Well, everything all comes to an end, mustn’t it? I have officially finished my first year of school at Mines. Woo! It was a difficult journey, with lots of bumps, valleys, and mountains to traverse, but went quickly nonetheless. It was an odd feeling to be finished with finals: there was no longer the impending doom of things to be done, books to be read, and assignments to be turned in. I am so happy to be done and ready to enjoy summer. I currently have an internship here at home and am working a lot on the side waiting tables at a restaurant to save up money for the year to come.
My first year of college was definitely a learning experience. The course work and homework load was nothing like I had ever seen in High School. I was eight hours away from home, had to make new friends, and adjust to living on my own. I had to learn how to manage my time more efficiently to fit in my odd class schedule, extracurricular activities, and time to study. I also had to find activities and clubs on campus that would reduce stress and allow for a more focused me afterwards. I learned a lot about myself as a working student and found more things in life that I enjoy. The first year really caught me off guard but I feel confident that this next year I will be a better student and get better grades in my classes because I now I have a system set up for success!
I am lucky to say that I have passed all of my classes for my freshman year. Coming from a small, rural town - with little advanced education in math and science due to my small school (class size 36) – was surely a challenge for me. The learning curve was so steep that sometimes I felt like I would never catch up. Calculus and Physics were terrifying because I had never really had much teaching on the subjects, so I constantly felt like I was floundering in deep water. Eventually I figured out what worked for me, which was a lot of group collaboration on homework and help from the teachers during office hours. After just a few weeks of attending Mines I realized that my original hope to get all A’s and a few B’s, much like I had in high school, was not going to be as easy as it sounded. Mines was harder than anything I had ever experienced and I told myself to just do what I could and that’s all anyone could ask for, so I did. Although I did not get the grades I would have liked to in my most difficult classes of Calculus and Physics, I still did well in my strong suits of Chemistry and English. I feel that the first year really hits fast and hard. No one really expects the difficulty level or the sheer amount of work to do and once you are behind it is very hard to catch up. Even though I had thought I prepared myself for the worst, I really hadn’t and it hurt me in the long run for my first year. I learned by the second semester to just let it go and remember that I had done the best I could at the time, and that was that.
Although there were trials and tribulations, there were so many highlights to make it all worth it. Some of them included my dance team (love you guys!), my loving beau, Ms. Holston and Dr. Kuo, my Visual and Performing Arts Floor Themed Community in Maple Hall, and the beautiful landscape and small town feel of Golden. I found my true passion in dancing; it’s such an active, lighthearted, and energetic activity that just makes me feel like flying! Dancing allows me to let myself go and melt away all the stress from school, as well as gives me better balance, the use of muscles I’ve never needed before, and better control of my movement all over the board. My boyfriend has helped me get motivated through tough academic times, has fueled my passion for music and dance time and time again, and kept my heart happy even through all the stress. Ms. Holston and Dr. Kuo, my favorite teachers at Mines so far, made me feel more confident about my hardest classes, were always willing to answer my questions and go out of their way to assist me in office hours or after class. My Visual and Performing Arts Floor gave me lifelong friendships, connections, assistance emotionally and academically, as well as the comfort of a family away from home. I know that these peers whom I have grown up with through my first year of college will always be here to support me through the rest of the journey, and vice versa!
I am so excited to start a new challenging year at Mines and hopefully meet some new friends, develop relationships, excel in my classes, and just enjoy life! See you guys in the Fall I hope! You’re gonna love it ;)
Our floor made pancakes in the community kitchen on a very snowy sunday. Yum!!!
My roomate and I iceskating at an outdoor rink at a mall in Boulder. We went out and had dinner with some friends (see next picture), went ice skating, and saw a very late night showing of Les Mis. Then I stayed the night with her at her house. Home away from home :)
My back porch with a fresh 6+ inches of snow. Beautiful!
Our Visual and Performing Arts floor community painted this. It’s hanging up in the Maple Hall lobby now. Cool right?
Good afternoon prospective students!
Wow the time is flying by!!! I can’t believe that I will be “leavin’ on a jet plane” this next Saturday for Spring Break! I have family in San Diego; I’m super excited to unwind from this crazy week of tests and lab reports and, of course, get a tan and eat some excellent food. After that, two weeks until E-days (engineering days), which is a celebration that Mines puts on, including but not limited to fireworks, cardboard boat races, a concert, and lots of free stuff. Then only a month of school and I will have finished my first year of college. It’s an empowering thought. Now I just have to get that far ;)
Today I want to talk to you guys about time management and stress relievers. I know that I personally have been thinking a lot about how to use my time effectively while still staying stress-free (almost) during these trying times in academics. Many of you looking at this school hopefully know a little bit about yourselves, like what time/place is best for you to work in, how to make yourself focus, and also how to take a load off occasionally (gotta keep yourself safe from the little maniacs running around attempting to traumatize your brain with worry!).
The summer before arriving here I believed that my version of work ethic and time management were fairly good. I had done numerous extracurricular activities while balancing challenging college class academics and a social life. After about two or three weeks at Mines I realized that I had to revise my original blueprint for how to study, how to manage my time, and how to keep myself from going crazy. Although I had a good background for these needed aspects, I would have to change them now to work with my novel lifestyle. School wasn’t always from 8 AM to 4 PM, unplanned events (both fun and not-so-fun) wrecked my study schedule, and sleep seemed (and still seems like) the most addictive thing in the world, ever. While attempting to adjust to college life and the rigorous academics faced at this school, finding out what worked best for me was difficult. It took until finals of my first Fall semester to figure out exactly what worked and what didn’t, and this new master plan has really helped me out this Spring semester. I found I have a bit more time for making myself happy and my grades have improved across the board. I am able to deal with my most difficult class (Physics), both academically and emotionally, which I don’t think I could have done last semester. Frankly, I absolutely suck at Physics, and no matter how hard I try, I simply cannot understand the material to my liking. Although I don’t always understand it, because I have provided myself with low(er) stress lifestyle and schedule, I can study for the Physics test to the best of my ability and not freak out when I don’t get a C on the test.
Here are some tips for staying low stress and making the best of the time that is given to us (yes that was a reference to LOTR).
· Figure out what works best for you to study. Do you like studying by yourself in a small room, or with others? Do you need peace and quiet or do you like music in the background? Do you work best in the morning or at night? Do you like snacks, comfy clothes, and a good cup of tea, or are you more productive without it?
· Avoid distractions when studying. I know it’s hard, but try it. If your computer is not required for the assignment, close the lid. You don’t really need to check your Farmville every five minutes, do you?
· Try and plan your days in advance, accounting for what homework you will have, what events, and how much time you would like to do fun things. If you plan ahead you won’t be caught unawares when your teacher reminds the class that you have a worksheet due tomorrow, along with that paper for your English class, an assignment for Calc, and that fundraiser you promised to do tonight for the dance team. I would recommend a planner of sorts - I use a large piece of paper taped to my desk with all of the things I need to do and when so that I see it every time I am in my room.
· Overestimate the time you need to complete homework or studying. If you underestimate, you will never get all of your homework done (which is frustrating) and you will constantly be behind. If you overestimate, you will either take up the allotted time and finish everything, or finish early and have a bit more time for something else. It’s very satisfying to finish everything you needed to do and yet still have time to read a chapter of your favorite novel.
· Participate in something active regularly that is fun. For me, that is dance. I love to dance, I love the people on my dance team, and I get a workout at the same time! Cool, right? When you do something active that you really enjoy, it doesn’t feel like work. Your body will thank you. Also, don’t forget to eat well. If you put gas in your diesel tank, you’re not going to expect it to work, right? (in fact, that would kill your engine) It’s the same with our bodies. If you want to look and feel good, put good stuff in it. It’s that simple.
· Don’t forget about YOU! You are not some mindless robot that can work 18 hours a day and not go completely insane. Your body and brain need time to relax and replenish themselves. Do something that you enjoy on a regular basis as a reward for doing what was required of you. This will allow for a brain-break, making you more happy and productive when you do get back to the work. Make an environment for yourself that is good for your sanity. Oh, and sleep. That’s pretty important.
Well, that’s all I got for you folks. See you next time!
Friends who came on our outing with us. Love these guys!!!
Hello everyone. It’s sure been a while since we last spoke, eh? I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Years! Here’s an update.
Christmas break was superb. I didn’t realize how much I missed my home town, my Dad, my dog, my bed, and of course, my buddies! Some interesting things that happened over break: I re-read the entire Harry Potter series, played video games to my hearts content, cleaned and scrubbed and cleaned some more, had oral surgury (not so fun), and started working for my internship at SKANSKA, a civil engineering company. Although I am not intending on being a Civil Engineer it will be a great learning experience.
I managed to survive the first semester here at Mines. I got the grades I wanted and now I know how to better study. This Spring semester is off to a good start as well; I procrastiate less, have a bit more time to read or hang out with friends, and am understanding the material a little better. I truly makes a difference how, where, and when you study! The first round of tests were finished this last Thursday and luckily they went fairly well. Onto new material!
Don’t forget to enjoy the little things and keep looking forward! I know it sure helps me.
My Dad and I on Christmas night! We have a tradition of buying a potted evergreen (still living tree) for Christmas then planting it in and around our yard for futher enjoyment over the years.
Swing dance put on by the CSM Sliderulers team, our resident competition swing dance team (which I am a member of). So much fun! :D