“So, What Did You Learn?”: A Reflection On Spring Semester 2018.

It’s the end of yet another semester. Normally, I would spend about an entire week following finals biting my nails and checking Blackboard like my life depended on it, waiting for semester grades to be finalized so I could brag to the whole world about how smart I was. (YIKES!) Of course there’s nothing wrong with posting them, since I did earn those grades, but they aren’t the end all, be all by any means.

I’m not posting my grades this semester, because quite frankly they say very little about me. You can’t tell how much I’ve learned from a letter grade, nor can you see how much I’ve grown as a person. Of course I like the resolution of knowing the semester is over and it’s good to know I did well, but I’m not going to lose sleep between the difference of a B+ and an A-. It’s just not worth it.

Instead of telling you how well I did on a scale of 0 to a 4.0, I’ll tell you what I learned this semester. Spoiler Alert: I think it was quite a bit.

As a person, I learned:

  • It’s okay to change your mind.
  • It’s okay to say no!
  • I don’t have to be perfect to be worthy.
  • I deserve to be happy and am capable of being happy.
  • I don’t have to choose one thing; I am a multi-faceted human being.
  • If I’m not writing, I’m probably losing my mind.
  • I am more resilient and hard-working than I imagined myself to be.

As a student, I learned: 

  • How to write and illustrate a graphic memoir. (I never really thought about pairing my art and words together before my prof suggested it.)
  • I like to write about other people.
  • Early American writers were kind of BONKERS.
  • I can write insanely long papers without completely losing my mind. *cough* senior seminar research paper. *cough* 78 page unit plan *cough*
  • To not do all of my work in one sitting, because I deserve and need breaks.

As a writer, I learned:

  • An imperfect draft is better than nothing.
  • I’m a writer because it’s who I am, not because of how much I’ve written or how many times I’ve been published.
  • I like to write in all of the genres and all of the forms. (Poetry, CNF, Fiction, all that jazz)

As a teacher (since I still think I can call myself that), I learned:

  • Failure makes you BETTER (in every aspect of life, not just in teaching).
  • A happy teacher is much better than a burnt out one. While most teach because of the kids, it’s also important to teach because that’s what you’re passionate about.
  • Not all teachers teach in the same way or in the same settings or to the same types of kids/human beings. There is no singular, perfect educator.
  • Attempting to be a good teacher is heckin’ hard, but is always worth it.

As a journalist (since I think I can call myself that too), I learned: 

  • Interviewing doesn’t have to be hard.
  • Accuracy in reporting facts is a must.
  • When writing opinions/columns, the goal is to connect with readers in some way rather than telling them that they are ignorant (even if that’s what you feel like doing).
  • Photography is fun?! and something I’d like to learn more about.
  • Copyediting is just as important as the writing/editing.

It’s been a good semester and I look forward to what this summer has in store for me!

Audrey Bowers