Reflecting on the First Semester

Yesterday marked the official end to the Spring 2015 semester for me and many other students.  When class ended last night, I was in a celebratory mood even though I’m taking summer courses and I’m certainly not graduating yet.  There are the usual things to celebrate at the end of any semester: submitting final papers and/or projects and a break from the Warner school for a couple of weeks before Summer A session starts.  There are even the unusual things to celebrate: in my case, my husband and I are going on vacation tomorrow.  However, there is something particularly special about completing the first semester that merits a glass of bubbly.

Looking back to my undergraduate experience, I can’t recall feeling this way after returning home during that very first winter break.  Perhaps this is because the decision to go to graduate school was mine alone.  Perhaps it is because I gave very careful consideration to the decision – weighing pros and cons, risks and rewards.  Perhaps it is because it is because after six years out of the academic environment, I was anxious to return to it.  Perhaps it is because the weather is warm and the sun is shining.  It is likely all of these things.

Reflecting on my first semester, here are some lessons learned:

  1. Professors are very approachable and want to help. I am glad I took advantage of this and met with a professor on multiple occasions to discuss my work.
  2. The end of the semester is busy. It was really helpful to front load on work (that I could) so that I had the final weeks to focus solely on final projects.
  3. Group projects are a Warner staple. Even though I generally prefer to work independently, but working in group did expose me to different ways of thinking and built camaraderie that added to the “faux-hort”

If yesterday also marked the official end to your first semester…  do you feel the same way?  What lessons did you learn?

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