“How the hell do you do this?” was probably the first thing that one of the most influential people in my experience here probably heard from my mouth. I was in Biology 204 Lab, freshman year, cursing a solution that I was supposed to be making.
This girl quickly saw that I was in distress, came over and quickly corrected what I was doing.
She then proceeded to partner with me and help me with the lab when she saw that I was in distress (which isn’t very hard since I wasn’t born with much of a word filter).
Her kindness then filtered over everyone in class, where she would help me whenever I had random questions, and we began to form a friendship.
I’m sure my craziness was as entertaining to her, as her kindhearted nature and Bahamian pride fascinated me. We started to chill and study more as the semesters progressed.
I don’t know if she knows it, but she is part of the reason I even survived some classes at this school. Why?
Because of the fact that so many around me weren’t exactly as focused on school as I was, and for me, distractions are contagious.
Many freshman and others may realize this after a while and find themselves asking, “How is it that all these people go out every night and chill all day while I work? Is it okay if I do the same?”
During my freshman year, it was hard to stay focused on what I needed to do because of the lackadaisical air that I found prominent in some of my fellow students.
I always had to study my butt off while some of my friends got to go out what seemed like every day and to me, it wasn’t fair.
I remember one situation I had when I had a chemistry test on a Friday at 8:30 a.m. In typical style, students were going out to various parties in Ybor and some people I knew wanted me to go out with them.
When informed of my situation one girl told me, “Come on! You can bring your book to the club! I did it before.”
Of course I didn’t go with them even though it would have been funny to have been in some club, wrestling with a graphing calculator, a chemistry book and a periodic table.
But on a more serious note, that was also the start of separating myself from individuals like that and keeping the friends that shared my desire to study in libraries rather than bars.
What you will begin to realize though, is that after the first round of tests, that disregard towards studying and going to class quickly disappears, and as the semester progresses, you will find that many will pay dearly for an apathetic attitude towards class work.
What kept me going was like-minded individuals who would call me and ask if I had done problems, if we could work together later and even if I needed help. Misti Cartwrite, the girl who I mentioned before, changed me.
Not only did she help make some of the impossible bio questions seem possible, but she also inspired me to be like her. I started to help others who I thought may be having trouble.
One of the best things you can do in general while studying or in class is a person who asks questions and also be one who can answer them.
In a sense, you should be Misti’s annoying lab partner and you should also “be” Misti.
Out of all the advice we gave you in our orientation issue like, “Eat at this place, don’t drink in excess, look both ways when you cross the street.”
I don’t know if we gave you all the most important advice. Don’t ever forget what you came here to do and what your main goal here should be; getting the best education that this university has to offer.
It is possible to party or waste time at UT, but it is also possible to take full advantage of the courses and opportunities here, and therein lies true success.
Those who take the education aspect seriously will see the long term benefits of their decision, whereas others will unfortunately fall by the wayside.
As you progress through your experience here, it will be easier to find those who are here for the same reason you are: an education.
I was fortunate enough to find a person early on who has grown to be one of my greatest friends at this university, even though we are no longer in the same classes.
She was, and still is, a blessing in my life and I’m so thankful for her.
My advice to you is to do yourself a favor and find your Misti Cartwright and stick to them. Resist the urge to be distracted from your goals and seek out those who are serious about education.
I promise you, that you won’t regret it.
Also, be a helper in whatever way you can, not only because it also helps you reaffirm what you already know, but because it’s a generally nice thing to do.
Misti’s heart is pure in that she seeks no reward, just the betterment of her colleagues.
She didn’t ask me to write this, but I did because she is someone I respect and try to assimilate myself to. So be nice and share knowledge.
And who knows?
Perhaps an annoying lab partner will remember your kindness and publish your good deeds in a paper somewhere in an effort to inspire others.
Nicole Robinson can be reached at email@example.com.