This year I learned that not enjoying something was OK. I had always been hard on myself for not enjoying myself while studying certain things, or hanging out with certain people, but throughout the year I came to terms with this. I realized that everyone has a different idea of what they want to do in life, and what they value in it, so it’s ok to not enjoy the same things as others.
If I could travel back to the beginning of my freshman year, I would tell myself the following:
1.) Turn this blog post in on time.
2.) Do not take 8 a.m. classes 4 times a week.
3.) Use my time wisely.
4.) Put first things first.
5.) Study everyday instead of cramming the week before an exam.
6.) Talk to more people.
7.) Meet with my academic advisor more often.
8.) Go to ALL of my study group sessions for Chem.
9.) Sleep earlier.
10.) Listen more in lectures.
There were a lot of challenges especially because everything is so much harder to manage since every thing was so time consuming. It did not help that new things would come up unexpectedly that would completely mess up my agenda for the day.
The way I learned to change my ways is by through discipline and organization. I began to list all of my homework on my whiteboard that is next to my door, and I would erase everything that I would accomplish, and it helped me miss less of the homework that were due. I am still growing as a person and student here in the University of Michigan, and I am open to continue learning how to beat the system!
When I first came to college, I was scared, intimidated and had no idea what to expect. The only thing that I was sure of was what I wanted to be when I graduate. I had my mind set on one major and planned my path after graduation. I thought that changing what you wanted to be meant that you were not sure of how you want your life to turn out and that it was an indication that someone is an undetermined person. I was sure that I will not be that kind of person and that I was going to change my mind what so ever. Little did I know that college was all about exploring who you are as a person and what you like. During the first semester, I still held onto the major that I was thinking about from the beginning tightly. I saw people change their intended majors all over campus and HSSP and thought that I would never do that. I was scared to change my mind. I was scared from being unsure. It took me the whole first semester and the beginning of the second to realize that keeping an open mind and exploring other areas is one of the most important things in college. I slowly started to be a little loose on my major and started to explore and research other areas that I was interested in. I realized that the world is a big place and it has many different aspects that are interesting and are worth exploring. So, if I could go back to the beginning of my freshman year, I would tell myself that it is okay to keep an open mind in the beginning of college and to be unsure because that is how I will find what I am truly interested in and not just any major that does not fit me well.
If there was one thing that I could go back in time to tell myself at the beginning of freshman year it would, “relax.” You are not going to go all year without doing bad on an exam or class. You will miss an assignment. You will make A LOT of mistake this year. It is important to relax and handle life one problem at a time and learn from your mistakes. Freshman year will not go exactly as planned, and that is fine. College is not the same thing as high school and things will be harder than they were in high school, but you can’t be hard on yourself every time you are not happy with a grade. Also, go out and have fun! School is important but so is your mental health! This year taught me a lot of lesson that I will definitely keep with myself for the rest of undergrad and probably the rest of my life.
Luckily due to some bad outcomes this semester, this blog post is my last assignment! Yes! Let’s celebrate! Just kidding. In reflection of this semester there are some things I wish I knew initially. In the beginning of the semester people throw a million tips and pointers for the year that sometimes don’t stick because they can all be overwhelming at one time. This semester out of the three here so far here at the university has kicked my you know what the most. It has me like this internally:
If I could travel back in time I would tell myself to GO TO OFFICE HOURS. I was always intimidated until I realized how laid back most of them are, especially if they are with your GSI in the SLC. I ask the simplest questions and they ended up walking through the entire question or worked to find the solutions. If I would have gone first semester maybe I would have learned and did better, but hey we live and learn. I’m ready to tackle sophomore year now…
It’s been good HSSP.
Going into college, I expected to love every aspect of this new experience. I had always been told by my parents how college was the best time of their lives, but after spending a week here, I couldn’t see how this could be possible. I had met a lot of new people and made several friends, yet I felt that I didn’t belong here. I couldn’t stop thinking about my family I had left behind- my mother, my sister, my three dogs, and my nephew. I felt as if I was abandoning my family solely for my personal gain, despite knowing that they were happy I was getting an education. Every soccer ball I kicked, every bite of dining hall food I took, every step I took on campus made me feel guilty for not being there for my family.
I went home the second weekend and expected to feel comfort at my house, yet I felt the opposite. For some reason, I felt as though I belonged back at college. Torn asunder, split between two worlds, I was in a rather poor emotional state. I talked with my out-of-state roommate about how he felt about being so far from home, and he gave me some words that resonated. I was in college for my family at home, and it was also possible to have family here. I thought about how I was being a role model for my nephew, and how I would be able to provide for my family members in the future. I also came to accept that I couldn’t stay at home forever, but took comfort in the fact that home was always a part of me. I know that for many, college can cause an internal upheaval, but I want everyone to know that they belong, and that even though you may not be with your family, your family will always be with you.
Now that I am done with freshman year of college I can look back and reflect of the time that went by oh so quickly. If I could go back and tell myself something at the beginning of freshman year it would be this: Don’t limit yourself. The beauty of this idea is it covers so many ideas. In terms of academics, don’t limit yourself to just the classes I need to take to get the degree I want. Take other classes for fun. Take hard classes to challenge yourself. Take obscure classes to expand your thoughts. The possibilities are endless and who knows, maybe it will pay off and you might find your calling. In terms of social life, don’t limit yourself to the people in your hall. Yes, make friends with those people and hang out with them but there are 50,000 other kids at Michigan: go meet them. Go to sporting events all the time, go to shows, go to parties etc. College lasts 4 years and some people meet their life long partners and best friends in college. It is extremely important to meet people and make connections. I’m reminded of a quote that I often think of in situations like this: “Its not about the grades you make, its about the hands you shake.” It seems funny and stupid because of course grades matter, and this is true. But that quote is extremely true to its meaning in that when you have connections to build upon it makes it a lot easier to get internships, jobs, etc down the road. In terms of the school itself, don’t limit yourself to just your living area. Go out and see the campus. Go out and see Ann Arbor. Go to the arb, go to the stadiums when there isn’t a game going on, go to the restaurants way down in the heart of AA. Go experience the world around you and make the most of the 4 years you have here. Looking back at my freshman year, I can remember welcome week like it was yesterday. That is a scary thought. You blink a second time and sophomore year is over. Turn your head once and you’re down with college. These 4 years are way too short to not live them to the fullest value. Join as many clubs as you can, most of them don’t require attendance so join them and then see if you like them or not. Do NOT spend your free time watching movies or TV shows all day, finish your work, and go out and see what there is to see. Of course there is going to be times where you watch tv thats fine, but do it with a friend or make sure you’re not missing something else you could be doing. Those movies aren’t going anywhere but the time at college is. Make sure you have your priorities straight. Despite this letter to myself seeming regretful, it is actually mostly experience speaking. I didn’t watch many movies, I did go to a lot of sporting events, I did go out and meet new people. I am happy I did so too because I can look back and thank myself for the memories I made and the friends I made in that time. I have 3 more years to expand on those and I plan to take full advantage of that time. I am thankful for all of the support I received freshman year from hall-mates, friends, family, etc. I look forward to next year.
Reflect upon a challenge that you encountered this academic year. How, if at all, did you overcome it and grow from it?
If there’s one thing that college has taught me, it’s that failure isn’t something that should never happen, but rather, it’s an opportunity to grow. Certainly, this notion is incredibly idealistic and makes the best of a situation, but I’ve found that trying to understand why I screwed up rather than get negative after the ordeal is a much more constructive way to ensure that it never happens again. For example, there was one instance where I had trouble managing my work and I was unable to submit my assignment at the appointed time, resulting in a rather severe penalty towards my grade.
Following the event, I was consumed with negative feelings of “how could this happen, why didn’t I do better, etc…” However, over time, I realized that these emotions did nothing to help my situation; they just exacerbated a cycle of inaction and self-pity that would only make my worth ethic even worse. And so I learned to not focus on those negatives, to stop comparing myself to others and thinking they’d done so well, why can’t I be like them, and focusing more on the fact that here’s why I screwed up, let’s think of how to make sure this doesn’t happen next time.
So in the end, college has brought its fair share of challenges and taught me that not only is failure a natural course in life, but it’s something we should use to grow from. And in my opinion, letting failure consume and dictate your life, is perhaps the greatest way you can perpetuate it.
This year was challenging in many ways. There were of course all the usual freshman struggles like adjusting to dorm life and dealing with the heavier course load of college, but looking back I don’t feel like those were the biggest challenges of this past year. For me, it was definitely the process of moving my career away from medicine and healthcare that I struggled with the most. I came here in September fairly certain that I would become a doctor someday. I don’t remember when that changed exactly, but it was pretty early on. After that though, I thought that I would still stay within the realm of health by pursuing public health, something I was lucky enough to get some first-hand experience in through a research position at SPH. I really enjoyed working there this year, and I thought that maybe this is what I could make my career focus. I felt really good about this for a little while, and stuck with it for a while even though I was having a hard time actually envisioning a career in this for myself. Then second semester I got a job working at a local childcare center, and that shifted my mindset even more. I remembered how much I loved working with kids – how that’s where my real passion lies. As I thought more and more about this, I realized that the best path for me would actually be teaching. This was not easy for me to accept, and even harder for me to admit to other people. I felt really conflicted about leaving the health sciences completely, especially since I really enjoyed my HSSP experience, academic and otherwise. I loved being around people passionate about careers in health. I’ve found it really inspiring, so it was hard for me to admit to myself that I didn’t have that same passion for this field. I’m so thankful for being challenged in this way though. I have since embraced my interest in education, and I haven’t felt happier about any other decision since coming to college. I think I’ve found my fit. It might have been an unexpected road to education, but I’m so excited to be here now.
I had this warped vision of what college would be like: gothic archways, eccentric professors, anti-establishment and late night philosophical discussions. It was not like that at all. More comparatively, it was reminiscent of middle-school, except you couldn’t go into a test and get an A (let alone pass) without studying beforehand. The only “independence” I gained from living 700 of miles away from my parents was terrible food and an accumulation of laundry. Here is what changed for me in college:
- I am not conceited about my intelligence anymore (in fact, I can’t even remember what feeling “smart” was like)
- Buy 40 pairs of socks and 60 underwear (it’s what pretty much determines whether you do laundry or not)
- When people tell you “it doesn’t matter where you go for undergrad.,” believe them
- You’ll go from reading Shakespeare in your English class to Graphic novels
Throughout my livings in college, I’ve learned it doubt all sources of information without proper confirmation (especially when it comes to politics from liberals and conservatives alike), to become much more appreciative of my family and that studying while lying on your bed for over 24 hours hurts your back (don’t do it!). Next semester, I plan to take it easier. Hopefully, I’ll have enough time to allocate the proper focus for each class. I gained meaningful friendships—but with 24,000 undergrads, I want to branch my friends from more than the people I live with.
Goodbye university (at least for four months).