College and the Art of Getting Back Up

By: Monica Klepper – Staff Writer

When you fell off of your bike when you first learned to ride, did you get back on? Did you hate your bike for a while and refuse to get back on, or did you hop back on the seat? Surprisingly, I believe this lesson can still translate to your college life. Just like your first time on the two-wheeled contraption, you are trying out yet another, or a first, semester. Similarly, your attitude towards your experience defined how you approached your bike the next time, and how you approach what you do in these beginning weeks defines your attitude for the rest of the year or the rest of your college career. This is why I believe your first encounters on campus and how you perceive them sets the stage for your whole year.

What kind of firsts are you having during the beginning of this semester? You have your first practices in clubs, sports, theatre, speeches, and many other things. Maybe you realize you don’t know how to do your own laundry, or you keep losing your keys. More beginnings include: the start of classes, sports teams, office hours, and new professors. A first for me was with a new professor and harsh reviews of him that I had read online. When I walked into his class on the first day, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I told myself, “This is going to be awful. He is going to be so difficult and it’ll bring down my GPA.” Despite how I thought I felt about him, I wanted to make a good first impression and prove that I was willing to work hard in his class. I hoped that he could see where I was coming from if I struggled through the semester. So, I went into class and found myself scrambling to understand the assignment, but worked against my mindset to keep positive. After sitting through a few of his classes and doing the reading in the confines of my dorm, I fell in love with the class and thought, “Okay, this isn’t going to be so bad, it’s only four years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition.” The next day that I entered his room with finished work in hand, I felt confident and excited to be there. I had turned my perspective on the class around and consequently turned around my attitude, despite the poor reviews that I had read about the professor.  

Just like learning to ride a bike, you fell and fell again. There were a couple days when you gave up in tears with bruises on your knees. Isn’t that what college is like too? You miss a class, mess up at practice, or trip up the stairs. Like the day you learned to master riding a bike, you can learn to change your perspective so that you’re getting back on and out-pedalling your preconceived notions.

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