This class, Orientations to Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, will equip you with the knowledge to adeptly prepare and plan for further higher education. It (among other things will teach one how to set goals, and what goals to set. It will inform one how to manage their health, as well as their finances. Most importantly, it will teach one how different college is compared to high school, whether it be institutions or tasks to complete. Let me share my personal experience with this class, so that one may learn from my experience.
When I was in high school, I was relatively well known for my talents as well as my work ethic. I would contribute to my community by helping my fellow students with their schoolwork and contribute artwork to the school art show (where I would usually win multiple awards). Not having a job, I was not concerned about my finances, nor did I concern myself with my financial position. Taking multiple advanced classes, I would constantly work until I was finished with an assignment. I did not manage my time, devoting virtually all my free time to schoolwork.
Generally speaking, taking this class in my first semester of college has improved my overall academic competence in a multitude of different ways. For one, I am more aware of how I must manage my time. I must balance work, rest, and extraneous activities (chores, meals, etc.). I have also learned how to keep track of my finances by looking at financial records. I have learned that finances are akin to trays being filled with water: the goal is to fill the tray. It must be filled with mandatory fixed expenses, mandatory fluid expenses, savings, and an emergency fund. I have learned the procedure necessary to transfer from Virginia Western to another college. I learned that there are certain ways to guarantee my acceptance to the college of my choosing. In general, this class has taught me what goals I am to apply and how to achieve them in a practical way.
Goal setting is a foremost component of this class, being connected to other assignments. A video posted as course material titled “Explaining How To Set SMART Goals” suggests that our goals be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time oriented. Personally, I have several goals that for my future college experience, as well as my financial and health. For one, by the end of this semester, I will study for my final exams in each class so that I may maintain an A-B honor roll. By the end of next semester, I will also join the Art Club so that I may become more civilly engaged with the Virginia Western community. I will apply for a work study at Virginia Western so that I may be more financially stable in college.
Next semester, I will begin to speak with my advisors about transferring to a different college by the time I get all the classes required for general studies in social sciences. According to the links posted as course material courtesy of Virginia Western Community College, there are a list of steps taken to guarantee one’s admission a college of their choice (so long as it is on the chart displayed); additionally, there is a criterion for which courses will be properly transferred to the college of one’s choice. Personally, I wanted to attend William and Mary or the University of Virginia. Therefore, I had to check which courses would transfer to these colleges, as well as their guaranteed admission policy. From this, I had a more concrete method of choosing the college that would suit me adequately.
Monetary management is an important component of this class, and it may help one in real life as well. From the reading posted as reading material titled “Budgeting” suggests we be realistic, timely and be attuned frequently; additionally, it notes the positive and negative characteristics of forming a budget. Another reading listed as course material (titled “Financial Aid”) provides different methods of paying for college for those who are impoverished: these include FAFSA, student loans, grants, and scholarships.
Living with my parents, I must find a way to contribute financially, while also inclining to my college costs. I am primarily financing my college education with various forms of financial aid (particularly the Pell Grant). Currently, I have a few small jobs that I may attend to and get a small sum of money (around a few hundred dollars). This, in turn, may contribute to how much my parents make monthly. Currently, we barely earn enough money to live contentedly. We primarily devote expenditures to rent, the electric bill, the internet bill, the phone bill, food, and gasoline. We seldom have any money left over for things like savings and an emergency fund. I believe that I may assist in giving my parents the necessary funds to help provide a safety fund.
This class has also assisted me in managing my diet and eating healthier foods. Two videos courtesy of Mike Evans (posted as course material) suggest that a social network of support is typically the best ingredient to a successful diet. It suggests that there are certain foods that should be eaten sparingly, but that the focus should be adding healthy foods. Personally, I plan on creating a meal plan so that I may eat healthier by next month. It will involve setting a calorie limit (2000 calories) and creating a chart of what to eat. Vegetables will have a great prominence in the daily chart, followed by dairy products and things containing carbohydrates. This will be followed by meats and foods containing proteins. I will begin to regulate my diet more stringently, but in a way that will abide by what I will want. I will add healthy foods to my diet more than taking unhealthy foods away from it. Finally, sweets and junk foods will be the least prominent feature of the food chart. This meal plan will continue until it becomes a habit.
Time management is also a key component of the required course material, and it is important for achieving one’s goals. A reading posted as course material titled “Organizing Your Time” suggests that we all have different ways of managing time based on our personality, suggesting we keep logs on how we spend our time, and to contest the habit of procrastination. To better manage my time, I am planning to begin sleeping at an earlier time than I usually do. Currently, I stay up very late working on assignments, having a very unbalanced method of allocating time. Starting next semester, I will have a set bedtime for each day: 12:00 AM. This will shift my schedule back to a more regular manner. I will allocate 8 hours for schoolwork or work, 8 hours for sleep, 2 hours for chores, 1 hour for eating, 30 minutes for social media, and 2 hours to resting/studying. This way, I will have a balanced schedule that I may follow.
To summarize, one will learn to be financially responsible, healthy, and academically competent; likewise, the course teaches us to set goals and the specific utilities of a college. It will teach one on how to be a better student and a better learner. If one does well in this course, they should do well in college.
Here are the following articles used in this reflection, so that the reader may gain insight in the course material (in the order used).