Notre Dame University

By Adawson8 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Guest Blogger Diego Garcia,

September 26, 2017

For about a week now, I’ve been having trouble writing a journal about my transition to college. Today, during my Moreau class, which is a first-year experience course here at Notre Dame, we talked about “Growth Mindset.” Our professor used this term to refer to a mindset of always trying to improve and work harder to improve one’s goals, especially when feeling ‘low’. During our class discussion, I was surprised by the number of people who talked about their transition to college and how they felt lost and stressed about what the future will hold – something I’ve dealt with the past month and a half. My transition into college has been much tougher than I expected.

Academic Challenges

The academic aspect has especially been challenging. It’s been difficult being in so many classes where I truly have to study and work hard to understand everything – a problem I didn’t run into during high school. Not surprisingly, I’m not the only one who this has happened to. It’s important to realize that having trouble understanding material in class has no reflection on one’s abilities, rather it’s just the simple fact that college courses are much more difficult. They cover much more material in less time.

College courses typically only have three tests (mid-terms) and one final test throughout the semester – where each mid-term is worth 15-percent of the overall grade and the final 25- percent. Thus, it’s important to study heavily for each mid-term and for finals, especially.

One of my classmates also mentioned something she had been having trouble with in college: her professors’ teaching styles. She mentioned how most professors “just quickly ramble on and on about material without really explaining it” and how they “rarely work on examples during lectures.” She then stated the importance of reviewing the material outside of class before and after lectures to learn it better. I’ve been finding it difficult to do so, however, as classes here also assign a ton of homework and projects with less time to do it. This has led me to mostly focus on academics throughout the week, not leaving much time for work study and extracurricular activities (two topics I will later touch on).

Attaining a “Growth Mindset”

Thus, time management is crucial not only for success in classes but also for a more balanced life with much more sleep! I have genuinely felt lost in my classes and in the overall college experience. This feeling and the stress about this only increases the more things get harder and the more I fail. That is why it was reassuring to know that I am not the only person going through this. I realized it is normal to feel lost, out of place, and scared the first few months of college. It’s the same as your first day of freshman year when you were trying to run to your classes before the seniors threw an egg at you…until you realized you were in the wrong class.

One must just attain that “Growth Mindset” and know that through hard work, persistence, and a positive attitude, things will get better. Sure, the transition to college has been tough, but I’m sure that with time and with the right adjustments everything will become easier.

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