Finally, after countless late nights and early mornings of completing papers and cramming for exams, my time as an undergraduate at UC Irvine has come to a close. It seems that every time finals week comes around I become overwhelmed and anxious about how I will perform and what my final grades will be (as any student naturally would), but this time is a bit different.
Before I started thinking about post-graduate life, finals were just something I needed to get through so I could have a stress-free summer; but as I matured and gained more of an appreciation for my education, I realized the true importance and the power of a final grade.
I quickly learned that all of my efforts put forth during finals week really do matter, and I’m not simply trying to get passing grades, but excellent ones.
Many seniors have different approaches when it comes to their last finals week. Some would like to do their personal best, while others just want to barely scrape by with the lowest passing grade; I make no judgments. Everyone has a different method.
But, I will be attending graduate school at Cal State Los Angeles beginning this September for telecommunications, so for me, finals week is crucial; and for other students who are going to earn their master’s degree as well. This quarter’s finals week puts an entirely new form of stress upon me because I want my future university to see that I was a hardworking student until the very end. It is interesting to see how my behavior during finals week has transformed over the years. When I entered UCI as a 17-year-old freshman, I wanted nothing more than to go out with friends and live carefree. I had no appreciation for the educational opportunities that were presented to me, and when 11th week came I was so unbelievably unprepared, that I would walk into my final exams praying that I got at least a D+ or a C-. The worst part about it all was that I didn’t care. I was immature and had no discipline, but that quickly changed.
After a rough sophomore year of constantly trying to bring my grades up and make up for the previous year, I was finally at a comfortable place when I entered my junior year, but nowhere near where I needed to be so I can be a solid applicant for graduate school. It was the most stressful year of my life because I knew each quarter when finals approached that I would have to work tremendously hard to get stellar grades to boost my GPA.
It was not an easy journey in the least, but I will say that the struggle I went through forced me to learn the right way to study. Beginning fall quarter 2011, I started the quarter off strong and ended strong; because what’s the point of starting off getting good grades if you’re just going to let all your effort go down the toilet when finals week arrives?
I am fully aware that merely preaching my finals week experiences to younger students may not be enough for them to turn their study habits around, but it should be a lesson. While I was blessed enough to still be able to graduate in four years and go onto grad school immediately after undergrad, I could have very well done the same without the constant stress and struggle. It would have been so much more enjoyable of an experience if I only knew then what I know now. So just a bit of advice to all of you that still have a few years or even one year left here at UCI: WORK HARD. That’s what you’re here for and the reason why you’re paying $4,600 a quarter! Take advantage of all of the helpful tools around you, because I highly doubt you will ever look back on your life and regret doing well.