Essay Republic Writing Contest Winner's Essay
What Kind of Student Am I?
When I was in high school, there was a friend in our “clique” whose nickname was “4.0 Marge.” Actually, it should have been “4.5 Marge,” because by the time she finished those AP courses, that was probably more accurate. She was the dream kid – every teacher loved having her in their classes; her parents were thrilled with her accomplishments, and probably even more thrilled with her full-ride scholarship to college. As a college student myself, I have had to come to terms with what kind of student I am. Some of it is pretty; some of it is not so much. Through it all, though, I believe I will make it. What follows is my own assessment of my strengths and weaknesses as a student.
I attend classes and take notes. This, of course, impresses my professors, especially when I sit in the front row, pay attention, and ask questions. After all, they are human too, and this is a type of flattery. I also know that doing this ensures that I get the important stuff I need to study for exams, and, that, by asking questions, I get things clarified that were not quite clear initially. I also make appointments during office hours, especially when I need some help with an assignment, essay, or paper. It’s important that professors know I take my coursework seriously, because I really do. But that personal relationship can also mean the benefit of the doubt when needed.
I don’t miss deadlines. Perhaps this may be a result of my “Protestant ethic” background, but my parents have modeled this all of their lives. They work hard to meet their obligations and to meet them on time. This can be a bit of a challenge at times, especially when a cold or flu has decided to visit, but it’s important to work through those challenges and get things in on time, even if it means pulling a couple of all-nighters once in a while. When I can wipe things off of my “to-do” list, sleep comes far more easily, and I don’t have to make that “walk of shame” thing to ask professors for extensions.
I am a social learner – always have been. In high school, there was always someone willing to come spend the night at my house, so we could study for a final exam together. Having the chance to talk with someone else, to quiz one another, and just to commiserate on our dislike for a course while we memorized what we had to, made studying at least less dis-tasteful. In college, I am a joiner of study groups, especially for those courses that are really challenging. It’s comforting to know that others share my struggles, but there is always that one person who understands “it” and can explain it well enough for me to “get it.”
Essays and papers are my favorite assignments. This may sound weird, because most students complain about research and writing. Somewhere along the way, however, I developed decent writing skills and would much prefer these assignments to exams. Perhaps my writing skill came from being an avid reader all my life. I think that when students read a lot, they pick up good grammar and composition – maybe it’s just osmosis. Reading a lot has also improved my vocabulary, and sometimes I shock myself when a word comes out that is rather sophisticated. While I love these assignments, however, they tend to bring out my “not so pretty” facets of being a student.
I am a procrastinator – a horrible procrastinator. Even though I try to map out how I am going to complete each essay and paper and have the best of intentions about sticking to my schedule of progressive completion, it never works. It is just too easy to look at my calendar and say, “I can just do that tomorrow – no hurry.” Then, the hurry part comes. All of a sudden, it is two days before a huge paper is due, and only the research has been completed. Now it is scramble time, and that means two really late nights, at a minimum. The same thing applies to exams. While some enviable students study all along the way, organizing their class and reading notes, I am a crammer. The night before an exam will always be an all-nighter, and this is particularly hideous during final exam week. Still, it gets done; my brain is loaded for that test, and it empties itself very well. If I were to re-take that exam two days later, nothing would be remembered.
Distractions are my downfall and the reasons for many of my late nights. It’s six o’clock and I am just settling in to write that essay when, from my doorway I hear, “Hey, we’re going for pizza and a beer – wanna’ come?” Of course I do, as I throw on my shoes and run a comb through my hair. Other times it may be a favorite TV show which could just as easily be watched on my DVR some other time. Sometimes it’s Facebook and emails. Distractions have always been with me, and they will forever, I suppose.
I will never be like “4.5 Marge.” She’s in pre-med and still carrying a 4.0 GPA. But I am doing reasonably well; I am passionate about my major, and I’m willing to do what it takes to carry a decent GPA, meet those deadlines, and eventually enter my chosen career field. Life is good.