28. February 2019 Pavlína Havránková

Just keep calm

The first semester is over! Holidays passed very quickly and the spring semester is in full swing. First of all, I would like to look back at the past semester which I ended, I would say, with good results. However, I don’t only see my academic achievements as a success, but also the fact that I have managed to adapt to a new university life which is full of responsibility and own initiative. Exams, as we call it at our school “finals week" were both time-consuming and psychologically challenging. However, I made it easier for myself by studying already during the school year. After all, my efforts were worth it and I was pleasantly surprised by my results. I achieved all attempted credits and went for one month long holidays which I spent partly at work and partly outside the city to relax.

Now my spring semester has started and I have to get used to a new routine, new professors and different classmates. In my last post, I did not mention that I have each subject with different students which I think is specific for my school. When choosing subjects, you have to complete a certain number of subjects from general education category and all the subjects in the category specific to your major. However, in which semester you choose the subjects is up to you. Thus, you go to classes with those who have chosen the same subject for the semester. This has its advantages but also disadvantages. You meet a lot of new people, but it is not one integrated group of people to which I was used to at my high school.

While the beginning of the last semester was relatively calm, this semester is not. At my desk, I already have essay assignments, mandatory readings, and group projects to do. I think that I will not be able to fit into my calendar regular check-ups at the doctor, and sometimes I return home in the evening with the feeling that time passes between my fingers. On the other hand, when I think about everything that I have achieved that day, I realize that every day I put energy into something that has meaning: self-education. Studying at university is about being able to step out from our comfort zone and accept everyday challenges with so-called “growth mindset”. Recently, I’ve read the book Mindset by Carol Dweck which I can strongly recommend to everyone. She taught me that even hard days are needed in our lives and that it develops us as a person even if it does not seem to be so at the moment. Since I am a person who becomes nervous as soon as something does not go as expected and it is very hard for me to handle failure, I try to use the advice of the author. In an academic environment, I encounter successes, failures, and challenges (such as hunger, fatigue, and APA citations) every day. Sometimes it seems that the world is against me, but exactly at these moments, it is important to think positively and recall things that went well. I apologize for a little philosophical psychology and lets go back to subjects that I have this semester and what I learned in past five weeks. Intercultural communication and cultural anthropology aren’t the same. I took these two subjects thinking they will be very similar, thus making my work easier. It is not so! Both may be equally interesting, but while in one we talk about the Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, in the other one we discuss Kyrgyzstan. In English, we spent hours and hours doing APA citation with which I (successfully) fight. My favorite subject for this semester is social psychology in which we so far learned about how attribution is connected with depression. I think that I can look forward to many interesting lectures and I hope that my strength and motivation will last until the end of the semester.

In the upcoming few months, I would also like to spend time and energy on looking for an internship. Today, it is hard for young students to gain experience because organizations usually prefer older and more experienced individuals. Unfortunately, I already faced this problem last semester, but I believe that in the end I will be lucky. I hope that you learned something from my post about my student life, but now I have to get back to my upcoming assignment deadlines.

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