I came into this year realizing that my time at Penn State is really dwindling down. Becoming a senior is a very surreal experience, as the (forced) transition to the real world is right at my door step. Responsibilities are growing, expectations and widening and student debt is now a very near menace. I’m kind of caught between wanting to have the most fun that I can for my last year here and wanting to also have the most studious year yet. Both sides have their merit – the classes that I’m taking now have a direct relationship to the kinds of jobs/research that I will be doing next year, but there are some friends that I realistically may never see again. While the angel and demon on my shoulder are telling me two seemingly different things, I believe I can actually see some commonalities. So, here’s how I’m hoping to tackle both suggestions and make the most of my last year here:
- Re-ignite my academic curiosities – I always have a hard time enjoying classes, even if I find the subject matter really interesting. There’s something about being graded that immediately spoils any resemblance of intellectual curiosity, as I’m merely focused on what I need to complete assignments and do well on exams. Interesting topic that isn’t going to be on an exam? While I would like to read up on it and try to learn more, it’s hard to justify spending time studying something that may not help me at all. I would like to try to be different this year and take time to delve into interesting topics, even if they don’t correspond to what’s going to be on the exam. Becoming curious about my studies may eventually lead me to be a more satisfied and well-rounded student, which is arguably more valuable than achieving higher grades.
- Identify my weaknesses and work them – I already know that I am not the best at time management. I sometimes wait until the last minute to start something that should’ve been started last week and I also sometimes take 3 hours to settle in while ~ doing work ~ until I am actually doing work. I’ve known this about myself and I know that this has led me to missing out on social events that could’ve led me to having a completely different experience here. I’ve already tried to start working on my procrastination problem (somewhat successfully), but I would like to identify other things that limit my social life and tackle those head on – so that I can be the one at Café, instead of just the one walking by.
I definitely feel pressure to have this be my best year yet, as I know that I’ll regret it if I don’t. By pursuing these two goals, I hope to be able to live the best of both worlds this year and have a successful, but memorable last year at Penn State.