Reflecting back on my first semester at VCU

My first semester of college was nothing that I could have prepared myself for. My classes varied in difficulty but never failed to give me a large work-load all at once, then large lulls in work, giving me enough time to remember what it felt like to slack off. Overall, the semester was incredibly positive and a tough learning experience.

For a while, I’ve been fairly self-reliant. Adapting to living on my own away from home has been an easy transition throughout the semester. Owning my free-time, as well as the right to do what I want has been a huge blessing. I don’t have certain distractions that I have to face back at my Dad’s house, as well as my Mom’s house. This only solidifies my goal to be successful throughout my college career, so I can move on once I have graduated, and not have to regress and move back with either one of my parents. However, I want to use this blog post to reflect on some of the problems I’ve had throughout my first semester at VCU.

First of all, I have always been incredibly forgetful. As well as a procrastinator. Put these two traits together, and you know where I’m going with this. I was awful at checking syllabuses for homework, remember dates, and being at least slightly organized. This has led to me getting grades far below what I’ve worked for. I don’t mean this in a narcissistic sense, as I have in all honesty, been my own downfall. I waited until the very last minute to start projects, essays, study for tests, and contact my professors. This led to me scrambling around, trying to bring high D’s into low C’s, and make my work for the semester count. I’ve realized that for this next semester, I’m going to need to plan better, and use a physical calendar that help me hold myself accountable for important dates. This was a bit painful to learn, however I know it will benefit me in the future.

The second largest problem I encountered during my first semester was already mentioned. Procrastination. I would rather be doing anything than the work I’m supposed to be doing. That’s something that has never changed, and I figure I’ll change eventually. However, when it comes to my schoolwork, I constantly managed to find something else to do instead. Whether it was pick up an instrument, beat a 20 hour video game in one day (11 hours) or explore somewhere like residential Richmond at 11pm with my roommate. In the end, I never was doing the work I was supposed to be doing, and this led to me missing a plethora of assignments. Though it usually was not intentional, I missed way too many assignments by simply putting off checking my blackboard account. This led to a lot of frustration that was never really confronted during the semester, and lingers as something that I need to put the time aside to confront.

I can’t really give much advice to other students, because it would be hypocritical for someone who is barely passing through college to give advice to others, when I’m most likely in need of some advice myself. But one main piece of advice that I have to share is this: Try your hardest to set goals that you are motivated to strive towards. Set a few large goals, with many small goals in between to raise your motivation. Make a checklist for yourself to check off these goals, or set a small reward for each goal, and a large reward for your semester-sized goals. Something to make your goals palpable and enticing. It’s been the best advice given to me, and can apply to most circumstances. Use the goals to push yourself, and prove to yourself that you can do what you set your mind to.

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