I started freshman year right out of high school, not knowing what to expect but hoping for the best. I came out more self-aware, knowledgeable, and responsible. The journey was challenging, but everything that happened helped me learn and grow as a person. Looking back, I truly believe I made the most of my experience, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
This past year I learned which major I want to pursue. I came in thinking it was computer engineering, but through my classes and through conversations with advisors and professors, I realized that I actually want to study computer science. Programming is what I really enjoy, and I feel that learning this early on and changing my major to focus on that passion is significant. Studying something that I love will go a long way academically, because I will by truly interested in what I’m learning. Professionally, I will enjoy my work, so I will put my best effort forth to improve myself.
The biggest challenge I faced this year was my physics class. It was very difficult for me, and it started out pretty rough. I was struggling to get good grades on quizzes and exams, and I had never faced an academic challenge like this, so I was unprepared. Over the course of the semester, I greatly improved my study skills and began to understand how I learn. I do best when someone explains concepts to me using examples. I started watching online videos to understand the basics of the material, and I began to take advantage of the tutoring center. With the help of the videos and a tutor, I was able to turn my grades around, and I actually finished the class with an A. I now see my full potential when I put my best effort forth.
For the upcoming year, I’d like to advise myself to relax. I’ll be starting my first co-op in the fall, and I know how much stress it’s going to cause me. I’d like to remind myself to calm down, that all engineering students go through the same thing, and the employers understand that I am young and inexperienced and will make mistakes. I will try my best to do everything asked of me, but if I can’t or I mess up, I need to remember to ask for help and to calm down; it’s going to be fine. Academically this means that it’s not the end of the world if I don’t get an A in a class. I will probably still end the year with a good GPA and will still hold my scholarships, so it’s not as big a deal as I’ll probably make it out to be.
A goal I have for the next year is to become more confident in myself and my abilities. I want to show confidence when walking into my co-op job and I want to be confident in the work that I’m doing there. I hope that by the end of next school year, I feel more comfortable and more confident in a professional setting, as well as a personal setting.
Changing my major will affect my steps going forward. Computer science has a lighter course load than computer engineering did, so I need to figure out what to do with the extra time. I am currently divided between pursuing a minor and doing the ACCEND program. I can use the minor route to explore another topic I am interested in, or I can complete my master’s degree in computer science. During next semester while I’m on co-op, I will need to talk to my advisors and reflect on what I think is best for me in order to make the decision.