Almost at the Finish Line

It never ceases to amaze me how fast time can fly by. Spring quarter is already close to ending and soon I will have completed my first year of college. I am so happy to say that during this quarter, I noticed a positive change in terms of my time management. Compared to fall and winter quarters, which were filled with heavy reading and writing courses, my spring quarter class schedule was much more balanced and less hectic. As a result, I have been able to devise a way to appropriately allocate time studying and attention to each subject. My most difficult class is my ethics class, and while a lot of reading is involved, I have been able to counteract this by taking an acting class, which is much more enjoyable.

As a result of my new-found time, I have been able to engage in Igwe more and have been attending more meetings. I would like to continue my involvement in the club because I believe it serves as an alternative way to learn about the current news, particularly regarding race. For example, during the last meeting, we had a discussion about a display that Santa Clara’s student government made in the quad, which depicted statistics and stories about the injustices that undocumented citizens face in the United States. I was not aware of this information and hearing everyone’s opinions and insights about the subject helped me gain more knowledge and awareness.

Finals are in a matter of days and soon I will be facing the same pressure I have dealt with in the past. I believe that this time I will be better prepared for them because I was better able to allocate studying time. I have also learned from before that one of my other issues was not starting as early as possible. However, I am confident in the actions I have taken this quarter and believe that with the hard work and dedication I put towards my studies, I will come out successful and end the year on a good note. In doing so, I will have given myself a great beginning towards my summer vacation.

It’s Time to Start Improving

Winter quarter was definitely one of the most challenging thus far. Even though three out of the five courses I took were the same as I took in the fall quarter, the difficulty increased. The expectations for the end of the quarter entailed four research papers, including exams and presentations that I needed to prepare for. However, what made things difficult for me was the fact that some of the classes were not as time-dedicated to these assignments as others. For instance, my English class this past quarter has been entirely devoted to its research paper, and assignments and presentations related to the overall project, whereas in my introductory comparative politics, the students were responsible for allocating time toward our presentations, research papers, and other assignments.

As I mentioned in my last post, time management is still a major issue for me. As a result, I had a very hard time balancing all my work. I was unable to make enough time for any extracurricular activities or social time with my peers. I dedicated all my time to my classes. On one hand, I am proud of myself for working as hard as I did because my grades reflected my hard work. On the other hand, while I am aware that education is a first priority while being in college, I wish I managed my time better to be engaged in a more well-rounded college experience.

For this spring quarter, which is my last quarter of the year, I am determined to improve. Fortunately, my schedule is much lighter compared to the last two quarters. I plan on making an effective schedule for myself so I know when to do which assignments and for how long; even if I do not completely finishing studying, I will abide by my schedule so I do not spend too much time on one thing and let the rest of my work get less time and attention. I am looking forward to seeing how this quarter will go. I am looking forward to how I will start to improve my time management and all the opportunities I may be able to have.

It’s Been a Long Ten Weeks

Last year, the very idea of college made me excited and anxious at the same time. However, after this first quarter at Santa Clara University, my initial nervousness has faded.
I started college a week earlier than most incoming freshman due to my being a part of the LEAD Scholars Program, which is an on-campus organization dedicated to assisting first-generation college students. It has helped me establish a community on-campus with fellow students who share a similar background as I do. What I also appreciate about LEAD is that it has allowed me to gain access to the many resources at Santa Clara and to be familiar with the surrounding area. Aside from being a part of the LEAD program, I joined the black student union club called Igwe. During club meetings, we discuss national and global issues and how they impact African American culture. I’ve met so many people through this club and even though I may not see them for most of the week, I can always catch up with them every Wednesday evening.
The Santa Clara community is very welcoming and caring. The students, the professors, the residence hall members, basically everyone I encountered have been kind to me and I never felt like I was in a hostile environment. In terms of academics, the classes were challenging, but not impossible. For instance, Art History was my most difficult class this quarter because I had trouble comprehending everything the professor taught. Despite my challenging course load, my professors were an asset in helping me understand concepts from lectures or clarify the course material I had to understand for the test. Office hours were very important and it helped me get to know my professors as well. I highly recommend incoming-freshman to go to office hours next fall!
Honestly, I was scared. I was scared that I would stay alone in my room and the only time I would leave my room was to go to class or the cafeteria. I was scared that I would be overwhelmed by the all the changes that came with going to college. Fortunately, that has not been the case at all. There were times where I did need to study a lot, but I still made sure give myself time to relax, socialize, and of course keep in touch with my family when I could. Time management is still a struggle for me, but hopefully as this year continues, I will get better at it and have more time to engage in even more activities on and off campus.

First Quarter at SCU

It’s my first time doing this so I am sorry if it isn’t great. I’m Jocelyn, a freshman at Santa Clara University and alumni from Richmond High School. First of all, when I was a senior, SCU was not one of my choices just because it was a Jesuit University. I had never heard of it until my counselor encouraged me to visit the school. After going for Open House, I fell in love with the green palm tree-filled campus, the nice people, and just about everything.

I am interested in the engineering field, and SCU was known for its great School of Engineering. I applied Early Action and knew I had been accepted before most of my classmates did. I was excited to start classes although I knew it was going to be a lot of work.

I started later than most since we are in quarter system. Surprisingly, I can’t remember much about my first day of classes. I wasn’t very nervous although I did not know anyone. All of my professors were very nice and everyone else seemed like they didn’t know many people either. There was one class in specific where I did find a couple of friends I had met at orientation, which immediately made me feel a little more comfortable. The fact that all of my classes were in actual classrooms and not auditoriums made it seem more like high school. I had homework the first day and assignments due in a couple of days already.

Midterms scared me at first. Many made it seem like a HUGE deal, while others were laid back about it. I studied, but did not study the material that was actually in the midterm for 2 of my classes. I really struggled with Chemistry and Math. I knew I should have gotten a private tutor but I thought I would be able to do fine without one. At the end, I did pass all of my classes, but could have done so much better if I had requested a tutor from the start.

Finals scared me even more. Back in high school, our finals were not very intense and most of us did not take them very seriously. From what my friends have told me, their finals were pretty intense and already had experience with them before getting to college. But I guess finals shouldn’t be a threat if you know the material. I spent a great amount of time studying without forgetting to sleep enough.

Dead week was for sure the most stressful. The mood around campus was just dead; second floor Sobrato (the building I live in) was not its regular filled with laughter and yelling. The best advice would be to not let stress get to you. It is hard, I had a couple of breakdowns, but there’s always a way.

The building I live in is probably one of the best dorms Santa Clara University has. I live in a suite-style building, where each suite has four singles and one double. Sophomores live in singles and the two freshmen share the double. We have two bathrooms (we don’t have to share a bathroom with a bunch of strangers :) and a common area with two couches, cabinets, a sink, and some furniture for a tv. It is a little more expensive than other buildings but it is worth it. I am the only Latina in my suite. At first, I wasn’t very thrilled about this since I am more comfortable with other Latinos. But I learned that this was all part of the college experience. Now, I got a couple of very close friends, a bunch of new friends and I still have my boyfriend with me. I do not go out much since I am not very big on parties, but the couple of times I have gone out with have been pretty fun. It is always entertaining seeing people do crazy things in the middle of the night. Although it is a religious school, people here still party. I’ve only been here for a quarter, but I have seen more crazy things in these 10 weeks than in my entire life. Overall, I love college. I loved the experience so much I did not want to come back home for the holidays! But thank god I am back 🙂

– Jocelyn, SCU ’14