A Reflection of My First Semester

To be quite honest, my first semester didn’t go as well as I had anticipated. In high school, I took all AP and honors classes and received only As. Coming into college, I expected it to be the same way. At first, it was. All of my classes were review, there was little homework, and all of the quizzes were simple. The first round of midterms was simple and I got great scores. However, it all of a sudden got a lot harder. The homework began to pile up and the content started getting harder. Unfortunately, the rest of my midterms didn’t go too well, and neither did my finals. I ended with grades in chemistry and math that were not what I had hoped for, and those two classes made up 10 of my 13.5 credits, so it really impacted my GPA. Even though my GPA is not great right now, I have learned a valuable lesson from this semester. When things got hard this semester, I never got the free tutoring OSU offers or went to office hours. Since my grades didn’t end up where I wanted them, it’s made me realize that I need to put more work into my schoolwork. Doing homework and studying is not enough. I need to be going to office hours, meet with my TAs, and going to free tutoring, even if I don’t feel like I need it. If I work hard and utilize my resources this upcoming semester, I think that I can improve my grades.

How My First Semester Taught Me to Take Care of Myself

My first semester of college, without a doubt, has been a wild ride. I have made a lot of new friends, found what I feel is my niche, joined eight clubs around campus, and I’ve been studying hard for my classes. I’ve been weeks ahead in homework and also accidentally missed a couple assignments; I got nearly a 100% on a midterm, and then proceeded to fail another. The first several months of college, I struggled to balance a social life and my academics. I took all honors and AP classes in high school and had a limited social life. Coming to college, not only were classes significantly harder and faster-paced than high school, but I also now had a social life to maintain. It took awhile to adjust and learn my priorities.

In order to compensate for my new academic, social, and extracurricular lives, I began to lose sleep and skip meals. I didn’t have the time and, quite frankly, forgot about their importance. The first time my parents came to visit me at college, they commented how visibly thinner I was and the dark circles under my eyes. I was having a great time, but my body was falling apart as a result.

I finally hit a week that I would have to call the worst week of my college career so far. I received poor scores on not only one, but two midterms, and I had an abundance of homework that included two lab reports. In all honestly, I spent most of the week crying, skipping class, and barely sleeping. However, I made it through the week. As soon as the weekend hit, I looked back on the week and realized I needed to change what I was doing. This was not working for me.

I decided to skip my social plans for the weekend (which my friends fully supported after witnessing firsthand the previous week), and I spent as much time as possible working on homework. I took small breaks as to not burn out and I cut myself off to go eat meals with friends and sleep at a proper time. I got over a week ahead on my homework. This allowed me to spend the following week learning to sleep at a better time, spending more time actually studying for courses instead of merely doing homework, and allowing myself the time to relax and recover.

I now make schedules for myself. I schedule in my meals, time to relax, time to socialize, plenty of time for homework and studying, and time to sleep. I may not have a perfect sleep schedule, but I go to bed at the same time every night, wake up at the same time every morning, and get at least 6-7 hours of sleep per night (the amount recommended by my doctor). My experience from the beginning of the semester may have been terrible, but it was worth it since I now schedule time for at least a little bit of everything I want to do and am now properly taking care of myself.