Reflection Essay

I have gained a lot of information in my first year of college.  Although I haven’t come full circle to my most productive way of working, I can better identify methods that help and hinder me.  I consider one of my strengths to be attention to detail.  I know that as a college student, attention to detail is a must, but I believe that I go above and beyond the standard and am able to produce quality work because of the specificity of my work.  Another strength I have is patience.  I am able to keep a positive attitude in most courses I take; this allows me to eliminate most of the dread I may feel when working on particular assignments because I know that the end result will be worth the grade.  I understand that professors all have different teaching styles and opinions, and although I may not agree with all, I am willing to accept their views, and accommodate my work around it.  Another strength I believe I have is my ability to handle stress.  When many assignments began to pile up I am able to take a step back and analyze the situation.  Mostly all of the stressful situations I have encountered academically have been resolved by my calm attitude.  

A weakness that I have is readings.  For every class I am assigned specific readings that will be discussed in class.  It is hard for me to want to read something that I don’t particularly care for.  I know that reading will help me better understand the class material, but I feel that I get more out of just listening and discussing than reading on my own.  Also, I only have one perspective when I read alone.  A second weakness I can identify is motivation.  I feel that the work I have done so far in college is not related to anything I will be doing in my career.  In addition, I am undecided in my major, so I have no direction.  I struggle to motivate myself to ‘learn’ because I feel it is pointless to do monotonous and repetitive assignments.  I believe that once I choose what I want to do with the rest of my life, I will be more likely to want to get my work done, because I know it is one more step forward to my goal.  One weakness that I would very much like to improve on is goal setting.  I know it will not come easy, but once I decide what my goals in school, career and life are, I will be much more satisfied with everything I do.

To improve my performance I believe I may need to change my idea about why I am in school.  Currently, I attend Portland State because that is what I have been told to do, and it is a cultural norm.  The sole reason I take classes is to get credits and earn a degree to get a high paying job.  My performance in school would be enhanced if I had a passion for a particular field and knew what career I was headed towards.  Life is all about the politics of things and although it would be nice to be ignorant to this perspective, it most likely will not change.  To improve in FRINQ I believe I should participate more in the class discussions.  While I have many ideas, sometimes do not feel like sharing it with the class.  However, I would like to be less shy and share more of my ideas.

The most useful insight I have come across this term in general is from a particular person.  He has a strong belief that students should choose what they want to learn about.  In this particular course, I write papers about literally whatever I want.  This has shown me how enjoyable work and writing can be when I do not have to fit a certain mold.  I’ve come to a realization about the positive aspects of schooling under certain circumstances.  While I will most likely continue to strive for only grades and fit the mold of a college student, I have learned to embrace what I am given, and even if it is not what I want, I can choose how much I gain or lose.  A highlight in FRINQ was the graphic design garden project.  I enjoyed this project very much because I was able to use my creativity to create the designs.  Graphic design is something that I have experience with and it is something I like to do in my free time.  Going to the gardens for the project was also enjoyable and fun.

I am still fairly unsure of the best way for me to learn.  I know that following directions is easy for me, so I always follow directions and get an average or above average grade.  I have never challenged my learning style simply because I haven’t needed to.  I do know that I prefer to work individually.  My best work is presented when I am able to rely solely on myself.  When assigned work, I prefer to know the exact guidelines because I feel I can produce my better pieces when I know exactly what it is that needs to be done.