To Whom It May Concern:

I promise this isn’t a suicide note. Or, at the very least, it was only academic suicide rather than the goopy kind. I am emailing to appeal my academic dismissal from Southern Michigan University. I was surprised, but not very upset to receive an email last month informing me of my dismissal. I would have responded earlier, but I wasn’t really paying attention over the break, but now I am and I would like to urge you to reinstate me for next semester.

I admit I had a very difficult time last semester, and my grades cratered as a result. I don’t mean to make excuses for my poor academic performance, but I would like to make some excuses for my poor academic performance. I knew that registering for 25 credit hours in the spring would require a lot of me, but I needed to earn the hours so that I was on track to graduate on time. Never mind that I have theoretically infinite time; I still think of college like second high school lasting four years even though that’s more the exception now than the rule. I also didn’t realize that I’d only gotten 36 of my 136 attempted credits, and that you have to be on probation for three semesters before dismissal. Oops.

Still I thought I could handle my workload, meaning both school and my actual day job at the dog spa, except that my grandmother became very ill in February. While she was home sick and unable to grandmother, I had to drive home every weekend and some weeknights to help out with household duties and to care for her. The ladies in the nursing home were kind of bitchy about this. Needless to say, the seven-hour-long drive each way cut into my study time, as did the chores I had to do.

Even when I was at school, I was very distracted with the situation and was unable to focus on my schoolwork. You might tell me that I should have talked with my professors, or even withdrawn from my classes. But I thought it would be a far more cunning strategy to avoid the professors altogether, and to double down by enrolling in an additional 1-credit course just before the drop-add deadline. I was sure that by zigging wen they expected me to zag, I could make it work.

I love Southern Michigan University, and it would mean so much to me to graduate with a degree from this school. It certainly wasn’t my fifth choice, and my application definitely wasn’t a form letter with University of Michigan taken out in a find-and-replace. Ever since I visited campus and saw all the ugly postwar Brutalist buildings, I knew that being a Grizzly was for me. Also, graduating would make me the first person in my family to complete a college degree. At least if you don’t count Uncle Stu, who graduated from University of Phoenix. I don’t count him.

If I am reinstated, I will focus much better on my schoolwork. I’ll take fewer hours, just one hour if I have to, and manage my time more wisely. For instance, I’ve spent a solid fifteen minutes on this this letter and you can’t even see the seams where I modified the sample I found online! Fortunately, my grandmother did not recover and is now a vegetable, so I should not need to travel nearly as often. Also, I have met with my advisor. Just once, and it was more of a brief encounter in the parking lot, but I will follow their advice about communicating better with my professors from now on. Once I ask for it, of course, since the advising offices are currently closed for winter break.

Please understand that my low GPA that led to my dismissal does not indicate that I am a bad student, even though it is essentially the only measure of academic performance available to you or anyone. Really, I’m a good student who had one very, very bad semester. And then another one. And also a third. I hope you will give me a second chance, which in light of my three bad semesters is really more of a fourth chance. Thank you for considering this appeal, and go Grizzlies!

Unter Gräd

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