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.

Wishful thinking

This semester did not go the way I was thinking it was going to go. I expected it to go in the complete opposite direction than it did. I surprised myself this semester. by succeeding in ways I didn’t know I could. I was expecting to fail miserably in all of my classes and to not do well on my assignments. I am doing much better than I thought I would in school. I am getting good grades and putting lots of effort into my assignments. I am also participating in classes, reaching out to other peers, and making new friends. That was something I never thought I could do.

I expected my mental health to be at as rock bottom as it could go and to shut down completely just to make it through the semester completely. But I didn’t. I got good grades and studied hard. I learned to balance my job with school and my personal life. I found a way and drive home still every weekend for work, have time to see my family, and friends from high school. I also went home to stay a few nights in my room at home, which is my safe place. I’m in a much better place than I was at the beginning of the semester. I wish I knew the reason. I think it’s a mix of therapy as well as going home often. Like I mentioned, my room at home is my safe place. I always had a fallback, an escape route, if you will so that if everything gets overwhelming or becomes too much for me to handle, I always have a plan B.

I was fortunate this semester with how everything turned out for me. I hope for the spring semester that everything I worked hard for this semester will remain the same as well as I hope my mental health remains as it is now. It is at a place that I can manage. My manageable mental health has been the one thing keeping me going in terms of motivation and dedication towards my school work. Without it, I think I would be in a much bigger hole, and it would show negatively in my school work and performance. I hope next semester my teachers are just as caring and open-minded as they are this semester and that my classes are as easy going next semester just like they have been this semester. My wish for next semester is that I am happy and successful.

The closing

Since midterms, the semester has gone smoothly for the most part. School as a whole is still super enjoyable. Every day I get to meet new people and learn new stuff it’s pretty cool. I was also able to make it to a few Hockey games, which were very fun to watch. It’s a nice feeling to realize that I’m starting to feel more comfortable and creating a real connection with this place. Classes have also been going well. I’ve improved in every class, just as I was hoping to when I wrote my last blog. I just managed to register for my classes next semester successfully-This time without any problems like I had with the other two times. So overall, I guess that means things have progressed swimmingly so far. Hopefully, I will be able to keep that up and finish my semester strong.

By the end of the semester, I hope to massively raise my GPA and the grades I have now, even if by a little bit. as the year winds down, I have a history of dropping in my school performance, so I really don’t want that to happen this semester since I’ve been doing so well. One thing I also hope happens by the end of the semester is that I get appointed to a position in my fraternity. I want to start participating in many academic activities next semester, and I think that would help out immensely. As for finals, I think they will be pretty rough, especially for my data analytics class. I plan on decompressing over Thanksgiving break and coming back ready to work and study hard. Hopefully, I will make it through well enough and get to enjoy my Christmas Break with my family. I wish everybody in the class good luck with their school careers and hope they have wonderful holidays.

The ending

As the semester comes to a close, I can’t help but feel a sense of excitement and relief. Thanksgiving break is approaching, which means I get to go home for a little while to see my family and enjoy home-cooked meals. At the same time, I am relieved thinking about the fact that winter break is within reach. So far, I feel like I have achieved so much, and I am very proud of myself. Between being more social and trying to be involved on campus wherever I can, I’ve reached many personal goals I set in place for myself. During the past few months, I’ve been focused on maintaining my physical, emotional, and mental wellness while juggling coursework, and I can say that it’s been going well. I’ve learned the importance of taking care of my body and mind, which has helped me progress this semester.

As far as classes go, everything has been running smoothly. I have been paying attention to which classes I need to improve in and actively have been going to office hours or study sessions to get the help I need. Compared to last semester, my time-management skills have improved, making it easier to do work and study for each class which has helped my grades tremendously. Although we only have a few more weeks left of school, preparing for finals week can be stressful. Having to complete extensive assignments and study for final exams will be a challenge, but not impossible. I’m glad that we’re in the final stretch, I’m looking forward to ending the semester and the year in good academic standing.

A ton of bricks

As I approach the end of the semester, I can reflect and say that it was nothing I expected it to be. Compared to the beginning of the semester, the workload has increased, but I pushed myself to meet my professor’s standards and myself. I had all these plans for my classes, and reality hit me like a ton of bricks. Reflecting on these self-imposed impossible standards has led me to a valuable realization. I had this notion that I had to live up to the student I was in high school that didn’t allow me to fall short. Although having expectations is good, I soon realized that college is an entirely different ballgame, and I should not try to fit myself into a past template. From then on, trying my best was the only concern. A priority in my life was learning to be satisfied with my work without a grade attached to it, to feel comforted by the security of knowing I put my best foot forward.

Appreciating college for more than an educational environment was an important milestone as well. Joining clubs and participating in activities helped me clear my mind and decompress from everything else; it also helped me meet great like-minded people who pushed me to try new things. Contrarily, I still procrastinate but not as much as before. If the college has taught me anything, it’s that there is always a chance to improve. For the end of the semester, I don’t really have a specific goal. To prevent me from being overwhelmed, I’ve forced myself to take it one day at a time, which caused the semester to fly by. My focus is to ensure that my finals and the grades attached are not indicative of the student I am. By the end of the semester, I hope to have no grades below eighty and ensure good relations with my professors.

Headache

As midterms have come to an end, I find myself stressing even more. This transition towards the end of the year always gets me; I tend to get exhausted mentally and physically much quicker. Every day goes by in a blur. The changing of the seasons definitely does not help. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy winter so so much. However, the gloomy skies combined with an earlier sunset and frigid winds dull my emotions, especially when walking to and from class on those god-awful hills.

My classes are going ok – I had a bit of a hiccup, though. Unfortunately, I was struck by a pretty heavy cold. Thanks to my ever-so-reliable immune system, I was out for a week and a half. I had to ride out a five-day fever. What an absolute nightmare. Making up all that work was a royal pain and so incredibly stressful. Luckily, I avoided drowning in all that work, but man, that was so hard. I never want to go through that again, but knowing how much my body hates me, I probably will end up getting sick again.

I’m thankful for the fact that Therapy for Veterans is such a doable course. Having a class that is easily accessible is a genuine blessing. I thank Professor Arena for making this course easy to make up while out. It really does make my life easier.

My friends have been such a great support system as the semester progresses. Anywhere from small vent sessions to homework groups, they’ve been a massive help in pushing through this semester. My mental health would’ve deteriorated at this point, but thanks to them, I’m able to be relatively stable as finals loom over.

Speaking of finals- I’m absolutely dreading them. I tend to do this thing where I psych myself out to the point where I end up doing poorly on my finals, even though I’m perfectly capable of acing them. It’s such an awful habit, and I’m trying to break it. From this point forward, the goal is simply to believe in myself and trust in my abilities. You made it this far, Riddhi; don’t undermine that.

I think everyone can use that reminder. To whoever is reading this, you got this! I believe in you! You are completely capable of finishing this semester and passing your finals. I hope that classes and finals progress smoothly for all of us. The semester is almost over. Hang in there!

One (almost) done, one to go

I don’t know if it’s just me, but, WOW, I simply cannot believe that this semester is coming to a close. I feel like it was just the first day of classes, and you were explaining to us how we would be writing three blog posts, talking about our experiences at Geneseo as first-year students. Here we are, twelve weeks later, one more blog post left to do. It really made me realize how quickly time is flying and how we will be halfway through the school year sooner rather than later. I think that these past twelve weeks have mainly consisted of trying to find your way in the world, especially at a brand new school and home. I was ready from the start. I had been planning my early graduation and going to college since the age of thirteen. Maybe I had been in over my head, but certainly can confirm that I was indeed ready. One of the biggest things that changed for me personally was the independence of being away from home. Life here at Geneseo allowed me the opportunity to flourish independently while also being supported by those around me. Life here has felt right like it was what I had been patiently waiting for since such a young age. The newness of being here no longer feels like fear and uncertainty but instead comfort and a place of growth.

I think a part of me expected to be more overwhelmed with the shift from high school life to college life. Especially in terms of classes and the demand of them. There is a different kind of readiness I’ve learned that you have to have at the college level. I feel as though I have raised the bar for myself and things have been for the most part pretty well. Did I know what I was getting myself into when I saw I was in a theatre class but don’t have a musically inclined bone in my body? Nope. Was I at all ready to write creatively when I had never written a single short story in my life? Absolutely not. But with every class that held any sort of uncertainty, I knew I would be able to meet every expectation and every challenge with the confidence that I could do greater than I imagined.

I tend to think about the future, probably way too much, as you can tell from what my thirteen-year-old self was planning. However, a part of me is excited for the first semester to be almost over so that I can start the next and continue on here at Genny. I feel like these past few months almost paved the way for the semesters to come. It was a chance to get used to how classes are, what it would be like meeting and working with others, but also testing your own personal limits and capacities. I’m seventeen right now and already thinking about how I’m ready to graduate college and move on with my life. Like I’ve said, if you really can’t tell already, I think about the future way too much. If there’s anything I’ve learned as week twelve begins, it’s that time truly is going faster than the blink of an eye and that you need to enjoy moments before they’re gone. It may have been quite the transition from life before college, but it has changed a lot of parts of my life for the better. I am very much looking forward to what life has in store in the future, and I don’t just mean five years in advance. I’m attempting to stay present and focus on the now.

The last days of my first semester

Since midterms, classes have been tougher and more tedious. During, midterms, I didn’t have a ton of exams. However, it was still stressful with the exams that I did have. I could have gotten better grades, but I struggle with studying and taking notes. In high school I went to an alternative school that did not require tests or homework. That being said I feel behind in that aspect . However, I am getting used to college life. As for school, it has gotten a lot colder being here. It has gone into daylight savings time, so when I leave my night class, it is dark outside. Winter is also creeping around the corner, making walking to classes that much colder. Even having the window open gets too cold but having it closed makes the room smell off. Midterms being over, I feel like it’s time to buckle down, study for finals and get everything in order.  

By the end of the semester I hope that I pass all my final exams and I pass all my classes. I have set my bar low, so it can only go up from here! I am not doing my best in some of my classes, but I am still trying my best. I hope that if I study hard enough and get a good grade on my finals, it will surpass all my other bad grades. I hope that by the end of the semester, I will enjoy school a little bit more. I also want to stop eating out as much and start using the dining hall more often. The classes that I want to focus on the most would be psychology and microeconomics. I struggle with psychology because I am not good at taking notes, and the tests are not easy. My psychology professor also only has 4 exams which makes it tough because if you do bad on two then you have a bad grade for the class. I wish that he had more assignments for that class so that I could get my grade up. As for microeconomics, there are a lot of assignments which is the only thing that is saving me. My grade in that class is terrible because I am awful at taking tests and exams, but I get hundreds on homework and papers. However, exams account for most of the final grade.  

In all since midterms there have been many more assignments with tedious tasks, but I don’t mind them too much because if you do them, then it’s an easy grade I want to pass my exams and hopefully get good passing grades in my classes. I want to learn how to study better and the proper techniques to take tests and exams. I want to pass my microeconomics final exam with at least a seventy or higher. In psychology, I want to be able to take the last exam and get an eighty or higher. All and all, I want to get my work completed before it is due and completed with solid scores. Lastly, I want my final GPA to be at least 2.5 or higher. I don’t think my GPA defines all that I know or even how smart I am, but GPAs are part of college life, and I hope to make it go up from here.  

Life in Geneseo

Since the beginning of the semester, things have been getting better. My classes are beginning to pick up, making them much more interesting. However, with that comes a lot of quizzes and exams. Most of them are open notes which makes it a lot easier. Nevertheless, it’s still difficult because you must study for them because you are timed and if you spend all your time looking up the answers you will run out of time for the exam. I have yet to fail a test, but it’s bound to happen. I have yet to make any real freshman friends, but I have gotten a lot closer to my roommate. The food here is some of the worst food I have ever eaten in my whole life. If I had known that the food would be this terrible.

I enjoy my lectures the most because they don’t really notice you, and all you must do is be there and take notes, which I find to be the most enjoyable. You go so unnoticed that you can be out of class one day, and no one would even notice you. I like the anonymity of the lectures and how discreet you can be. Dorm living is terrible, I live in Onondaga hall, which is nicknamed dirty Daga. There is no AC, and the rooms can get so hot at night, it’s unbearable. They give us very little room to live. I don’t mind my roommate.

By the end of the semester, I hope to be more confident. I want to be more confident in classes and as a person. I want to be able to pass all my classes, maybe even get good grades. I aspire to find more friends that I can be comfortable with that are close to me. The most important part about college is time management and giving yourself breaks. All you do is work. If you have a pause then the work is manageable. I want to enjoy college and say that it is enjoyable by the end of the semester. I hope to make it to winter break without dropping out and maybe enjoy it a bit. By the end of the semester, I also hope that by the end of the semester I won’t be so dependent on my parents anymore. I continue to go home on the weekends to see my parents and get an intermission from college. Despite that, I would like to become more self-sufficient and not rely on them so much.

In all, I have been doing better though, I am not where I would like to be. I want to be more self-reliant and have friends as well as better grades. I feel like this is attainable with hard work and determination, and help from others. I have been trying to reach out to people to get help and achieve my goals of being the best student I can be. I want to make others proud, but most importantly, I want to be proud of myself.

The first semester

My name is Caitlin Oropallo. I am from a small town in upstate NY called Corning. I live with my parents and my brother, who is a senior here at Geneseo. I am a flame worker at the Corning Museum of Glass, also known as CMOG. I enjoy special effects makeup. I like to make makeup videos on TikTok and show my work from start to finish. It helps distract me from life for a while. I struggle immensely with mental health. It has gotten a lot worse and much harder to deal with since I am on my own in college. Everyday things are a struggle for me. The main thing that I struggle with is Bipolar Disorder. The episodes that come along with my diagnosis affect me tremendously daily. Now that I am on my own, it is the worst that it has ever been. My diagnosis doesn’t define me, but it is a large part of me.

In the weeks leading up to coming to college, I cried every day. I was so anxious, and my nerves were taking over. Then the time finally came, and I moved to the dorm. It was nothing like I had expected. It was much simpler than I had anticipated. The first time I met my roommate, I was so nervous; my mind was running rampant. We didn’t connect right away. I thought she hated me. After some time, we grew on each other, and now we are great friends. I didn’t expect to make friends right away, however, I had foreseen making some friends by now. Nonetheless I have not and that has been hard on me. I go home on the weekends, and my parents come up twice a week because I am struggling with life on campus. I have gone to some parties and I have made a lot of friends with juniors and seniors, but I can’t really do things with them. They don’t have a meal plan, so I can’t go out to eat with them. They live across campus and have hectic lives, so it’s hard to hang out with them. Normally, I just sit alone in my room and eat dinner by myself because I have no one to go to the dining hall with most times. There are times, I sit in my room alone and think about how crappy life is right now. My mental health has deteriorated so much I contemplate dropping out every day. I just want to go home and be with my parents. I know that I can’t do that. I want to be either a pediatric surgeon or a psychiatrist. If I drop out, then I will never achieve my goals. Right now, I don’t know if I can handle college. I’m afraid I will do poorly on my assignment because I can’t find the motivation to do much of anything. I dread going to classes, but I also have a fear of being a failure. My anxiety is telling me to get what I need to get done, but my depression and my depressive episode are just telling me to stay in bed and watch Netflix all day. I barely eat, and I sleep maybe 4 hours every day. Everyone told me that college was the best time of their lives. It just doesn’t feel that way. However, there is one class that I am enjoying. I am enjoying my INTD writing class. It’s a little early of me but, I enjoy it because everyone is very friendly and I really like my professor!

In all, college has been a struggle for me. I don’t know how to ask for help, and I certainly can’t do it on my own. I am stuck in a hard place right now. I have hope that things will get better, however, it just doesn’t feel that way. I don’t want to give up, but everything in me is telling me to. I haven’t expressed this to anyone because I don’t want any handouts or people to pity me, but this has been my experience with college so far.