Advance: Pushing Yourself to Achieve New Goals
Posted March 1, 2012on:
Joanna Danielak transferred to UCLA from Cerritos College in Fall 2010 and plans to complete her B.A. in spring 2012.
This is a very exciting week for me. I have officially declared my double major! Come June, I will be the proud owner of both a Bachelor’s degree in English with a World Literature Concentration and a Bachelor’s degree in French/Francophone Studies in Literature and Culture. Whew, that is quite a mouthful! After a fairly plump stack of repetitive forms and a few weeks spent hunting down various individuals, I have finally submitted my completed paperwork. Two years of transfer work at Cerritos followed by two years at UCLA will now be summarized on one fancy piece of paper (or do double majors get two? I should find out).
How did this happen? I have been spending a lot of time going to school, at school, and thinking about school. People keep making comments about how much more studying I seem to be doing nowadays and how much more stressed out I appear to be. This is true to a certain degree. Now that my coursework is composed entirely of foreign languages, I have definitely been feeling a new type of strain. I’ve also been filling out applications for summer jobs, looking into options for graduate school, as well as trying to keep up with my classes. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, but I have recognized that I need this constant stream of work to keep me motivated, thriving, and interested. Too much free time on my hands, and I grow bored, restless, and angry. I have discovered that I need to maintain a full schedule to remain satisfied (although I do complain about stress…because everybody likes to complain about stress). I believe that this juggling act is actually beneficial – that it’s good preparation for the “real world,” and helps me to discover my limits. Now, isn’t that what college is supposed to be about?
I’m not saying that everybody needs to burden themselves with so much work that they won’t be able to handle it all. That’s more likely than not, a recipe for disaster (and may lead to those dreaded withdrawals on a transcript). I am saying that every single one of us needs to venture out of our comfort zones more often. How will you know that you don’t like spicy food if you don’t actually try it? That habanero sauce might be just what your tacos were missing. How can you be sure that you aren’t interested in anthropology if all you know of it is that which you learned from Indiana Jones movies? Sure, it’s convenient to look up a teacher’s rating online and decide against their class for no reason other than that they give too much homework. But what’s at stake when you do that? That teacher might be personable, the course might provide a new passion in your life, and you would definitely feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that you took on that challenge and succeeded. We will never really know ourselves and our boundaries without trying. And if there’s one thing that annoys me, it’s that lingering sense of “what if?” that comes from not taking chances.
So I for one have decided to take chances. I guess that years of watching PBS finally paid off, since I’ve begun to take the advice of Miss Frizzle (one of the most awesome teachers of all time) and “take chances, make mistakes, and get messy.”