My First Two Quarters of College


My first two quarters in college at the University of Washington have been wonderful. During this time I have learned some very important things that apply to all aspects of life.

I have always known that perseverance is important, but college has reinforced my understanding. Often, classes can be discouraging and difficult. In the English composition, calculus, and chemistry classes that I have taken, I've looked at assignments and often wanted to give up. But I have learned that the assignments aren't as terrible as they appear at first. If you work hard on them you can succeed in doing them. This isn't always easy. Many times I would rather read a good book or spend time with friends, but I have found that if I choose to persevere in my studies, I can do even the most difficult assignments.

I believe that perseverance is important to many parts of life. Just because something is difficult, doesn't mean you shouldn't take the time to do it. Anything is possible if you put the proper amount of effort into it. This doesn't mean that you won't have to take a class twice or that you will for sure do something right the first time, but if you keep working at it, it can be done.

The second thing I learned is the importance of people skills. I have always been told that they are important, but I didn't completely realize the truth to this until I came to the UW campus, where I interact with many people everyday. For example, because I am blind, people often try to assist me in various ways. I don't always want to be assisted and sometimes people go about helping me in ways that I don't like. But it is very important that I show appreciation for what people do, as long as they don't do something like drag me across a street that I didn't want to cross in the first place. People don't always understand that they don't need to help or that they aren't helping correctly. However, their intentions are usually good, and instead of getting angry at them or frustrated with them, I do my best to smile and thank them. Sometimes this is hard to do, especially if I'm having a bad day. There are situations where I can gracefully decline any help that is offered. However, there are other times when showing appreciation is the thing to do, and since the help was given with good intentions, the person should not be criticized or be made to feel badly.

People skills are also important in negotiating things like testing arrangements with professors. In the case of brailling a test, this involves trying to get the test early. Some professors simply cannot write it far in advance because of their other responsibilities and because they aren't sure how far along they will be in the course at the time of the test. It is important to consider their situation while presenting your own. These are just some of the reasons to have good people skills.

Last, I would like to offer a word of encouragement to disabled students who have faced difficulties in forming even casual friendships in high school. College is a wonderful place for this. I didn't really have friends in high school, but I have made many here.

It helps to live in dorms, if you can, because you are in close vicinity to many other people. Dorms also have lounges where people can gather and meet. I would advise anyone who can live in a dorm to do so. It also helps to become involved in clubs, though I haven't as of yet. Even so, this option should be left open. Also, there is the chance that you will make friends in some of your classes. It is good to have a social life because it offers a break from the stress of studying.

I've only been in college two quarters. So while I have learned a great deal, I have much more to learn. College isn't only about academics. Many other things can be learned there, and probably the most important is keeping your mind open to learning new things.