Improvement is success

The end of the semester has finally come. Surprisingly, I’m managing to pass all of my classes, with room to spare. I feel like normally, most students feel pretty stressed at the end of the semester, especially with finals coming up. Still, I’ve been feeling motivated and excited to finish classes. I was worried that I might be overwhelmed with all my final projects and exams, but I’ve managed to effectively space out my time with when and where I should do my work, and communication with other members of group projects has been good, too. Last semester I had group members who never responded or showed up to group meetings, so the group had to do their work as well. Equal participation in group projects has also been an issue for me in the past, not only with other people not pulling their weight but also with me trying to take the lead too much. I think (and hope) that I have been able to let other members shine in our projects as well as being actively involved.

Looking back on this semester, I notice what strategies I have used well and what I can avoid in the future. One tip mentioned to me is to use a calendar and plan out my time. Previously, I had an agenda in which I marked all the work I needed to do. This method sort of worked but definitely needed to be refined. I didn’t consistently look at it and tended to forget to put things in it. To fix this, I got a daily planner. It allowed me to write (down to the minute) where and when I had to do homework, class, or a group meeting. I also bought a whiteboard to put down any extensive goals and smaller steps that needed to be taken in order to reach them. Finally, I set aside time on the weekends to fill out the planner and whiteboard and go over what needed to be done for the week. Although I didn’t stick to this schedule every week, the expectation allowed me to complete it pretty often. I also learned that I could not work in my dorm, so I made sure I went to other places to do my work. Usually these work sessions would be after a class or work, so I would already be out of my dorm and didn’t need the motivation to get up and leave. After putting all these tips and tricks into practice, I can conclude that the greatest help came from seeing a therapist. Even with all these strategies, I would not be able to put them into action without confidence to do well. I struggled with self-motivation for a long time, so talking to someone about my issues cleared my head and allowed me to think about what was essential.

As for the future. I am proud of how far I have come this semester and am looking forward to continuing my success next semester. I am repeating previously failed courses in the coming semester, so this time, I want not just to do well but prosper. I will put all my fruitful strategies into place and prepare ahead of time. I have my old notes from these classes and intend to look over and understand them before I even step into class. In conclusion, these blog posts have allowed me to properly reflect on my awful freshman year and refine how I feel about moving forward. I am excited for the new year and the opportunity to flourish.

Moving Forward This Semester

Referring to my first blog, my freshman year experience was not one to be envied. The first few weeks really reflected my struggle to adjust to the new environment and style of living. The middle chunk of the semester was (surprise, surprise) also bad. I completely stopped going to my classes and started trailing behind on work. This feeling of falling off the boat in the middle of the semester is not a new one. Even in middle and high school, I’ve always felt a loss of motivation and participation in school as winter approaches. Another professor of mine felt the same way. She had mentioned that the end of the semester always seems to be denser and more work-heavy than the beginning, which is true considering most students are prepping for exams and keeping up with their regular work. So, when I noticed the signs of slowing down last year, I figured it would turn out the same as it always had: turning in homework a little late, being slightly behind on knowledge for tests, but eventually picking up pace and being on track for the rest of the year. This, however, was not the case; I neglected to realize that college professors are not so forgiving as high school teachers when it comes to due dates, especially if you don’t email them or try to communicate with them in any way. (Looking back on this I realize how dumb an assumption it was.) It led to a significant drop in my grades and the overall result of failing nearly every class, (except for a lab that I just barely managed to pass).

Then again, this semester, the ever-growing stagnation of academics began to rear its ugly horns. Despite the worry one might experience, knowing the previous outcome of these circumstances, I have not fallen completely behind to the point of no return. With a lot of work and external motivators, I continue to pass all my courses, and I think I will keep this up until the end of the semester! 😊 If I do manage to do well this semester; I will no longer be on academic probation, which is one less thing to worry about for the upcoming spring semester. Also, I have concluded that seasonal depression may play a factor in why many people begin to feel this way every year.

Another issue that I have that I’ve been able to single out is loneliness. Although it seems obvious that being alone is sad, I feel as though many people don’t understand the effects of true loneliness, especially long-term. Chronic loneliness is super damaging to one’s mental health. You begin to feel like no one wants to be around you, which makes working with other people difficult. Being alone isn’t all bad, though; it’s an opportunity to become more confident in yourself and allows you to be comfortable doing things on your own. I think being alone has lessened my anxiety when going to different places because I know I have no one to rely on and must do things myself; therefore I am more confident in my own decisions.

This class is the one where I am the most behind (And to Prof. Arena, I am sorry for that.), and turning in this assignment is one step towards catching up. Besides motivation, I also struggle to be inspired enough to develop a good story to tell, hence why writing this took so long, but I also came up with an idea for the final post, so I will easily finish that one. Overall, I have high hopes for this class and the rest of my courses. I believe I am on the right track to succeeding and will finish the semester strong.

Looking back on freshman year

Hello! My name is Morgan, and I’m a sophomore biology major. I have just recently started using they/them pronouns for myself. Since I am not a freshman, it is simple to compare my first few weeks at Geneseo this year with last year. Coming to Geneseo last year was the first time since March of 2020 that I had spent a significant amount of time with people that were not part of my immediate family. This sharp contrast with what reality had been for me for the past six months was startling (to say the least). In an instant, I was in an unfamiliar place and had to figure out how to survive on my own. I had let my anxiety get the best of me for the time being and rarely wanted to go outside of my dorm to do even simple tasks like take out the trash. I never ended up doing my laundry until the literal last day of the first semester because I was afraid, as ridiculous as it sounds, someone might see me fiddling with the controls and judge me for not knowing what I was doing.

I’m generally not a very talkative person, however, over lockdown, the frequency of my speaking had significantly decreased. My sister had started watching TV with the closed captioning on, which got me in the habit of doing it too, plus I frequently watch things on the internet with subtitles, so I had become extremely reliant on them. It got to the point where I was talking so little to other people, and solely reading captions that I could no longer understand what people were saying to me because my listening skills had gotten so bad. So, when I arrived on campus, I was very overwhelmed with the strain on my abilities. I tried avoiding human interaction as much as possible, and ultimately didn’t make any friends. I was also not mentally prepared to go back to classes and start doing a lot of work, resulting in giving up going to class about two weeks into the semester. As you can imagine, I did not do particularly well in terms of grades. That’s why comparing that disaster with the beginning of this year shows a vast improvement.

In contrast with last year, I’ve actually been feeling happy for the past couple of weeks. Now, this doesn’t mean that all my problems have been solved since last year, but they are definitely improving. As previously mentioned, my grades and GPA are a dumpster fire, which means that I am on academic probation. If I do not pass all my classes to improve my GPA this year, the college will ever so lovingly ask me to skedaddle. I have gone to all my classes with that extra motivation and attempted to stay up to date on my homework. This will continue to be a struggle, but I am persevering.

I originally thought this class might be my most difficult because I have never particularly liked writing. However, after going to class and getting to know what it’s about and the people in it, I can see myself succeeding. When it comes to homework, normally, the worst part is starting. After finally deciding I’d start reading the textbook, I came to realize I really enjoyed the book. Not only was it informative, but it was written in an easily consumable way that makes me wish I had had this book earlier. It even makes me excited to continue reading and participating in class. I have also started talking to people more often, including to events and club meetings. Since I have had such an improvement during these few weeks, I have a very positive outlook on the rest of the semester and the distant future.