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Throughout my time here at Shippensburg University, I have gotten the great opportunity to learn so much about the ways of college and how to improve my academic life and my social life. Despite it being overwhelming and stressful, these experiences have helped me develop and learn new advice and resources on how I can personally succeed while attending college. While there are many things that I learned in this first semester, the most notable is the upkeep of a positive mindset and motivation levels, the usage of a planner, and the importance of college organizations and clubs.
One of the first things that I learned was that you have to develop a good mental mindset and maintain levels of motivation throughout the semester to achieve greatness. Having a good mental mindset was important for me, this semester because it allowed me to stay positive and develop a good working environment for all the people who were around me. Establishing and conserving good levels of motivation was also a priority for me because the ability to get distracted was very evident and common due to other contributing factors like work and family events. Both of these behaviors were very commonly shown throughout this last semester while working at my on-campus job at the Shippensburg University Bookstore.
The most recent example of these behaviors being shown was throughout the week before Thanksgiving break because I had to write three papers, give a speech presentation, as well as work my daily hours at my job on campus. Most of these assignments were given to me on the same day which caused me to initially feel stressed and anxious leading up to that week. However, using the behaviors above, I was able to become more focused on my work when given the opportunity and not get distracted by other non-important tasks. And because I had already developed a good mindset towards the beginning of the semester, I was able to keep my positivity throughout this week by constantly helping my peers with any questions that were asked as well as the issues and questions of the customers when I was working. Due to keeping a positive atmosphere throughout that week, I was also able to keep a positive attitude around the people around me, which caused them to be more motivated. Overall, these behaviors have allowed me to become more motivated and helped my attitude which will help me in my future adventures.
Secondly, using a planner is a prime resource for success here at Shippensburg University which I feel is something that every college student should use in some form while attending college. Before attending college, planners were generally not something that I would use because of the inconvenience at the time. It took a lot of time to plan out my week because of my indecisiveness as well as my lack of time management. However, I have used various planners throughout this semester which has helped improved my time management skills tremendously. Using planners has allowed me to create separate schedules for homework and studying, family events and holidays, as well as entertainment values like hanging out with friends or going to see a movie, etc. As previously stated, the week before Thanksgiving break was extremely busy for me due to having a decent amount of homework as well as my work schedule being hectic. Using my planner was essential for me that week because it allowed me to have a written plan available to me so I would know what assignments that I had or hadn’t completed as well as any meetings or events that I had to go too. Another example of this is when I used it for planning my week of finals. Due to the students needing to return their textbooks, my work schedule for the bookstore for this week had already been determined for weeks before because of the long hours that are required of me. It is not uncommon for workers’ shifts to be over six hours at my job while this week is taking place. So having a planner is essential because I can write down my work hours as well as my schedule for my finals.
Finally, becoming apart of the Commuter Student Association (CSA) was a huge influence for me this semester. I found out about the CSA through my friend, Julianna, who is the founding president of the club. Due to it being established only in September, I originally was skeptical about joining. However, within a few meetings, I was able to meet such a great group of people and bond with them about the overall commuting experience. The great thing about the CSA is that it is so welcoming to everyone despite the name. Through the CSA, I was able to become aware of locations such as the Commuter Lounge which is a lounge that I go for a quiet place to study or relax in between classes. I also take part in the monthly events that take place on campus.
The activities of the CSA help me become more relaxed and helps make everyone involved feel included which is hard for commuters to feel sometimes. Frank Bruni mentions in his article, “How to Get the Most Out Of College”, that there is a study called the Strada-Gallup Alumni Survey which asked thousands of college students about their college experience and the outcomes of college for them. In the study, the researchers were able to find that doing things like joining clubs or meeting a mentor helped their college experience and later future. This is shown in the following quote, “Instead, the game changers include establishing a deep connection with a mentor, taking on a sustained academic project and playing a significant part in a campus organization. What all of these reflect are engagement and commitment… and they’re key to professional success.”(Bruni). Becoming a part of the University’s organizations and clubs help more students become active in the community as well as develop a sense of identity.
Overall, my first semester has been extremely memorable and exciting despite some of the exhausting outcomes of it. Everyone who I have met at college has helped and taught me something in some shape or form. Managing the maintenance of the body’s mindset and motivation, the usage of a planner, and getting involved in college organizations were few of the many bits of knowledge that I learned throughout the semester. How can these tips be related you may ask? Well, they can all be used to help maintain a person’s happiness when in college. In the previously stated article, “How to Get the Most Out of College”, Frank Bruni talks and offers advice to his audience about how he feels college should be viewed. He believes that people focus too much on the expense of college rather than the college experience itself. He also highlights in the article about how college students need to take the time to truly enjoy their surroundings and to focus on their happiness rather than the financials of college.
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