To those coming to college,
The last 3 months of my life have been the most trying and difficult of my entire academic career. Last summer I participated in M.S.I., an intense program at my college that lasted one month, and before this, that was my most intense academic experience. During that program, the time constraints made it difficult for everyone. I sense that the difficulty I experienced this semester, though, is a product of both my own complacency, and the exceeding difficulty of the courses I took.
The first mistake I made was waiting for books to come in the mail that I purchased off of the internet. While I saved a significant amount from the bookstore’s used price and this is a practice I highly recommend, some of the books didn’t come for weeks. This in itself shouldn’t be a problem for the serious student who can assertively ask to borrow the readings from others.
I didn’t though, and the second mistake I made was to underestimate just how much I was missing. I based that assessment on the first semester (which was less rigorous for me looking back.) I told myself that I would catch up, maybe over spring break. Needless to say, the break is worked into many of the instructors’ syllabi for work on their classes.
Here is where I made my third mistake. While I did a decent job of keeping up with the intermediary reading before the break, trying to add old readings had the effect of disjointing my reading experiences and made me less productive than I would have been otherwise. If I had just buckled down and done it before, the time after spring break wouldn’t have flown by so fast and I wouldn’t have been so stressed out the last few weeks!
But why am I telling you this? Well, just keep in mind that classes are structured in a way that readings build off one another, and the slow gradual accumulation of understanding most professors try to write into their syllabus is probably the best order to learn the material.
Don’t underestimate the importance of time. A few crucial missed readings can really mess you up. Stay on top of the reading, be assertive and take control of your academic future!
Now, I was able to catch up later this semester with a great deal of diligence, but you can be assured that I will not let this happen again. Learn from me so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes and you can enjoy the discovery and great times of college instead of cramming and hesitantly rejecting social invitations on Saturday nights.