“It is necessary ... for a man to go away by himself ... to sit on a rock ... and ask, 'Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?”
- Carl Sandburg

This Fall semester was tough. The courses I took were:

  • Operating Systems
  • Combinatorics
  • Design Patterns
  • Linear Algebra
  • Problem Solving

Alongside this, I have been applying for jobs nonstop, completing side projects, and consulting on the side. Needless to say, I definitely underestimated the amount of work I had. Despite the copious nights spent at the Computer Science Lab, I am happy to say - I made it out alive. When you are backed up against a wall, you amaze yourself at the lengths you go to succeed.

Self reflection is a very important measure for becoming a better person. You should analyze your successes and failures. Introspection is crucial for improving areas that you lack in, as well as compliment yourself for those you excel in.

With that being said, let's dive into how I became a better person after the previous semester.

Ways I Became a Better Person

1. Becoming More Honest With Myself

Similar to introspection, I understand that I have flaws and have made mistakes. But that is ok! That makes us human. By being honest with yourself, you can identify your flaws and improve on them. For example, I am a poor public speaker. To take action on that - I joined a local Toastmaster club. This taught me to relax and slow down speaking instead of spitting the words out 1,000 words per minute.

2. Improving My Willpower

I used to only study only when I had to - if there is an upcoming test or project that had to be done, I would procrastinate (like most people). However, I forced myself every day to do at least 30 minutes of reading, practice problems, etc. I know that 30 minutes isn't much, but once I start - it usually turns to 60 or even 90 minutes. It's a bit of psychology telling yourself to work only 30 minutes, because usually starting is the hardest part.

I also chose to code at least once every other day. Since most of my classes didn't require programming as part of their homework, I needed to refresh my languages that I don't use and bolster those that I am currently using. Although I started practicing this in late October, you can see my contribution graph showing my pledge.

Github contribution will power

3. Becoming More Organized and Productive

This was definitely my most improved attribute. I increased my productivity to actually work less but produce more! I chose to wake up daily at 7:00 am. Even though my first class started at 9:35, I was able to plan my schedule for the day/week, resolve my TODO list, eat breakfast, and fit in a 20 minute meditation session. Alongside this, I was able to develop an orginization structure. I loosely based my schedule off of How to Become a Straight-A Student: The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less

Me after reading this book

Becoming more organized and productive

I used a gamut of tools for organization, such as:

  • Wunderlist
  • Google Calendar
  • Pomodoro
  • MindGenius

4. Putting Less Pressure on Myself

I touched heavily on this on my things I have learned from 5 years of college post, but I wanted to emphasize how important this was. Being satisfied with my grades knowing that I tried my hardest was revelating. In the real world, I know that I will succeed because I try my hardest at things and my results shine on that. There are so many studies done relating stress and pressure that show that it is self-destructive. I'm 22 years old - I don't need crow's feet or gray hair any time soon.

Final Reflections

I am assured that the fall semester helped me in many ways. By continuing these practices and incrementally improving on those that I am weak on - I will become a better 'me', and that's all that I can hope for.