This year I learned that you should always follow your dreams. I had to over come what I thought my parents wanted for me. I overcam my fear of following my heart through prayer. I want to tell other hsspers to follow their first mind. To live for today and not tomorrow nor others.
Everything is about to change. Everything you wanted for your future is actually not what you want. Your mind is going to change so many times, so buckle down during those existential crises (there will be many). Be more present in all of your relationships or people will mistake you being busy for you ignoring them. DO NOT get so caught up in trying to control everything because it will not work. Never underestimate the power of a really good soft tissue when you’re sick because those thin cheap ones you bought will not suffice. Call mom more often than you originally plan to, she needs to know you’re doing okay. Make sure you save every picture you take of Tyson when you’re home because you will miss that little pup more than you planned to. Pay attention to those who pay attention to you, they’re worthy of your time. On that note, quit putting so much energy into those who don’t pay attention to you. No matter how hard you try you just won’t be it for them (that is okay). Most of all, be aware of all the greatness around you and look for ways to utilize it. You’ll survive your first year, just don’t forget to pray!
Dear Past Jacob,
College is better than anything you could ever imagine. The friends you will make here are going to be some of the most incredible people you have ever met. They are going to be so supportive in whatever you plan on doing. Your roommate is going to end up being like a brother to you. You still are going to want to be a doctor, but you are also going to want to be a pharmacist, professor, neuromonitorist, social worker and basically any other health profession. Maybe one year from now Jacob will have more answers. It’s his problem anyways. There are going to be hard times here, but they are no different than the hard times you had back home. The 300 person lectures that you say “aren’t that bad” are that bad. Your professor won’t know you at all, regardless of how often you go to their office hours. The professors that do make the time to get to know you are going to be more mentor than lecturer. You’re going to want to join every club and do everything, but just know that it’s ok to drop out of some clubs. Don’t sign up to be a fencer. You’ll wind up going to two practices and then never touching it again. When you are deciding between an 8 am class and a 6 pm class, suck it up and take the 8 am because you’re going to hate being in class until it’s actually dark outside. You’re going to have so much fun here. You’re going to learn so much here. You’re going to grow so much here. Enjoy it all and take pictures because it’s going to fly by.
If I could go back to the beginning of the semester I would tell myself that it is in no way going to be easy like high school. I would tell myself to not be cocky, I may even tell myself to not be confident – because that is what messed me up. I did not realize that studying the night before the exam was not going to cut it because even studying a week before the exam will not cut it. I would tell myself that I should sit down everyday for at least an hour and REVIEW what I was taught. Both semesters of my first year I went in thinking “wow this is super easy” which was a terrible, horrible, disastrous misconception. All of the sudden the semester would grab ahold of me and I would already be too far in my relaxed state of mind to catch back up. I ruined my GPA this year, I need to own that. It was not because I lived my life too socially or went out all the time or binge watched shows on netflix. It was because I was cocky. I thought that I did not need to put as much in, but I did. Next year I will be better, but now I have to live with the scar on my transcript called my freshman year.
If I could travel back to the beginning of my freshman year, I would tell myself that college is a lot harder than high school but it is not impossible. I would tell myself that I am a lot more capable than I thought if I push myself. I would also tell myself to take everyone’s advice with a little grain of salt. Only you know what is good for you. It’s nice to hear from other people’s perspectives but that’s the thing, it is their perspective and not yours. Everyone in the beginning of this year told me it would be ridiculously hard to take CHEM 210/211 with BIO 172 in my first semester. They were right but it was a much needed reality check to see what I can actually do if I went in to U of M with the goal of challenging myself.
I would also tell myself that things will work out. The stress is terrible throughout school but things have a nifty little way of working out. Stress about what you can control. Don’t stress about things you can’t. You’ll feel a lot better and stay a lot healthier.
The biggest challenge that I encountered this academic year was learning to accept failure. I’m sure many of us have heard this before, but in high school I always did well. Thus, I expected to continue doing the same for the most part, but there were several times this year when I experienced personal failure when I didn’t meet my own set goals for grades. At first, I treated this occurrence as something that was not happening because I was in a state of denial but after a couple more grades didn’t meet my expectations I knew I couldn’t ignore that I wasn’t doing well. Knowing that my grades weren’t doing the best, I started to question if I was right for this school, which made me feel like crap. I didn’t love going to class early in the semester but during this disappointing time for me, I totally hated going to class because the idea of going to class would just make me think of failing to meet my expectations. Eventually though, I learned to accept that I’m not perfect and that what I do is enough. Learning from my failures must now be my strategy so that I can follow through with the long term goals I’ve set.
I personally was helped by my family and friends to help get to that point of acceptance of failure. Anyone ever help you reach that point of acceptance of a problem?
If I could travel back to the beginning of this year and tell myself one thing, it would simply be to relax a little more. I came into college so sure that it would be insanely difficult and that I’d have to put all my focus into my classes and that my grades were everything. While I still definitely believe that college is hard and grades are important, I now know that it’s not worth it to give up other things I love to make more time for school. I would tell myself to join things I truly enjoy and trust that it’ll work out in the end, and that it’s not the end of the world if I do badly on an exam or two. I would also tell myself to try to focus on the actual learning more than I did this year, rather than just the grade I received. Finally, I would tell myself to enjoy every day I get to spend here, because time really does fly when you’re having fun.
If I could talk to my new freshman self, I would tell myself to stress less about the future and live more “in the moment”. I feel like I spent so much time worrying about my next orgo exam or planning my life schedule that I enjoyed myself less and did not realize what great times I was having. While I think it is important to plan ahead and be responsible, I would want to tell myself to remember that it will all work out in the end. Not everything is in my control, so I should just focus on doing what I can to be successful and relax. I would tell myself to stay open minded and not stick to a single plan, but to take life day by day. Also, I would also give myself a planner because sometimes I would be unorganized and completely forget assignments because I had nothing to remind me. I would miss points on little assignments and grades that I could control because of my lack of organization. Lastly, I would tell myself to embrace all of the new experiences I would have and people I would meet. I met people from all different backgrounds and tried things I had never thought of. I wish I could tell myself to do this even more, because at times I got caught up in school work and locked myself in the CLC instead of exploring other aspects of the university. Overall, it was an amazing year, and I don’t think I could have prepared my first semester freshman self for all I would experience with a few wise words. Only by going through the year and making mistakes could I have learned what I have.
If I could go back to the beginning of the year, I’d tell myself that everything will work out in the end, but I’d also give myself some tips. I would prioritize my time better when studying for exams, and study for shorter periods of time and take more breaks. I learned the hard way that things stick better in my head when I study in small chunks than when I try to cram for six straight hours before a test. I would also devote more time to classes I assumed would be easy. I have received some poor grades in classes that I should have done better in because I did not devote enough time to them. But most of all, I’d tell myself to have more fun and do more things that weren’t related to class. I ended up burning myself out during first semester (which I also think is why I ended up with mono), and my grades do not reflect the effort that I put into my classes. Wearing myself out wasn’t worth it. Next semester, now that I have a better idea of how to prepare for my classes, I’m going to manage my time better, and hopefully I will be more satisfied with the results I produce in the future.
If I could go back to the beginning of the year and tell myself something, I would tell myself:
1st. Just don’t stress out so much! It won’t end up helping your doomed Gen-Chem grade, and only served to give you stress breakouts and made you even less productive!
2nd. Oh gosh procrastination… It’s just not good for anything. You really have to finish that project sometime not the night before, and although it may seem nice when you’re procrastinating and watching Netflix, cramming all the work into the night before just isn’t going to work out well.
3rd. Join more extra curricular activities! You focused a lot on your academics this year and I’m proud of you, but it would have been nice to do more in the realm of activities and social events! Maybe that’ll be a good goal for next year!
4th. Lastly, don’t eat that 10th mojo cookie, just don’t… I know I know, they’re just so melty and gooey and irresistible, but your body will seriously thank you… That Freshman 15 is going to hit hard even without you even realizing, so better just to cut down on the stress eating from the get go!
But in all honesty, I had a great freshman year that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I loved being a part of the HSSP community, and made some great friends and connections in my year here. I hope that my entire undergrad experience can be just as positive!