person can endure. Without the new stress option, a student after the three-week cut-off would have to trudge forward. Being able to bring yourself mentally to class is just as important as physically being present, and few are able to focus their full mental capacity on school while dealing with such extreme stress. With the ability to drop during the semester due to stress, a student can put his or her academic career on hold while dealing with a life-changing event.

The problem with this new addendum is where to draw the line. Without any guidelines, students could abuse a system created to help them with life-changing problems. Instead of dropping classes due to a death or pregnancy or some other high-stress factor, a student could drop the classes because they were bored or tired of the subject. There is just too much room for abuse.

Of course, everyone is stressed, especially students. It is not uncommon for many students to work full-time, take a full-time class load, and still complete their familial and societal obligations. Occasionally, some of us may even withstand the stress of a social life. It’s the reality of our day-to-day life and shouldn’t be confused with a stressful event that will affect our ability to cope with even our daily life.

We have all known that person who feels any amount of work is too stressful. The ability to waltz to the dean of your college during the middle of the semester because of poor time management skills and say you need to drop because of stress is unacceptable. It is a problem that will have to be confronted by this new rule because, let’s face it, if there is a rule, there is someone who will abuse it.