Never in my life did I expect to be seated in a coffee shop in downtown Rochester. To be exact, I am doing my MATLAB (matrix laboratory) homework for my audio and music engineering class while waiting to go to my piano class at the Eastman School of Music.
Busy busy busy, buzz, buzz, buzz, Meliora, Meliora, Meliora.
This is a typical day in my life as a sophomore, taking classes in all three undergraduate schools at Rochester (the College, Eastman, and Hajim). After the stress of last semester, you’d think I would be slowing it down, right? Well clearly, I got the Meliora memo (I promise this is my last Meliora plug).
As corny as this is, I truly am trying to make up for the mistakes of last semester and not limiting myself from the various opportunities this University provides. I took the time to look at the areas of my life that were lacking and needed improvement. I came up with three main let-downs: TOO MANY CREDITS, not accepting that Rochester is my new home, and a lack of daily structure.
Taking a variety of courses
The first thing I needed to tackle was taking on a more suitable workload. While I am taking 17 credits, they are varied, unlike last semester. Principles of Genetics, Intermediate French, and Audio and Music Engineering serve as my main classes with the most credits. Beginner Piano, West African Drumming, my Kearns’ Scholar class, and my genetics lab add a little spice to my hard sciences with fewer credits.
It is clear that no matter how many credits you do a semester, if you are constantly taking the same kinds of courses all day long, you’re not giving your mind a break. When would you see a point of view not engrossed in the natural sciences? Where are those different perspectives we are supposed to experience in college? Try to take a wide variety of classes each semester.
The simple bus ride off campus to Eastman reminds me there is more to Rochester than my dorm, the library, and the lecture halls. The beautiful architecture, people, and magical sounds coming from the instruments of my more musically inclined peers are enough to fuel a desire for curiosity.
Feeling at home in Rochester
By getting acquainted with the greater Rochester community, I began to question why I was so foolish to have not ventured out sooner.
There was so much art around the city, from the murals on old churches to the simple quaint shops and aged architecture. There is a certain home-like feel to Rochester that a little island girl like myself is very appreciative of. After spending the summer here, as well as this first month of school, I’ve started envisioning myself creating a life here. I finally accepted Rochester for what is is: my current home.
Creating a daily routine
Back at my actual home, some 1,700 miles away, there was a clear routine and structure to my day. There was a time to wake up, eat, go to school, and even relax. However, when adjusting to college life, the readily available food from the dining halls and constant focus on school work (All. The. Time.) can cause us students to just go through days where we are not in sync with what our bodies need. We go through days reacting and operating based on when the next assignment is due rather than planning and organizing ourselves in a manageable way.
After witnessing the effects of what an unbalanced and unstructured schedule can have on a person, I chose to make changes and did things that would almost force me to create structure for myself.
Tomorrow night, I’ll walk myself to Wilson Commons, clock in, work my shift, and then lock up the building promptly at 1 am for the fourth week in a row. This is one of the many tasks of a building manager for the campus center. Having a job makes you hold yourself accountable for your actions and allows you to develop a sense of professionalism and maturity that sipping noddles in your dorm at 4 am just can’t provide. If I don’t sleep adequately, I can’t stay focused to lock up the building during my shift, and I won’t be able to wake up for my weekly 8 am meetings (sigh). I’ve found the secret formula to creating my own structure as an individual.
The point is, this is a new semester. It makes no sense to understand that you were stressed and unproductive last semester and then not at least attempt to change some variables to ensure success for the next semester. Yes, it’s only been a month into the new semester, but I can already feel the change in my character, in my stance, and in how I think about school. I find myself studying more efficiently, moving faster, and appreciating my free time more.
If you are feeling yourself slip back into the old patterns of past semesters and/or starting to enter a familiar mindset of doubt and worry, stop and breathe. Think about what has changed in your life and what you need to do to make yourself more productive and get back on track.
I leave with the quote of my semester: “Make every day ‘Day 1.’ You work your hardest and do your best on that first day, so just make that day every day.” –My mom
Yes, it’s only been a month but you can make any day Day 1.