Quarter one of twelve is over.
I knew these twelve weeks would fly by, that we would be going non-stop. But I still struggle to put into words just how much happens in the quarter system. You learn a semester’s worth of material in ten weeks, then have finals, and you’re done, off to the next set of classes.
As I’ve returned, writing at the usual spot back home, I’m finally getting the time to process what the past three months or so have been like. I am resting, not thinking about classes for the first time in what feels like an eternity, sleeping a sensible amount of hours, and eating seasoned food. Amidst nearly everything that has happened, I’ve been able to begin to synthesize everything I’ve learned about myself into a few more general lessons.
The biggest thing I learned about myself in my first quarter was that I should take on more new opportunities and meet more people, even if it leaves me initially with higher levels of frustration than I may like. I pushed myself to be in more uncomfortable situations to push myself to grow and introduce myself to people I wouldn’t otherwise cross paths with. Through random events on campus, I did feel anxious constantly having to reintroduce myself. But it was through being in these scenarios that I ended up forging friendships I never could have anticipated having. It was these efforts I made initially in the quarter that enabled me to feel more confident and assured that I did have people who I could help support and vice versa through our most difficult moments.
This kind of naturally leads to the second thing I learned about myself: I need to learn how to take productive and methodical breaks. I realized throughout this quarter that in the moments where I felt unproductive or burned, I wouldn’t give myself the right break needed to get back to working efficiently. Whether it was just taking a stroll to work or meeting up on campus with friends somewhere, I wish I did more of that throughout the quarter. Recharging more frequently instead of waiting until I could not physically do any more work is a strategy that I have to change.
Third, which is also related to productivity, is that I’ve learned how crucial it is to understand what you want to prioritize on a given day. Of course, if you have deadlines coming up, those respective assignments take precedence. But on a more micro-scale, finding out what things you can do tired versus needing full energy is a crucial step I didn’t realize I wouldn’t need to evaluate until I got to college. These considerations are crucial for maximizing how much you can get done.
There are a lot of places where I see room for growth and improvement. I do not think at all, whether socially or academically, I’ve reached quite where I want to be. But, if there is anything I’ve been extremely grateful for, it’s the friendships I made these past twelve weeks. To be surrounded by people who continue to amaze me with their passion and their genuine interest in supporting your success is something I cannot overstate how thankful I am to have. I know it isn’t the easiest to be able to go out of your way and meet new people in a new environment, but to live amongst people that continue to inspire me every day and also be people who I can call my true friends is an opportunity I will never take for granted.
I will gladly be taking my three weeks off as a true detox, knowing these next six months back will be a constant grind. However, I do believe I’ve learned enough about myself to put myself in a position where I can only improve more upon the experiences I’ve had this quarter. The real challenge will be having to navigate this new-found concept that I haven’t quite heard of called “winter,” but that’s for when I need to deal with it. Till then…
Being Noah Tesfaye #111: A First Quarter Reflection
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