Working through college distractionsPublished 11:54am Monday, June 4, 2012
This is another in a series of articles written by students who received scholarships in 2011 awarded through the Fergus Falls Area Dollars for Scholars chapter. The purpose of these articles is to thank the community for its support of students and their higher education goals.
As I headed down I-94 toward NDSU, I had one goal in mind: I was fixed on studying and learning. I wasn’t going to mess around and waste time, but try my hardest because I was paying for my future.
I was convinced I would have a large amount of extra time, to study and meet new people, because I would be in class less often.
However, after the first day of classes I realized that 24 hours in a day was not enough time to go to class, study, eat, workout and sleep, not to mention study more.
Right away, calculus started to consume my time out of class and was followed by chemistry and communications. Starting out as an engineering major, it was crucial to focus on calculus because I needed a strong foundation for the three calculus classes that would follow.
At the beginning of the second semester, I decided to double major in accounting and finance. However, I love math so I took Calculus2 for the fun of it, piling on even more work.
I was fortunate enough to have teachers that challenged me in high school and the opportunity to take advanced classes such as College Algebra and Trig, and A.P. Calculus, so I knew what my professor was talking about, most of the time. However, my professor is the hardest calculus instructor on campus, yet the best one, so I found the class going very deep into the material.
He was always pushing me outside my comfort zone to accomplish problems that I had no idea I could finish. As a result, to achieve the level he wanted, I put in an average of 16 hours of work into calculus a week throughout my first two semesters of college. Yet, distractions became a problem when trying to do my homework.
My room was on the first floor, closest to the middle of campus. Meaning that everyone would be walking through, making my hallway the noisiest one of them all. Because of the close corridors, I found myself always looking around my room for something else to do; often looking at pictures on my wall and bulletin board.
When living on a campus with the same population as Fergus Falls, there is always something going on: athletic games to go watch, club meetings to attend, intramural sports games to compete in and activities to go to in the hall lounge with friends. Still, there were more distractions to come.
The number one distraction was living with someone else in a 15-foot-by-12-foot room. I get along with my roommate quite well, but we are the exact opposite.
She is a night owl and I am a morning person. She absolutely loves to talk and I would rather listen. I can count the number of times she did homework on my hand, whereas, I did homework constantly.
She likes it noisy and I like it quiet. She likes being in the dark and I love light. My mind was constantly swimming in distractions.
But what do these differences have to do with distractions? Well, I’m a list person.
After the first week, I found that I had to make a list for every day, with everything that I had to do, down to the hour. Without lists, I would have never accomplished everything I had to do.
I needed to know when I was going to eat, when I had to go to class, what time I was working out, when I was going to my professors’ offices, when I was supposed to do homework and study, and when I could sleep.
I had a very set schedule and couldn’t stray away from it.
I had to pick and choose what clubs I wanted to participate in and what games I wanted to watch.
As the school year continued, I found quiet spots on campus, my favorite ones being outside, and enjoyed going home on weekends to peace and quiet.
I guess one could say that I’ve learned to live with distractions, or at least avoid them. Needless to say, I am living with the same roommate next year
Finally, I would like to thank the community for supporting Dollars for Scholars, especially the Sample Family, and for the generous scholarship.
Jaclyn Ellingson is a 2011 graduate of Fergus Falls High school and is currently attending North Dakota State University in Fargo. She is the recipient of the Sample Memorial Scholarship. For information on making a donation for scholarships contact Fergus Falls Area Dollars for Scholars, 601 W Randolph Ave, Fergus Falls, MN 56537.