Prayer Request

A reader writes:

I hit one heck of a bump in my education last spring. I was supposed to get my Bachelor’s, but I did poorly in my classes and had to take an “incomplete” in a last-ditch effort to meet the requirements for graduation. Because my stupidity is matched only by my lethargy, I screwed that up too. I turned this last, all-or-nothing assignment past its due date. My professor took a week to decide whether or not she’d accept it and wound up telling me, just yesterday, that she would not take it.

It may be too late, and her decision *is* a just one, but still, because of the potentially disastrous consequences that will follow if she doesn’t quickly change her mind, I can’t help but ask for your prayers.

I completely deserved this and I kind of feel like I’m asking you to help me get away with my irresponsible actions scot-free, so I’ll understand if you decide to “skip” this prayer request. Maybe pray about whether you should help?

If you do decide to pray for me, please make sure to ask for the intercession of Mother Mary, Seat of Wisdom, Alphonsus de Ligouri, and the Holy Souls

Father, hear our prayer for mercy for your servant that he may finish his studies and move on to serve you. Forgive his failure to do his work and help him to make a firm purpose of amendment. Move his teachers to have mercy on him. Grant that the mercy he receives be paid forward to the next person that needs it in his life. Mother Mary, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Alphonsus and the Holy Souls, pray for him. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen!

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  • Similar Boat

    I had a similar, though not identical situation in my own life. Long story short, I still don’t have my bachelor’s, and money worries from the student loans that I do have are my biggest burden, but my life is pretty good. I have a growing family, we rent a nice apartment, and we will be ok. Your world will not end if you don’t get your bachelor’s. I remember being in that tunnel and thinking I was an utter failure forever, but there is light out there. Just sharing in case it gives you comfort, because I know I felt like I was the only one in the world who was stupid and despicable enough to screw up like this.

    You’re in my prayers.

  • SecretAgentMan

    Prayed and will pray, for all good things. For what it’s worth, if we weren’t all “despicable” there’d have been no reason for the Cross.

  • AdjunctInstructor

    Until you got to the part where you said the instructor took a week to decide whether to accept your assignment, I thought I was your instructor. I had a very similar situation occur in a class I taught this spring.

    I know it doesn’t help, but as instructors, we are sometimes under pressure from our academic departments. It was my first time teaching and I was told I could give incompletes at my discretion. After doing it, I was later told that it probably wasn’t the best decision for a student who was so close to failing anyway. So your instructor may have been acting on the recommendation of his or her boss.

    I will keep you (and my own student; thanks for the reminder to do so) in my prayers, and hope that you may be able to make up the class in a future term.

  • My sister took seven years to finish her BA paper, for a total of 11 years in college. She didn’t enjoy writing (I guess), and definitely didn’t believe in letting go and turning the darn thing in. When she finally did, tellingnthe prof it was a draft, he told her it was graduate-level work. She found an unexpected diploma in her campus mailfolder a few weeks later. I only share this because it still strikes me as funny, not because there’s necessarily any lesson or help for you one way or t’other.
    But I am praying for you! Especially if it’s the case that the disastrous consequences might include a job that’s contingent on having your BA slipping through your fingers. God bless!

  • KML

    Dear reader, I have not been in this exact situation, but I have been in similar where I don’t really understand why I’m not working hard to get something I supposedly want and that is supposed to be good for me. It easily lends itself to some serious negative self-talk and it can feel just terrible, and I can see the pain of that in your note. Can I offer something I’ve found helpful? At the risk of sounding like an internet therapist, I’d encourage you to think about why this happened/is happening as you process all of this. Is it possible someone else besides you thinks this is important? That you think it should be important, but don’t? That sabotaging yourself seems easier than letting someone else do it for you eventually? That maybe completing this will usher some developments and decisions into your life that you’d rather not make? The reason I ask is that I’ve often found there’s something else going on besides “I’m stupid and lazy and can’t finish anything.” I’d also encourage you to think about if perhaps some biochemical brain stuff is playing into this – clinical depression or the like. Those monsters can often make us do things or act in a way we can clearly see is detrimental to our well-being, and the powerlessness to overcome it on our own can make us feel like failures at life. If you think this might be the case, talk to someone.

    I hope I’m not making any negative or hurtful assumptions here with this advice, and if it’s unwelcome or inaccurate then please feel free to disregard it. I’ve been there in other areas of my life, and I’ve found this kind of self-reflection has helped me get past it. I will of course be praying for you, as well.

  • Even though I’ve finished and have my MA, I also have an incomplete that is haunting me like a spectre. It sucks. Prayers away.

  • Irenist

    Hey, Mark’s reader:

    I’ve been in a boat similar to yours. I really admire how you owned that it’s your fault and that your instructor’s decision was a just one. My prayers are with you.

  • Corita

    I had an incomplete that turned into a Big Fat F on my transcripts, from an MA/teacher cert. program I had to drop out of when I got pregnant (unmarried) and fled the state to be closer to family. My teacher was understanding for a while but for some reason (!) I just couldn’t focus on writing that damn paper. It was nearly the last class I had to take to finish my certification requirements. 10 years later I am still uncertified, still living in a different stated, and that !F! dogs me in my mind. But I am starting to consider submitting my portfolio to be considered in this state to finish the process.

    Anyway, all of this to say that, I feel your pain. And, even if the worst happens, it won’t actually be The Worst. There is always another way to go, even if it means circling back around. Your identity is something deeper than grades, and is not made or broken by mistakes or miserable failures. Your identity is the person you were created to be, and everything you are now, that Our Lord sees when He looks at you.

    You will be in my prayers, dear Reader.

  • Alias Clio

    Something to consider: have you ever been diagnosed with ADD?

    I wondered for years why I had such problems with concentration, procrastination, and memory. I blamed them on anything I could think of: on innate laziness – except that for long periods – not always! – I worked very hard at my studies/jobs/etc.; on indifference – but I did care, I knew; on being in the wrong program – although when I got into the right one, I still had to struggle to “attend” properly; on my own lack of intelligence, when all other explanations had failed me – though my IQ and achievement test scores came in at well above “normal” range; and finally on psychological problems – which seemed promising at first, but no therapy I tried could cure the problem.

    Not until I filled out an internet test for ADD did I finally have an “aha!” moment: “this test might as well have been written for me,” I told myself. After that first one, all the online tests for ADD that I tried – some very different from each other – had the same result: “95% likelihood of ADD. See a psychiatric/medical professional for a proper diagnosis.”

    Until then, I had thought that ADD was a “condition” invented by therapists and drug companies for their own profit, or else greatly exaggerated for that reason. Now, I’m not so sure. I still think it’s diagnosed too often and that the children who receive these diagnoses probably take far too many drugs. And yet I’m more grateful than I can say to be able to put a diagnosis and name to my problem; it explains so many things about myself that have always mystified me. Do consider looking into it.

    • Ted Seeber

      My asperger’s was the same way, except for ONE big difference between Asperger’s and ADD/ADHD: The virtue of perseverance. Sure, it took me 4 tries to pass Applied Differential Equations- but quitting and taking a withedrawl/incomplete wasn’t an option for my brain; those F’s are badges of honor to me.

      The same trait saw me through recently starting a brand new Knights of Columbus Council in my parish, despite several more liberal parishioners telling me “Knights of Columbus doesn’t fit our culture” and “It’s just not Franciscan!” (I’m still having battles with women who claim that contraception and abortion are “just laws of men trying to oppress women”). But perseverance is what is getting me through- stubborn, open, banging my head against the wall of ignorance, usually my OWN ignorance. But I’ve got to admit it works.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        But contraception and abortion ARE simply laws of men trying to oppress women!

        I’d ask them why they support their oppressors.

  • Ted Seeber

    I too had a similar situation in my life. It took me TWO extra years to clear it up- though the last term before graduation, I was down to only 3 credit hours. I graduated with a not-so-stellar 2.5 GPA, and went on to 17 years working in the same industry I studied for.

    Yes, it cost me extra. But 17 years in, I’m making good money. So don’t get discouraged.

  • JanetEarth

    I can relate. My last week of college was so stressful trying to hand in late assignments and complete my thesis. I did it through the intercession of the Child Infant of Prague Whose intercession I will ask on your behalf. P.S. Ten years later – I teach in a Catholic high school and have earned student respect by helping students who struggle with due diligence. You’ll get through this so don’t be so hard on yourself. God uses everything for good.

  • enness

    I can’t possibly refuse this one, know why? I’ve been the stupid one and had to throw myself on the undeserved mercy of God when it looked quite hopeless. I may never know why He spared my ass, but I’m grateful He did.

  • silvia

    tell me,why you always give the full blessing to the one did and doing all the evil in your eyes.why there is not any punishment come to the devil,the sinner.why you do not stop the Crime?why you do not have mercy on the poor and the innocent?why you smile to the one worships the idols and angry to the one worships you?why lots of times,you seems do not look like the GOD in BIBLE?