On Wednesday, November 28th, 2001, I was caught in possession of marijuana in my dorm room by a High Point University campus security guard as well as a member of the High Point Police Department. The situation occurred at a little after 8:00 pm. I was in the room with my girlfriend, who had not been smoking with me and had actually shown up only minutes before the knock on the door came. This is a chapter of my life that I will not soon forget, and I hope after presenting this story I can affect the decisions of others.
After security and the police came in, they asked a few questions. At first I denied it, but after a few minutes I realized my situation was futile. I showed them what amounted to less than an eighth of an ounce of shwag, rolling papers, and a homemade bong. They then proceeded to search my room and discovered nothing else. Thankfully, the cop said he was impressed with my honesty and saw no reason to press criminal charges. Never in my life had I been so terrified to the point of nearly vomiting.
The next morning, I made an appointment with the Dean of Students, Gart Evans. My appointment was at 3:30 pm, which meant I had a lot of work to do before then. I consider myself to be pretty humble when it comes to my skills and talents, though sometimes I act arrogant to try and hide my true feelings. But, my point is, I am a political animal. The first meeting of my day was with Dr. Schneid, my history professor, who advised me to “throw yourself on the mercy of the court.” I then spoke to Dr. Stockton, High Point University’s Bishop in Residence. Having never met him, I was impressed on how very helpful he was in understanding the religious perspective of my situation.
After my meeting with the Bishop, I went and saw Dr. Goedeke, whom I had known from the Summer Advantage program. I consider him to be a great friend and confidante, and it also did not hurt that he was an Assistant Dean. He helped me out with what I was going to say to Dean Evans and also consoled me on what to do regarding other matters, such as my parents. Dr. Goedeke also spoke to a few key people, including Dean Evans, on my behalf.
At 3:30 I met with Dean Evans, feeling fully prepared for whatever was to come. After waiting until 3:50 to see the Dean, I finally stepped into his office. I knew Gart loves to act really mean at times, but I also knew that he was a really nice guy. Halfway through the meeting, we realized he was born about fifteen minutes from where I grew up. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to try to connect with him, become friends, and hopefully lessen my punishment.
It did not work. Dean Evans dispatched my punishment without hesitation. As I later discovered, the punishment had been decided before I had even walked in the door. The punishment is as follows:
I must be moved out of my residence at Finch Hall by 5:00 pm, Monday, December 3rd, 2001. I am allowed to return in the next semester.
I must complete twenty-five hours of community service by February 15th, 2001.
I must see a drug counselor.
I am on disciplinary probation for the remainder of the year. This means if I get cited for anything after this, I will be suspended.
I was devastated. Dean Evans informed me that I could appeal the decision to the President of the University. After leaving Dean Evans office I am sort of unclear on where I went, but I have been told that I went to see my girlfriend. That entire night is extremely blurry, in fact. I did not stop moving. Many friends came by my room and said they had heard what happened and to “pay their respects,” so-to-speak. This is, “The Point of Embarrassment,” as I like to call it. That night was the point where my punishment finally set in. Somehow, at about midnight that night, an incredible peace was bestowed upon me by God and I fell asleep.
I awoke the next day to realize that night I had received a vision from God, who told me She wished She did not have to do what She did, but that She needed to get Her point across. That was hard for me to understand at first. However, after God explained it, I understood why She did what She did. The great news is that we are back on good terms.
The next day I called the President of the University. His office informed me that he was booked for the day. Later in the day I received a call to come to his office after my 1:00 class. I went and talked to Dr. Goedeke at about 12:30, who helped me prepare to talk to the President at 2:00. We both knew that my situation was futile and that the President would never repeal the Dean’s decision.
President Martinson must have cleared his appointment book, because I spoke with him for about a half hour on a variety of matters, from my drug use to my life story to my religious beliefs. I had two reasons for walking into his office that day. One was to make him know who I was; and he now knows, and I’m sure he will not soon forget me. The second was in relation to my girlfriend. Since she was in the room when I was caught, she was written up along with me. Dr. Martinson advised me to go back to Dean Evans “with hat-in-hand” and basically plead for my girlfriend to be let off the hook.
At about 3:00, I stepped into Dean Evans’ office. Nearly in tears, I told him that a person must take responsibility for his/her actions and that I had in full; my girlfriend was innocent. The Dean said, “Mr. Fritz, you have given me no reason to distrust you. So I am going to have a meeting with your girlfriend, ask her some questions, and that should be it.” I thanked him, and he told me if I needed any space to store my things, he would be more than willing to lend some of his office space to me. I now consider him to be one of the most fair, honest, and kind individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting.
Sadly, my problems did not stop there. My girlfriend and I had fought the entire weekend, and on Saturday night she told her parents what had happened. They informed her that they wanted her to transfer. I found my girlfriend outside her dorm crying and as soon as she told me what had happened I literally hit the ground. The following three hours were some of the darkest of my life. I left my girlfriend and ran away from everyone, including myself. For months I have had a place where I go to think at night when I am troubled. I went to that placed and had the most intense argument with God I have ever had. I was so angry I could not think of anything but revenge for the pain that She had caused in my life. I cursed Her and told her I never wanted to speak to Her again because I could not be friends with anyone willing to destroy something good, i.e. my relationship with Nicole.
After this, I went back to my room and listened to Pink Floyd’s The Wall. After a few minutes, my suite-mate Jackson came in. He sat there with me in virtual silence except for the music as I built my own wall around myself. I hated the world and I hated my life. I even considered suicide. Then Jackson wrote me a small note. One line will stick out in my mind forever. He wrote, “Don’t be pissed. There’s too much beauty in the world. You taught me that.” Those three sentences brought me back to reality and I am forever in his debt for saving me from myself.
Later that night I saw Nicole’s mother online and I sent her an Instant Message. She gave me a lot of flack and I finally said, “Why don’t you read something for me?” I sent her a rough copy of this essay and she was blown away. I convinced her to not take Nicole away. A few hours later I got to bed and saw God again. She told me she felt bad and that She did not mean for me to get hurt, and She saw how happy I am with Nicole and wanted us to stay together. God and I are now back on speaking terms.
Marijuana destroyed my entire life. This story is not about whether or not weed is right or wrong, because I think it’s a good drug. It’s also not about whether it should be legal, because I think it should be. It’s about how it is illegal, and how it can rip a person’s life into a million pieces and drive him/her to the point where they can’t take it anymore. I hope my story will touch lives and prevent people form experiencing the pain that I have experienced. President Martinson told me, “You now have a lot of power. You can touch lives, now. And many years from now you will look back and ask yourself if you could’ve done something to prevent a bad situation. Make good decisions now, help others, and make sure when you look back on your life you remember the good you did, both for yourself and others.” I hope this story will touch people and keep them safe from harm.
This story can be taken in so many ways. I was really lucky. From what I have heard, most people would have been suspended immediately. I talked to the Housing Director, and he said that no one could believe that I appealed the Dean’s decision. When I asked him why, he said, “Well…no one does that. I couldn’t believe it.” The Housing Director also said he would try to keep me in the same room am I was in before I was removed. Many people will read this story and think, “Wow. He got off, what a lucky guy.” Others will read it and say, “That was stupid; I can do this and not get caught.” The truth of the matter is that both statements are true. I was stupid and I was really lucky. I urge everyone who is a user of drugs to stop using. There are better things to do with your time and it is not worth the risk. This situation I have placed myself in has been like a giant ulcer that I have been concentrating on for almost a week. If this is the “good” punishment, I most definitely do not want to see the bad.
Normally, I never put quotes in papers. I have never liked using other people’s material unless absolutely necessary. However, this quote from American Beauty sums up my thoughts on this situation, and hopefully it will express how I feel. It was also the thing Jackson referred to the night my world came crashing down around me.
“I suppose I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me. But it’s hard to stay angry when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once and it’s too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst and then I remember to relax and stop trying to hold on to it – and then if flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry. You will someday…”
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