When asked about my first semester at SUNY Geneseo I must look back and think about the things I have learned, done right or wrong and move forward. During my time in class and also during the semester I have thought about the quote from Song of Solomon “You can’t fly on off and leave a body”  and have slowly been applying it to my actions while at college. The Coronavirus pandemic for example has caused rules and abilities to change by the minute which can be harmful if you are not one to look back and reflect on your past mistakes in order to move forward. This self-reflection on my first semester will help me and my readers learn from mistakes I have made and hopefully will help everyone grow as a college student and individual. 

Song of Solomon had a plot that was in a very different era than the one we are in right now. It was hard for me to be able to relate myself to these characters as I am a white, educated female that is more privileged than many may be but I was able to connect some of my experiences such as the care and harm discussions we had during class to reflect off of Guitar. Before the semester started I had been hired on campus at Starbucks thinking it would not be any harder than the jobs I had back home, balancing school and sports…I was very wrong. I had thought that I could manage it all and that it would not be hard and that I, a freshman, would be able to handle my new lifestyle and responsibilities without a sweat. After a few weeks worth of waking up at six-thirty am for an opening shift and having to change clothes in the Union bathroom just to make it to my chemistry class on time I had realized that the one place I can earn money, the ability to buy things and keep myself afloat may be doing more harm to me than good on some days. Reflecting on this, if I could go back and offer myself advice it would be to wait a semester so I can understand how everything works and what is needed of me for my schoolwork because what may seem like the best option in the moment may not be the best choice in the long run. Song of Solomon also offered a very wise quote “You cant fly on off and leave a body” which I interpret that quote to fit my circumstances best to mean you can not throw yourself into a situation without tending to other responsibilities with the risk of throwing all care away. Not every choice here is about academics, even going to college here was a choice in its own. I have always known I have wanted to leave home for college but now that I am here I realize it is very difficult to be away from all of my friends and family so suddenly, I live so far that not even my family has come to visit me, even though I have made many friends this does not stop me from feeling so alone on some days which can make me think twice about ever leaving my hometown but this experience will help me grow as a person and be more independent. This class, with the help of wise words from Toni Morrison in Song of Solomon  I have learned to think about actions I take everyday and how one bad…or good choice can affect me in the future. 

The idea GLOBE has for all students to “reflect upon changes in learning and outlook over time” should be supported by all given that everyone most likely has a moment in their life they look back on and wish they can change what occurred. During this semester I have worked with many different groups and I realized that everyone may not take into account what I or other group mates may say, many sentences I have written have been erased by others and many ideas shut down, looking back this was a way for me to grow. A statement from the Reflective Writing piece was very helpful in order to get a deeper understanding of my previous statement “Reflection starts with thinking about something…being reflective involves being honest with yourself, your uncertainties, what you’re getting wrong-or right- and your writing needs to be transparent to others, so they can see it too” which can show that feedback from others, whether it be negative or positive can still help growth and may even change your way of learning. In the beginning of Beth’s class she made a point to say that she does not know what or how any of her students were taught back in high school, looking back that would have taken us all a step in the wrong direction if she had tried to re-teach an endless list of flaws all us individuals have. Beth taught us all many things, given feedback that can help fix a mistake and help us grow and flourish to be the best writers she knows we can all be. One thing that has always stuck out about her course has been the amazing and thorough feedback Beth has always given, it gives me a chance to make reparations to my work and grow from draft to draft. Reparations and growth was also an idea in Song of Solomon. I believe that in order to grow in not only a school environment but everyday life you must look back and reflect on mistakes and repair your actions when able and necessary. 

As a first year student giving advice I will do the best to my ability to give the most crucial, helpful tips possible. Coming into your first semester you will of course want all A’s and to please your professors with your ‘amazing’ work but unfortunately, chances are this will not happen for everyone…there will be harsh graders that tear your work to pieces pointing out every little mistake and possibly a professor that is looking for you to be an expert in the class you just started to take. The bottom line is you will not be able to please everyone and that is okay because every single one of these professors that you think is harsh will be helpful to you in the future to improve yourself, you must look back and think of all the criticism and you must grow and learn from it. You cannot please everyone so do not harm yourself in the process, if you receive a bad grade do not dwell on it, just learn from it and do better. Some people come to college for the education and some want more, there are so many fun things to do in college that you might not be able to do once you leave such as joining an amazing club or a sorority/fraternity. While it is very important to have good grades it is also important to maintain your mental health, in between doing your homework and studying it is a good thing to let loose for a few hours and have fun with your friends before returning to your studies. A piece of advice that can be applied to life in general is don’t look back and have any regrets on missed opportunities, nobody is an expert at life so you must live and learn while growing from your past.

Hopefully my words of wisdom have helped in some way and waived any stress a worried first year student may have and help someone grow as an individual and a student. The quote from Song of Solomon “You can’t fly on off and leave a body” should be a quote to remember, not just during your first semester but your whole life. You must learn and adapt from your past in order to move on and become a better student because if you do not, you will just make the same mistakes and never get better. The idea GLOBE has for all students should be supported and taken into consideration as your college experience continues. Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon should be a reminder that any choices you make, good or bad can affect you in the future. Remember that nobody is perfect, everyone makes mistakes but it is all about if you can look back, recognize what went wrong and if you learn from it, reflecting is the best thing to do for yourself.

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