College the first time round was a disaster. I did not have the developmental maturity necessary to focus on academics. As a freshman I was in an advanced English class and did not like the way the teacher taught the course. Because of the first reason, I didn’t know how to deal with the second, and so my passion for being an English major was sunk. I spent four years experimenting with various interests – languages (oddly enough, despite my horrific French experience in junior and senior high), history (loved reading about the personalities), and graphic arts (where I felt creative and got involved with the startup of a college magazine).
However, with insufficient credits in any one major area and a gpa reflective of unfocused freshman and sophomore years, I was unable to graduate after four years. Having had enough of school at the ripe age of twenty-one, I was eager to get out and work. Had I been at a university where it was possible to craft my own major, it might have been a different story.
A few years later, now married and living in New York City, my credits were accepted at a local university where I would be a transfer student in the College of Business and Public Administration. My husband was in graduate school, which motivated me to return to school to complete my undergraduate degree. By this time I was working full time and had a huge appreciation for the benefits of a degree, and the delight of intellectual pursuit.
As a result of various jobs I had held in the nonprofit sector or with family-owned businesses, I was intensely curious about how these businesses could be better organized and managed. I became an avid student, studying for understanding, and questioning based upon my experience as a young adult. By day I was the sole wage earner in our family of two, by evening I was a full time student willingly pouring hours into my studies. The result was I did well in all classes but one (marketing, which I considered to be baloney), and graduated college ten years after graduating high school.
Note taking, and taking neat notes, highlighting texts (though I wouldn’t learn the trick of writing notes in the columns for another twenty years!), and studying by talking aloud, were the strategies that stood me well at NYU.