Thank you Mario, but our Princess is in another castle

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Wrong degree plan and misinformation gives student extra year of school.


Viewpoint by Sasha D. Robinson

Have you ever played the original Super Mario Brothers on the Nintendo Entertainment System? When you fight “Bowser in World 1-4 and defeat him, you believe that you have beaten the game.

In actuality you did not because Toadstool is waiting for you with the message, “Thank you Mario, but our princess is in another Castle.”

Growing up in the ’80’s and playing this game, we did not have the internet and not many people knew about the warp zones and we did not know how many levels there were to the game.

This became very frustrating because the prize was not where we believed it would be.

This is exactly how I felt when I got the wrong information from one of the advisers about my graduation date.

In June, I spoke to an adviser in Moody Learning Center to discuss going to summer school.

The adviser looked over my transcripts and told me I had two more classes to take before I graduate from this college.

To my surprise, I felt a huge relief of years finally coming to an end.

I went on my Facebook page and posted about graduating this fall.

My family and friends congratulated me on a long journey and the next phase of my life.

I updated my résumé and put graduated from San Antonio College with an Associate of Arts in journalism in fall 2017.

I talked to photographers Brianna Rodrigue of The Ranger and long-time friend Jason Gaines about graduation photos.

I decided to get a Mega Man Tattoo with an inscription that would either say “JOJ” the initials of my deceased best friend (Jibri Omari Jones), “Continued Dedication” or “Man of Action.”

The biggest thing I was going to do was have two parties. The first party would be the weekend of my last final in December.

It would be a catered affair with friends and family invited to celebrate the end of a journey.

The second party would be after commencement in May and I planned on partying like the Frat boys in the movie “Revenge of the Nerds.”

I applied for graduation when with Marianne Odom, journalism-photography program coordinator, in October and that’s when my graduation bubble burst.

Odom told me I needed to take a humanities class to complete my degree from this college.

The anger, embarrassment and shock started to fester and Odom saw it on my face.

Just like Super Mario Brothers, I ran across the bridge, knocked “Bowser” into the lava and seeing the finish line was a lie.

The adviser I spoke with in June gave me the wrong information; I could have taken the humanities class this semester and still graduated.

Instead, I have to wait to graduate in the spring.

This would be the second time someone in the advising office gave me the wrong information about my degree plan.

The first time was in fall 2012 and I talked to an adviser at Lakeview about getting into radio and TV for sports journalism.

The adviser told me I would be able to get my degree in broadcast media by following the journalism degree plan and did not mention the Radio-Television Broadcasting program.

Fast forward to July 12, 2016, I received an email alert that COMM 2332, Radio/Television News, was going to be dropped.

I went to the journalism program and talked to academic unit assistant Mandy Derfler about the email.

Derfler told me the class that I was referring to was in a different department and the journalism department is separate from the radio and TV broadcasting program.

She looked at the classes I had completed and told me if I chose to stay on this degree plan, I can transfer to a four-year school and switch my degree plan.

After weighing my options and the classes I would need to graduate, I decided to stay in the journalism program.

I do not know if there is a miscommunication, lack of education or if someone is purposely giving me the wrong information, but I would have graduated from this college a couple of years ago.

Everyone from the advisers in each department to the advisers in the advising office need to be on the same page when it comes to a student’s future.

Students should be able to go to their advisers and get the best scenario to graduate.

Otherwise, another student will think they have reached the finish line, but Toad will be waiting with the message, “Thank you, Mario, but our Princess is in another castle.”



  1. A faculty member on

    You should ALWAYS talk to your ACADEMIC advisor—-those that are in the departments of your major. I know the frustration you feel and I have had to reconfigure degree plans for students who were given inappropriate or inaccurate advising at other campuses or by ‘advisors’.
    In the end, your primary directives guiding you should be the degree plan at the university you want to transfer to.

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