UNCG Campus Weekly

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Great grades take lots more than good luck – but ‘it doesn’t hurt’

Close-up photo of apple placed in Minerva Statue's handThe first big biology test was a bit of a shock. They’d known this wasn’t like high school, where they’d all made excellent grades. But still …

Hadn’t they left their good luck offerings at the Minerva statue to start the year?

A dozen students in the Science & Medical Careers learning community at Grogan RC took part in the growing campus tradition at the statue in August. Campus Weekly wanted to know how things were going so far.

Their hardest classes? Biology, several say. Chemistry others say. One says psychology, since the other classes take so much study time. Other hard ones are intro to computer science. Spanish. Plus Russian folklore.

There’s lots of good things about UNCG, they explain.

Alyse Schmidt likes that everybody at UNCG is supportive. “It’s not survival of the fittest.” Regardless of students’ characteristics, “you never feel out of place.” She entered her freshman year as a pre-med chemistry major, but is now drawn toward sociology.

Ashlyn Fisher says, “It’s peaceful and there’s a lot of places to study.” Jajiba Biswas agrees. “It’s my new home. It’s so pretty.” When she goes home, she misses her new brothers and sisters at Grogan. “My family is here.”

Grogan Residential College now has 240 students in various learning communities – the number has grown to 1,000 students campus-wide.

Danielle Hill likes how easy it is to get involved at UNCG – or to get help. A couple mention being a part of UNCG traditions and heritage. Joseph Diodato, whose calling is computer science, likes how you’re seen for more than just your GPA or some other measurement or stat. “UNCG does great at recognizing potential.”

It seems the learning community’s students came out of the most recent biology test feeling more successful than after the first. Travis Martin, who’d planned to be a dentist but might become a principal, says he placed an apple there before the recent big test. “It was helpful, I think.”

Biswas went back before a big chemistry test and says she’ll go again before finals. “It doesn’t hurt, so why not?” She’s a biology major and wants to have her own dentistry practice.

Her wish back on that first day of classes? “To make the Dean’s List.”

Recently, their LC leader and biology lecturer Meg Horton said, “These students did more than wish for good grades – they have worked for them.” After the time of the first exam, grades have soared. “I am really proud of their determination and resiliency.”

Katherine Nicholson, a pre-veterinary freshman, isn’t sure leaving an offering at the Minerva statue really brings good luck. Going with her new friends and leaving an apple on that first day of classes was simply her way of hoping for a really good semester. “To know I started out with the best hopes and aspirations.”

In late August, they’d told each other their wishes and goals. They’d left their apples and coins behind. And taken resolve – as individuals and as part of a learning community – back to Grogan with them.

Here’s to their continued success.

See Part 1 and Part 2 in this 3-part series.

Have you left an offering at the Minerva statue – or know someone who has? Perhaps you have a story to share? Send us a note.

By Mike Harris
Photo by David Wilson, Sept. 18, 2013 – the evidence of more students leaving apples.