This article was published in the Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition in February 2013.
The spring semester brought me a challenge with picking classes that I didn’t face in the fall. I decided to take physics but had to give it up for the sake of my writing time. Although it did not make sense to dedicate myself to a class completely outside of my major, I justified my decision as an academic challenge and different experience. The lesson I learned following my choice, however, is that there’s a significant difference between challenging oneself and mismanaging one’s time.
On my first Monday of classes, I attended the physics lecture, excited to dust off my calculus skills and study the behavior of the universe, as I did in high school for three years. The professor seemed helpful and engaging, but after the first day, there was a load of homework to do. By Friday, I realized that taking this class would overtake my time for my writing and major classes. My intuition whispered “Don’t take this class, Georgia” and I decided to follow it.
Physics is extremely interesting to me, but I made a bad choice in enrolling in a class for engineers, where I was the only creative-writing major, for obvious reasons.
Physics is extremely interesting to me, but I made a bad choice in enrolling in a class for engineers, where I was the only creative-writing major, for obvious reasons. The emotional conflict that overtook at the moment of my decision to drop it or not was foreign: last semester, all my classes were perfectly picked and fit in my schedule. But the idea of dropping out of a class that I wanted to succeed in evoked a sense of defeat, although I knew taking it would be more disadvantageous than not.
A couple of days after I dropped it, I got into a comparative-literature class that both challenged and complemented my academic endeavors well. Out of this schedule complication, I’ve learned that, yes, college is about experimentation, but it’s also about learning how to react when plans fail. This complication allowed me to identify whether a decision of mine would hurt me more than benefit me, thus preventing a bad decision from tainting the rest of my semester. My hopes for this semester are up high again!