My Freshman year of college is done. I’m done with my finals, my grades are up, and my friends had left home for the Summer. At first, I felt very disappointed with how my freshman year went. However, simply hating yourself for something or being disappointed is not very productive. Besides, I’m still an honors student and I have made loads of friends so I’m probably being way too harsh on myself. Instead of making this into a “I’m so disappointed in myself” story, I will reflect on my successes and failures and what I learned from them that I can apply next year (and that you can learn from as well).
1.) Quality is Better Than Quantity
What I mean by this is: it’s better to take fewer hours and get all A’s than take 17 hours and get a mixture of B’s and A’s. During my second semester of College, I took 17 hours. I thought that I could handle it because I took 16 during my first semester and got a mixture of A’s and -A’s as my grades. However, I was wrong. My cumulative GPA is still a 3.7 so I didn’t screw up too bad but I could have done significantly better if I had taken 14 or 13 hours. I would have had more time to focus on each subject. Also, picking 3 difficult classes (calculus, chemistry, and management information systems) as part of those 17 hours was probably not the bad idea. I also would have had more time to join clubs and activities instead of being constantly stressed out about my grades.
I’ve done this because I wanted to declare my major earlier than everybody else. I achieved this goal but had to pay with a lower GPA.
Resolution For Next Year: Take less hours (maximum 16). Have a greater balance of easy/hard classes. Also, use Ratemyproffessor.com. No need to make my life harder than it has to be.
2.) Write What Your Professor Wants to Hear
I need to give credit were credit is due. I got this idea from Wall Street Playboy’s blog. They have written a post titled “The Real Guide to Our College Education System”. I’m not going to summarize the whole blog post here because not everything in it is relevant and because you can search for it yourself and read it.
One of the arguments that their blog post had made is that college teaches you to think like someone else and that if you write what your professor wants to hear in the essay, you will get a better grade (especially in humanities/social science/general education classes).
I tried this strategy out in my Sociology class. In the first essay, I’ve expressed my opinion on one of the issues in the class and got a B-. On the second essay, I have written what my professor wanted to hear (about how income inequality sucks) and got an A. I have used a similar approach for the exams, and again, got A’s on them.
The quality of both essays were similar. I spent exactly the same time writing the second essay as I spent on the first essay and I don’t think that my writing skills had significantly improved in this short period of time. However, I had the same opinion as the professor on the second essay and a different opinion on the first one, which had made all the difference.
Resolution For Next Year: Wall Street Playboys are right about this one. Use this strategy next year because it works.
3.) Controlling Your Emotions During Exams is Important
During my first Math exam, I ended up getting a really bad grade because I freaked out during the exam. I tried to solve the questions on it but ended up getting stuck on the arithmetic part, getting angry at myself, and “quitting” in the middle of the exam. On the next 2 exams, I have done significantly better (more than 24% better) because I was calm and in control of my emotions. As my Calculus professor had said: “It’s all in your head”. Yes. Studying for exams is important. But being in control of your emotions is just as important.
Resolution For Next Year: Don’t really have one. I learned how to not get nervous and remain calm so don’t really have anything to add.
1.) Academics and Extra-Curriculars are More Important Than Social Life
This one relates to the academics point. This year, I have spent way too much time socializing and not enough time studying.
In High School, my High School Counselor had written in my letter of recommendation that I was anti social. The issue is that I have a tendency to try to prove people wrong and so I spent the whole freshman year by socializing with anyone and everyone, from a homeless guy next to the University to a millionaire trust fund kid to liberal arts kids to a guy whose triple majoring in 3 demanding subjects. I ended up going out almost every day. Even though I met a lot of incredibly fascinating people, I have ended up ruining my grades (partially because of this) and not participating in enough extracurriculars, since socializing took a lot of time.
Resolution For Next Year: Spend less time socializing (once or twice a week) and more time studying.
2.) Socialize With The Right People
Even though I socialized a lot, I ended up making a lot of random friends instead of making friends who can help me succeed or friends who are also studying finance/business. Yes. I have made some friends who also want to do something finance or business related but not enough.
Not only have I failed to make friends within my area of study, I have also failed to make a lot of friends who are motivated to do something with there lives and who, in return, would motivate me to do something. A lot of my friends are liberal arts majors and don’t understand why I’m doing what I’m doing and think that I should just switch to studying a more “fun major”.
However, having said all of this, I have found 2 best friends, who are just incredible human beings and who have always been there for me this year. One of them, I have met at Austin’s Pizza, after I have had a really bad experience with one of the guys. The second one I have met in my MIS class and she had taught me a lot of useful information about how to deal with my parents. I can’t thank God enough for putting this people in my path and I will definitely continue being best friends with them in the future.
Resolution For Next Year: Start socializing with people who can help me, who share my life goals, and/or who are motivated to do something with their lives and who will not drag me down. Stop socializing people who are not supportive of me and who have completely different goals and ideas about life. Don’t try to argue with them and waist your time. Continue being friends with my current 2 best friends because they are amazing.
3.) Remember People’s Names and How They Look Like
I have met so many people this year that I don’t remember half of the people that I’ve met. The problem is that a lot of those people remember my name and, somehow, a lot of those people think that I’m their BFF. And I don’t even remember who they are, where I met them, and what they are studying. I would usually pretend to go along with what they are talking about and pretend like I remember who they are (even though I don’t). I’ve used this strategy until one of those people had asked, “what’s my name?” in the middle of the conversation. I just stood there, mortified. Because whatever I did, I could not remember her name.
Resolution For Next Year: Keep track of who I meet and remember them. Because, apparently, I am a very memorable human being.
1.) Better to Join Less Clubs but be More Involved
Similarly to academics, quality trumps quantity.
I have joined a bunch of clubs my freshman year and ended up quitting most of them. In my High School, I didn’t had a lot of options when it came to extra-curriculars. In college, there is just so much to do and so many clubs to join. I felt like a kid in the candy store who wanted to try out everything. Even though I had a lot of fun (and don’t regret it because I figured out which clubs to join next year), I ended up not participating in any clubs meaningfully and (obviously) haven’t gotten elected for any leadership positions in any of the clubs.
Resolution For Next Year: Join 1-2 of the right organizations and participate a lot. Try to get a leadership position in one of those clubs by the end of next year.
2.) Meetings Are Boring But Necessary
For the finance related organizations that I have joined, the weekly meetings are pretty boring. You just sit there, listen to some people who make presentations, and pretend not to be bored. It’s like attending an additional class. Even though the information that they were talking about was interesting, you, yourself, are not doing anything. You just sit there and listen to other people talking. Because of this, I ended up not going to a lot of the weekly meetings.
However, what I have realized is that those meetings help you make friends with the right people. All of the people at this organizations are interested in the same things you are interested in. This means that it would be easy for you to find people to participate in competitions, which are relevant to your major, with. It would also be easy to find people who have similar issues and concerns that you do and who understand you better. So even those meetings are boring, they provide a great opportunity to meet new people.
Resolution For Next Year: Suck it up and attend weekly meetings at those organizations in order to make friends with the right people easier.
So this are the my most important resolutions and things that I’ve learned for next year. Hopefully, I can stick with my plan for next year.
Hope you had an incredible year,
Good luck with Finals if you are still taking them,
PS: Sorry for not writing for so long. I just had a lot of exams that I had to do and then I started my Summer job so was getting used to the new work load.