I Forgot to Post This 6 Months Ago

The first semester of college is over. Honestly, I do not know how I feel about it. My first semester was filled with fun, excitement, satisfaction and disappointment. An overall experience, I find myself enjoying every bit of college, even the academic struggles and challenges of writing multiple papers at once. I have met some amazing people and had the opportunity to get close with my professors. I already feel like I am part of the Brown community despite being there for a brief four month.
My first semester was a fun-filled adventure. Looking back, I enjoyed getting to know my unit through orientation week events, such as Unit Wars and monthly Unit Meetings with the usual abundance of food, whether it is curry or baked chocolate chip cookie or a chocolate fountain. I remember earlier in the year, I was worried about adapting and doing typical things—laundry. I learned that compared to classes and lab, laundry is really easy. I also met a solid group of friends where we simply do random things in a room together, such as playing board games, going out to eat, or poking each other on Facebook, despite being right next to each other. Whatever we end up doing, we always somehow end up laughing and creating great memories. One night, in a room with whiteboard walls, we drew targets and threw aluminum foil balls at circles we drew.
Unfortunately, not everything was fun and games. Classes I took at Brown were on a completely different level than high school courses. One would think “duh, college” but going into classes, I had no idea what to expect. The smart thing for me to do would be to assess the situation and tell myself that high school level work would not lead me to a successful path in college. Well, I did not do that, until my first midterm. I think high school adequately prepared me for college and there were times when I let myself fail—not on purpose, but because I had no idea what to expect. Homework and classwork had a different feel; professors expect quality work, not some paper done four hours before it was do. Professors have a higher expectation from students. In terms of preparation and difficulty, I would like to believe that I was well prepared in content but completely taken by surprise by the high expectations of professors.
Satisfaction and disappointment. Where do I begin? Midterms, believe it or not, is a contributor to grades, but doing poorly on a midterm does not mean life is over. I had multiple bad midterm papers and one mediocre exam (67/100). As I said earlier, high school papers are not acceptable. Well, I learned that lesson. At first glance, 67 is a D. Grading based on the average is a new system for me. Turns out I was close the average on that exam. I definitely felt the satisfaction of passing the exam. I am actually glad that I had a few bad midterms. I gave me the opportunity to reflect on my actions. Sure I was bummed for a few days, I knowingly set low standards for myself and barely accomplish them. But at the same time, I knew I had to make changes; sleeping earlier will be beneficial for me. As I think back on this moment, however, I strongly believe that this is a moment of personal growth.
My time at Brown reinforces my belief that grades do not and should not play a pivotal role in higher education. Yes, grades are a significant factor, but I do not believe that a letter on a piece of paper is a strong indicator of personal growth. To me, learning take a higher priority that a grade. What I take away from a course, whether it is a life-changing course or not, cannot fully be represented by a letter grade. Yes, the rest of the world will need to see a grade point average but at the same time, this is my education and I will try to make it as meaningful to me as possible for me, and not for the rest of the world.