Academic probation is a scary phrase, but the College of Liberal Arts has a program to show students that with the right focus and attitude there can be momentous payoffs.
Sherwin Calderon is a government sophomore from Houston who turned his academic career around with the help of the College of Liberal Arts’ UTurn program.
UTurn is a program established by COLA to help students on academic probation with their academic struggles. UTurn provides free tutoring and supplemental resources, an academic mentor, monthly group meetings and many additional resources to help students learn how to succeed in college.
Sherwin said participating in the program helped him realize that he’d been wasting his time and money and helped him relearn how to study and manage his time to adapt to a higher education environment. Sherwin heavily relied on the insight and advice of UTurn academic mentor Ben Burnett, whom Sherwin met with biweekly.
Sherwin’s work with the UTurn program had him off of academic probation and onto the dean’s list in just one semester.
Through this rapid academic turnaround, Sherwin has continued to use COLA resources to his advantage in his academic life, most notably the Student Success (CLASS) Center.
“I go to the CLASS Center almost every single day, and many times more than once a day,” Sherwin said. “I use it as a place to relax and refocus between classes. Knowing that Ben and my fellow UTurn members are present keeps me in check while studying.“
Sherwin said the only thing he would change about the UTurn program is increasing its resources so it’s able to cater to more students. He’d like to see the program able to expand so more people could receive the help that he did.
Sherwin chose to major in government because he sees it as a way to make an impact – the size of that impact doesn’t matter as much to him, as long as it’s a positive one. Majoring in government is something that will allow Sherwin to influence society no matter what career path he chooses.
Currently, Sherwin is interning on the Garry Brown Campaign for Travis County Commissioner in Precinct 2. The majority of his internship involves volunteering in the community through canvassing and phone banking, but he also has the unique opportunity to learn the ins and outs of running a campaign from campaign manager Jonathan Panzer. Sherwin gives a lot of credit to landing this extraordinary opportunity to his work with the UTurn program.
“I don’t think I could have been able to get an internship and be successful at it if I hadn’t relearned and refined my time management skills during my time in the UTurn program,” Sherwin said.
Sherwin is now using his experience to help others by working as a UTurn mentor. His experience with transitioning from high school to college and academic probation to the dean’s list makes him an invaluable resource to students seeking to turn their academic lives around.