Thursday, May 5, 2011

Things I've learned from going back to school...

Well, it's official:  I went back to school.  Not only did I go back to school, but I finished an entire semester.  Not only did I finish an entire semester, I finished an entire FULL-TIME semester.  Not only did I finish an entire full-time semester, I did it while still working full-time.

Me on the first day of class: Ready to go!
I thought it may be fun to write up a list of things I've learned from this experience.  I know that I will leave several things out, because I truly feel that I've learned that many things!  I'm going to stick to what I've learned about myself, about life, and about college in general; not bore you to tears with my newfound knowledge of American Government and International Relations.  :-) 

The Top Eleven Things I Learned
from my First Semester Back!

11) I can write really well.  This is something that I used to know, but had forgotten.  It's one of those things that comes naturally to me, so I assume that it's easy for everyone.  Turns out that every professor told me that I was a great writer.  I got 100's on nearly every assignment that was mostly writing.  Yay, something that I am good at!!!

10) Essay questions rule. Multiple choice questions confuse me. For my entire life, I have thought the exact opposite.  I think that I am one who can BS my way through an essay.  Usually by the middle of my BS answer, I realize that I actually do know what I'm talking about.  With multiple choice, there is no room for BS or epiphanies.

9) Flash cards work.  Fundamental for a reason.  I used flashcards for preperation for nearly every exam.  Not that I did well on every exam, but for the questions that were about the key terms, I knew every single one!  I definately will keep up with the flash cards next semester.

8) I am not annoyed by all 18 and 19 year olds.  This one came as quite a shock to me, as I was terrified in the beginning that I would be surrounded by them in my freshman-level classes.  And they were everywhere, but 3/4 of my classes were a good mixture of traditional and non-traditional (re: young/living on campus, and old/ living independently) students.  They youngn's weren't terrible to be around.  In fact, I found myself rooting for them to succeed, and for their first time in college to be the time that sticks.

7) I'm still pretty young.  26 isn't THAT old to be a freshman. 

6) I love the label "student" just as much as I thought I would!  Now whenever I get asked what I do, I quietly and quickly say my day job (administrative assistant) and then loudly say, "and student at the University of Memphis."

5) I am terrible at balancing things in my life.  Come to think of it, I already knew this one.  College has quickly become my number one priority, boyfriend and immediate family are a close second, work is a distant third, keeping the house clean is only a memory now, and friends and extended family have not existed for me for months.  Terrible, I know.  Time to apologize for neglecting important people (like my 9-year-old Goddaughter, whom I haven't seen since December!) and take advantage of the summer break.

4) Going back to school was not hard to do.  It was just one small step at a time, starting back in the beginning of 2010, when I realized that I needed to JUST DO IT if I ever wanted a degree.  One call here, one internet search there, a few forms, lots of time and patience, and wah-la, I was enrolled and had a nice financial aid package. 

3) Going back to school was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life!  Sure, getting enrolled wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but actually learning the material and doing well on the exams and not going completely insane with the pressures of full-time work and full-time school simulaneously?  Nearly impossible in the beginning.  By the end of the semester, I had a good routine going and things had gotten better, but it was still HARD.  I'm thrilled to have a summer break before it all starts over again in the fall.

2) I am so stinkin' proud of myself that I could pinch my own cheeks.  Seriously: I am done with one full semester of college!  This is the very first time in my life that I get to say that.  I have taken classes here and there, and attempted this feat several times in the past.  This is it.  This is the time that it's going to stick.  This is the real beginning of my professional future.  I'm going to get a degree in Political Science from The University of Memphis!!!  One semester down, 6 or 7 to go. 

1) The only person who stands in the way of me accomplishing my goals is ME.  And I'm done standing in my own way.  Time to embrace the wonderful-ness that is LEAH K. NEW and see exactly what I'm capable of doing with my life.  I have a feeling that I will keep on surprising myself in good ways.


Megan said...

Great job in finishing up your semester! Honestly, I think everyone should take a year (or two, or five) before going back to school. You have more of an understanding what your passion is. Too bad I've realized this at the end of my undergrad when graduation is in 17 days. Sigh.

But great job!

One Step at A Time said...

Way to go! Great job! You've inspired me to keep going to school, as if I ever should have debated not going, lol.

Sweet Pea said...

WOW, how fantastic is that !

Amanda said...

Congrats on your first semester of college! It takes a lot of courage and dedication to go back to school. Not only did you go back but you went back FT. My hero!! I've only been doing PT because the thought of FT scared the crap out of me. So high five for going all the way!

Joel B said...

So proud of my sis!

Cyn said...

You rock -- what a great post!!!

LabelSnob said...

Congratulations Leah! You should be so proud! Once you are done all the hard work and time will be soooo worth it!