Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reflection on First Year

One down, several to go. In some ways it felt like it would never be over, and now my first year of university is complete.
8 months
8 classes
8 final exams
8 midterms (which is weird because two classes didn't have midterms but two had two so it still comes to eight)
7 papers
6 different profs
countless new friends and memories.

I'm tired. Mentally and physically exhausted. I am already enjoying the break. Enjoying being able to read what I want and watch what I want or just hang out online or with friends without feeling guilty because I have readings to do or papers to write. I leave for Quebec in three weeks and that will school as well but different. I'm also looking at the classes I want to take next year so even though I've only just finished this year, I'm getting excited for September. Still, I'm glad it's four months away.

I'm excited for Quebec and all that will hold (by the way, if any of my readers don't know what I'm referring to, please comment and I'll recap it) but I'm really, really looking forward to July and August when I'm back home in Waterloo and able to explore more. Between now and when I leave I am working a fair bit, which is nice. I need the money. It's tiring too though. Especially the eight hour days. Starbucks is very physical and I come home very tired each night. I am enjoying that as well though.

But this is supposed to be a post about my first year, not what's coming. So what did I take?
Latin 101
French 102
Geography 102 (Intro to Human Geography)
History 102 (Middle Ages 1100-1350AD)
History 111 (Canada Before Confederation)
History 112 (Canada After Confederation)
North American Studies 101 (Intro to NA Studies)
North American Studies 202 (Narrative, Place and Identity)

I am a declared History Major. I've really, really enjoyed the North American courses though so I actually recently changed it to a double major in History and North America with the Canadian focus. I'm meeting with the NA advisor next week to make sure that I'm on track but for now that's the way I want to go. I'm also considering a minor in French. My time in Quebec will really help me increase my knowledge and I can make a better decision after that. It compliments my other courses and will really help with future job opportunities though so I'd really like to continue with it.

I've learned a few things this year about taking languages. (this is the reflection part of this post) For History and NA all I had to do was keep up with the readings, attend lectures and write papers. For languages a lot more practice is required. Showing up isn't enough and I know I didn't put enough effort into it. My plan next year is to engage with the prof a lot more. They have office hours, I plan to use them to help me establish proper study habits. The biggest reason I procrastinate on anything is if I don't understand or don't know how to approach something. I know that about myself yet I let the year slip by without really doing anything about it. I did a bit for Latin near the end but it was too little too late. Even with my time in Quebec I intend to work on this.

As for how to do better with my other classes, getting and reading books or research documents earlier will really help. Other than that, I have room for improvement on study skills but I know I did even better second semester than first. Mostly I just want to have fun again and enjoy the ride, cause what a ride it is!


Dirt Road Quilter said...

Congratulations on a successful first year! Bet it feels good! My daughter still has 3 more weeks. Y'all finish up early! Hope you get to take some time to catch up on non-school pursuits a bit. DD always has her nose stuck in a textbook and she too misses her 'reading for fun' time.

Veronica said...

Well done!! Now, I need to have the update on Quebec :)

Things to Do said...

Congratulations! The end of school year was just such a relief for me. I could watch TV without starting at a computer cursing my writing and I could read whatever books I wanted. When I wanted. Congrats again!!!