Reflecting on past to improve future

By Matt Pasquini

This is going to be my last column of 2013.

It has been, without question, one of my most memorable years and as it comes to a close, I’d like to share two things I’ve learned that I hope most of you can take with you to make the most out of your spring 2014 semester.

Roll with the punches life throws at you. More often than not, there’s a reason why they’re coming your way.

Last year when I was a freshman, I applied to be both a Resident Advisor and Multicultural Advocate within University Housing. When the decisions were released, I learned that I was an alternate and I was disappointed but hopeful that I would eventually be hired.

As I waited to see if I got hired, I started becoming more involved in my service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. At the end of freshman year, I decided I’d want to become more involved within my fraternity and applied for two competitive positions.

To my surprise, I was chosen for both of them.

I was overwhelmed with excitement because, unlike housing, I wasn’t merely an alternative.

I was their first choice.

And I figured that this semester was going to be my time to shine and really grow within the chapter.

I spent my summer preparing for APO to take over my life, but things quickly changed when I received a phone call from one of the Resident Directors from the Ikenberry Commons and was informed that I had been hired as an RA at Weston Hall.

Remembering how badly I wanted to work for Residential Life, I accepted without hesitation. But I soon realized that because I decided to become an RA, I’d have to sacrifice my time with APO because I would then have too much on my plate.

I ended up dropping one of my positions in APO, which still allowed me to stay involved.

I have no regrets because I couldn’t be happier with my staff at Weston and the residents that I’ve gotten to know so well.

The point is, if I had said no to being an RA, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in right now. I would’ve never had a chance to meet my residents and my staff and I don’t think I would’ve been able to learn as much about social justice, inclusion and many other newfound passions.

Life sends a lot of curve balls your way, so the best thing you can do is brace yourself. Sure, you’ll hit a few foul balls, but nothing feels better than getting the home run.

Mastering good time management doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. Find out what works best for you and run with it.

I’ve been hearing that phrase regarding the importance of time management since high school, and it’s a great stock answer when you’re discussing what you can improve on with a group of people. I knew that once I accepted my RA position, developing good time management skills was going to be a struggle, especially considering all of the other activities I committed to for the semester.

As a writer for the paper, a brother of APO with a leadership position, an RA and a student, I knew that unless I had my priorities straight, it would be a long, painful and unorganized semester.

And by no means were my time management skills in order yet.

The beginning of the semester was filled with trial and error and frustration — attempting different methods to keep my to-do list clear and concise — but with practice, things started coming together.

Although everyone’s methods of practicing good time management are different, I’ve found that maintaining a to-do list on my phone for my extracurricular activities worked best while keeping my assignments in my planner was the most effective way of keeping tabs on things I need to get done.

People get stressed when they walk out of a time management workshop and feel like they didn’t get much out of it.

Practicing good time management is a skill that can be learned by everyone with patience and practice.

It’s a habit and it’s not acquired overnight. Practice it and it will become a seamless part of your life.

College is a time of exponential growth. It’s crazy to see that with every semester, we grow faster and faster as human beings in the many walks of life. We become more mature, we develop personally and professionally, and we learn things about ourselves that we may have never known before.

Reflecting on what you’ve learned throughout a school year is a good way of reinforcing those ideas and ensuring you take everything with you throughout the years to come.

As you enter the new year, be aware that there will be challenges, but nothing you can’t handle.

Matt is a sophomore in LAS. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him @MatthewPasquini.