I remember coming back on campus close to midnight on a Thursday because of a field trip and still having to do my chemistry and biology homework due the next day. I also remember the countless all-nighters and I also remember skipping breakfast and lunch on pretty much every Friday. Every Friday is me waking up at 8:45am to change and get to my 9 o’clock Biology lecture followed by my 10 o’clock Chemistry lecture and then getting back to my dorm room at 11 o’clock to read the material for my four hour Chemistry Lab at 12 o’clock. And as I take my most needed month long break to wait for the following semester and wait for my grades to slowly update I soon start to realize how quickly college just flies by. In addition to that, I also realize things about my first semester of college I would like to change and get better at in the future (studying techniques, getting my work done ahead of time, etc.). Coming out of my first semester of college, I already felt accomplishments, regrets, stress, happiness, and a whole other rollercoaster of emotions that reminds me that I am alive. And as much as I would hate to feel more stress and regret, the benefit of knowing that I made it to college and have the rest of my undergrad years to look forward to is the best feeling that I would not trade for anything else, and if it means going through the rest of the hardships college will have to throw at me then so be it. But being that it’s college, and knowing the hardships are only getting bigger, I will definitely try harder in the future to make sure that my grades, social life, and personal life are all in check as I pursue harder classes and bigger goals.
The first thing that really struck me hard about college was specifically the amount of time I had to put into to just be a pre-health student. Having a four-hour lab dedicated to both my biology and chemistry class is difficult and time consuming knowing that both lab sessions (Biology especially) are pretty much separate classes where work is due and you have quizzes in. Although this would cause the normal person to have jealousy of their peers wanting to major in subjects like Political Science or Sociology where there are no four hour labs involved, I instead feel pride that I can survive my week putting forth more effort and work that can feel good about (for the most part at least) putting in. Also if having a class with a lab means I can get out of writing extensive papers on menial topics then I’m a fan. Because of all of this time being consumed (not to mention those Thursday field trips) there were times where I felt discouraged or not incentivized to work hard on my weekends while just pulling all-nighters during the week. I really didn’t know how to handle my schedule and just handled it the way I would’ve done it if I were in high school. I searched up the answers if I didn’t want to read the text book, I BS-ed the homework if it wasn’t going to be collected, and I procrastinated on my work hoping I’ll be up for doing it the following day before class started.
At times I couldn’t blame myself for doing all of that. I mean being in college can’t be just me doing work or else I’d go completely insane. But being that college isn’t all about work, it is about knowing when and how to go about doing that work. I’m not saying that I’m going to find a way to get rid of all-nighters completely because I think that it’s just a part of my work load going into the future and if it’s a day before a big final, I don’t know how anyone can avoid the huge cram. In the future I’ll try to limit my all-nighters to only Fridays and Saturdays and days where I don’t have to go to class until past 12 noon. On the other days, in addition to purposefully doing my homework, I should be making an attempt to go over the current class material to make sure I understand it and find some substantial value in it that’s interesting or helpful for me to know. I should also realize that studying for the final starts early and not a week before the actual final. On the academic side of college, I should be finding better ways to about handling my workload and my classes and as a pre-health student, I have the task of maneuvering through my classes with lecture sections in addition to lab sections where the latter can be time consuming and tedious. And because of the work being tedious, I want to try my best to change my study habits and work techniques to maximize the value I’m getting out of the work I’m putting into my classes. Because the worst thing that can happen when I come out of college is that I graduate viewing college the same way I viewed high school.