My First Year College Experience: First Semester

I don’t know about you all, but I always got nervous before the first day of school.

Elementary, middle school, high school, each and every year before I started the year no matter what I could not force myself to sleep before the wee hours of the morning.

There was no hiding it…I was excited.

Excited for a new year. Excited to meet new classmates. Excited to write the next chapter of my life.

Then when my first year of college came along…same ordeal. I was up until probably one or two in the morning trying to force myself asleep with the knowledge that I needed to be up by 9 am to make the trip into town for my first class of freshman year in fall of 2011.

No more 8 am classes? Sign me up!

College chicks and parties? Yes, Please!

The college experience…Let’s GO!

Here is my first year college experience retrospective. 

First Semester Feels

My first semester was a doozy.

I was juggling things like working and full-time school and my time management skills were not up to snuff. Toss in a relationship and social life and I was basically running a Fortune 500 company LOL.

Like the picture to the right, I was a babyface freshman trying to learn it all, be everywhere, and just soak in the college experience. However, I began to learn that even the most ambitious have to learn limits.

Actual School Time

I wasn’t a big fan of sitting in one place for long periods of time.

Even now, spending more than an hour or two on something drives me bonkers because I usually have something else on the day’s duties I need to take care of.

My first semester, in-between taking care of stuff at home, working at the local IGA, lunch with friends, and squandering my time in other pursuits, time-management would be my weak link.

Truth was, I should have been in the library. Going home was the WORST and trying to study after work was like getting a little kid to leave their toy alone when all they want to do is play. 

Who wants to study when I could play the good ole Playstation or meet up with friends at a Waffle House? This led to good ole habits like…

I’ll do my work in the morning before class…yeah don’t do this. :8^)

So What Then, Glennjamin? How’d that end for Ya?

Well, I basically bombed my first semester in terms of my own standards.

I was also on scholarship so I needed a 3.0 cumulative GPA so I would have to up my college game for the spring semester.

Halfway through the first semester, I was almost failing EVERY class because I was taking Anatomy and Physiology (A & P) weed’m class (aka classes meant to help “weed” the students that may be signed up for their major that may want to reconsider).

Keeping in mind that I NEEDED that 3.0 gpa to stay away from student loans, I dropped A & P. I’m not a quitter so I WRESTLED with my ego about the decision but sometimes you have to do what you have to in order to make things work.

Dropouts Sometimes Win

Thankfully the move worked in my favor. My grades slowly rose from the dead and thankfully enough to give me a shot at redeeming myself come spring semester.

I made 1 A, 2 Bs, and 1 D ending with like a 2.7ish gpa. Keep in mind, I’d NEVER gotten anything less than a C grade in high school so I was super disappointed in the D I got. 

Partially, I blame the food poisoning the night before the exam and a first year professor who wouldn’t let me reschedule for my D in Chemistry but I can’t argue. The grade was basically a reflection of my first semester in college.

How Did You Pay for School?

Luckily, I had a scholarship and pell grant to help me cover expenses.

The scholarship came from the state based on my high school GPA and the pell grant was the result of my household not having a lot to contribute.

Since I didn’t have to pay for room and board, I actually got a revenue check that helped pay for books and other necessities. 

I was super jealous of some friends (they bought game systems, put a down payment on a vehicle, etc) but I kept any excess and threw it in a bank account to help me out when needed.

Side note: In case you don’t know, RENT or BUY USED to save mucho money on college books! I spent almost $700 on new books my first semester.

First Semester Retrospective

My first semester of college was DEFINITELY NOT the model to follow for a successful college journey academically speaking – however, it did lay the foundation down for ME to figure out what worked.

I let a lot of things get in the way (probably like most new college students). Only when I started blocking out my time did I start seeing the results I wanted to see (probably like most successful people in life).

Overall, here are some notable things I would have definitely done differently from a student’s perspective:

  • Prioritized responsibilities and treated school like work during the week
  • NOT worked during the week to allow for flexibility with school responsibilities
  • Met with professors more to establish relationships and asked more questions
  • Used some of my revenue money to start investing in either an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) or stocks

The next article will touch on the second semester and how I implemented some of the above and figured out going to medical school would not be my path.

What about you?

Are you coming up on your first semester – if so how do you feel? Feel free to leave any questions you may have below!

For those who wanna reflect or chime in, how was your first semester? Were you the academic library nerd or the social butterfly?


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