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Letter to My Former College Self: Stacy Thrall

The following is a letter submitted by GPC’s Stacy Thrall, a math instructor whose office is located on the Clarkston campus. If you are inspired by what you read and would like to contact Thrall or another faculty or staff member for further advice, please email the Collegian at  gpc.collegian@gmail.com. Compiled by Alem Giorgis.

Dear Stacy,

This letter is to the Stacy Thrall attending Converse College in the year 2007.  Today is the day you failed your first math test, and I know you are panicking like crazy!  Calm down, take a deep breath, and let me assure you that it’s all going to work out fine.  How do I know that?  Because I am the future you!  Don’t believe me?  You’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that you become a respected college math professor and have been improving the lives of students through math education for almost six years now.

So you may be wondering how this is possible given your current failure in your math analysis class.  I know this setback has you doubting your abilities and debating whether you’ve chosen the right career path.  How can you possibly go to graduate school now when you can’t even pass a simple test?  As you tell your own students, failing is just an opportunity for growth that forces you to challenge yourself to do better next time.   Low grades give us the chance to learn from our own mistakes.  Considering you make a perfect 100 on the next test in math analysis, I’d say you learn a lot from this failure!  And a little spoiler alert for your future: you are going to fail at many more things in life!  So this instance is just preparing you for the future, both personally and professionally.  Embrace it!

The biggest mistake you could ever make is allowing one bad experience to cause you to give up on yourself and your dreams.

One misfortunate event does not determine the future and does not mean you can’t achieve your goals.  I am living proof of that!  So stop crying over that F, and do something about it.  And I don’t mean blame the teacher or complain that the test was too hard.  It’s going to take hard work, time commitment and a strong will to change in order to bounce back from this.  I know you will, not only because I’m from the future and you already have, but because I see my students doing it every day!

Failing is not an excuse to give up, but a reason to endure!

With faith and perseverance, you will emerge from this incident stronger and wiser.

With love and laughs,

The Stacy Thrall from the year 2015

P.S. – Try not to have too much fun your senior year!

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