Thursday, July 17, 2014

One More Year of University Under My Belt

It's really late to be posting things like this, but I'm going to do it any way.  When you notice progress, celebrate it.

My last school year was crazy.  Sometimes in good ways and other times in bad ways.  It was a challenging year.  But I think I've learned a lot and grown as a person too.  Let me count (some of) the ways...

1. Tried My Hand At A Leadership Position.  This year, I was on the Residence Hall Association Executive Board as the Improvements Chair.  I applied to be an RA at the end of my first year and wasn't accepted, so instead, I was approached by the RHA Advisor about being on the E-Board instead.  I met with her to see how I could improve next time I applied and I think that impressed her to some degree.  So I've learned to follow up even on opportunities where I'm rejected.  It can only help me.  Being on the Improvements Chair gave me more experience working with people-- dealing with their complaints so that I could try and make their lives better and working with a group to organize big events and get help.  It was a lot of work, but I'm very happy with my decision to be on the board.  I won't be back next year due to studying abroad and not being a campus resident any longer, but I think the new board will do just as well.

Residence Hall Association E-Board 2013-2014

2. Learned To Deal With Interpersonal Conflict.  This ranges from solving problems with my boyfriend to dealing with my roommates.  This was the first time I've lived with people whom I didn't have any prior experience with.  My first roommate was someone I went to high school with and roomed with in France when we traveled there.  We had a good idea of what the other was like when it came to our living habits and such.  But that wasn't the case this year.  We had problems when it came to being inflexible about certain habits, openly not liking friends, experiencing the affects of each other's stress, and balancing... everything.  This year's living situation took a lot more work, but I'm glad that I went through it.  I think that it was good for me.

3. I Took Some Risks In Classes.  I took a public speaking class in the fall.  I consider myself to be a pretty strong writer, but awful at public speaking, even if 'public speaking' is just in front of one person.  I struggle to figure out how to say what I want to say often.  While I can't say that I'm the best public speaker that anyone has ever heard, I can say that I've improved a little.  I even got a little reassurance when everyone told me that the best speech I gave was when I was teaching the class about the community of people surrounding Harry Potter.  I'm very proud of that speech.  I'll never speak on a political level and I'll never be to the level that my professor is at, but if I can present information well and in an interesting way, I say that I'm doing okay, given what I want to do with the rest of my life.  This particular speech class also helped me learn to communicate with my professors.  In the beginning, we were required to turn in a transcript for every speech.  After the first speech I wrote about my Nani, a speech I'm proud of on paper, I asked my professor if I could do without the transcript, realizing that I was trying to memorize what I had written.  I did much better with a heavy outline.

4. Got The Ball Rolling For Study Abroad.  I filled out my application, I've done my running around to obtain various documents and signatures (still doing that, actually... super last-minute) that are needed before my departure, I bought my plane tickets, I've prepped this blog, met with one of the girls who will also be going on the trip with me... putting aside the fact that I'm not nearly ready to pack yet, I could probably be prepared to leave for the Netherlands in a week or two.

5. I'm Starting An Honors Project For The English Department.  A new project was created for English majors to complete, should they choose to.  Students can write research papers, works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, etc. and work on it one year leading up to their graduation.  So that's what I'm going to do.  I've met with people who are willing to help me write what I want to write and I've started gathering ideas on how to write what I want to write.  I've also though about what I want to write about.  I want to write a nonfiction something (right now, the plan is a memoir) about my study abroad experience in the Netherlands this fall.  Since I haven't experienced it yet, I can't make any solid decisions.

6. Made The Dean's List.  This is the first time that I've done this since I started college.  Last semester, I earned all A's and A-'s in my classes resulting in a GPA of at least 3.667 for the semester.  I'm really happy with this result because there were classes where I had challenging papers that would bring me to tears some nights, challenging things to think about, tons of stuff to balance... but I did it.  And I'm really happy about this.  I'd like to thank the Academy.

This past year challenged me in more ways that I ever thought possible, but I can say that I made it through alive.  I think that next year will be even better than the last, bringing its own set of challenges and things to work through and deal with, but also some good memories, I hope.  I'm pretty excited for it.

Thanks for Reading!


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