Academic Survival

Shandra L. McDonald

Thirty percent of students drop out of college during the 1st year. The transition from high school to college is a struggle for many students. I interview current and former college students about their freshman year experience and I invite guests who share topics relevant to college life. Join me as we discuss how to survive, graduate, and thrive. More information about this episode is available at www.AcademicSurvival.com. read less

2. Balancing Preferences & Priorities: Darrell Horn's College Journey
Jan 17 2023
2. Balancing Preferences & Priorities: Darrell Horn's College Journey
When Darrell Horn, an ambitious 17-year-old freshman at Cal State Northridge, sets out on his college journey, he quickly discovers an unexpected dilemma: the challenge of managing his newfound freedom. "I learned the only way to get around procrastination is if you just do it right away rather than just sit on it and let it stew for a couple of days." - Darrell Horn Darrell Horn is an entertainer, majoring in Cinema and Television Arts, with a focus on screenwriting.  He's passionate about learning, he's overcoming procrastination, and he's mastering the art of balancing preferences and priorities. He has discovered that balancing his three priorities of being a student, pursuing his ambitious goals, and having a personal life is tricky but necessary. He has also learned that he is good at communicating and convincing others. On his first night of college, he got locked out of his dorm room, which was quite the reality check. In this episode, you will learn about Darrell’s experiences in the following areas: Balancing Preferences and Priorities: Learn how he’s balancing ambition with his priority of graduating.Time Management: Hear how a freshman student has been able to master time management and overcome procrastination in the midst of a chaotic college life.Living with a Roommate: Discover what it is like to live with a person for the first time and how to make the most out of the experience.   Other episodes you'll enjoy: Episode 1. Academic Endurance, Overcoming Challenges, and Self-Reflection with Ahmara Watson   Connect with me: LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ShandraMcDonaldWebsite: www.AcademicSurvival.comWebsite: www.ShandraLMcDonald.com   Summary:   [00:00:56] Darrell Horn is a freshman at California State University, Northridge. His major is cinema and television arts, which is a film major. He is in the screenwriting division, where he writes scripts. He also wants to be an entertainer.   [00:02:54] In terms of high school, I will say that it prepared me more mentally and socially rather than academically. What has taken you by surprise in terms of college? I can do basically almost anything I want at any time without repercussions.   [00:10:18] My biggest weakness right now is trying to balance. On one side, I have myself as a student, which I hold that top priority. The other side, I have my personal, ambitious goals. When you mix want with have, it's kind of tricky.   [00:12:22] College has taught him that he's good at socializing with people. It also made him realize that he can convince people to help him achieve his aims. If you want to get far in life, you have to know how to get people to say yes.   [00:14:22] On my first night of moving in, I got locked out of my dorm room. That's when I really started to think, I'm really on my own with this. It's one of the quickest eye openers I've ever had. How did it feel knowing that you had the liberty to come and go as you please?   [00:16:25] Is this experience what you thought it would be? Kind of and kind of not at the same time. Has it been what you expected? It did kind of open my eyes as to what I really need to prioritize.   [00:17:31] Where do you turn for emotional support? Really? I don't really turn to anybody. I know how to control my emotion and how to filter it to a point. At least my roommate has helped me in that sort of way.   [00:18:37] In dorms, do they do any kind of personality profile to match you up? Where do you like to study mainly? The dorms have a study room in here, and I studied in the library. Have you had an experience where you felt overwhelmed? If so, how did you handle it?   [00:26:16] Darrell has started his own entertainment and record label. "I find more successes from my ambitious side rather than my student side," he says. Do you do anything to celebrate your wins?   [00:29:00] Are there any students who you went to high school with that are at the same university that you're at? If you were to go back to your high school and give a presentation, what would you say to that audience? Think about what you'll be doing ten years from now.   [00:33:09] Darrell: You're definitely going to make mistakes. The only thing you can really control is how you bounce back from those mistakes. That's really the deciding factor in who you become. Shandra: Maybe at the end of your freshman year, you can come back and let us know how the entire first year went.   [00:34:40] That's it for today on Academic Survival. If you want to share your story on how you survived your freshman year of college, you can reach me at info at shandralmcdonald.com. Back next week for more ways to survive your academic journey.
1. Academic Endurance, Overcoming Challenges, and Self-Reflection with Ahmara Watson
Dec 31 2022
1. Academic Endurance, Overcoming Challenges, and Self-Reflection with Ahmara Watson
Academic Survival Podcast Struggling to balance a double major, a job, and extracurriculars, Ahmara Watson discovers her strength is endurance as she navigates her way through the overwhelming expectations of college life."Knowing what you can get out of it helps push you through. I think that being able to overwork myself and power through, even when I'm tired or overwhelmed, has been a strength that I've discovered in college." Ahmara Watson is a 2nd-year student at San Diego State University (SDSU) double majoring in Criminal Justice and Psychology. She works part-time at the police department and is involved in the Criminal Justice Association and Young Life clubs. She was surprised to learn that she was capable of double majoring, and is thankful for her father's veteran's benefits that cover her tuition for 4 years. She has discovered her strength in endurance, but struggles with test taking, especially multiple choice. College has taught her to push herself, and to not be afraid to take on challenges.In this episode, you will learn about Ahmara’s: 1. Academic Endeavors: How does she navigate a full workload, double majoring, and a job? 2. Social Transition to College: What was it like going from COVID lockdowns to a 24/7 social life? 3. Strengths and Weaknesses: How does she take advantage of her strengths and how has she compensated for her test-taking weakness?Connect with me: LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ShandraMcDonaldWebsite: www.AcademicSurvival.comWebsite: www.ShandraLMcDonald.comLoved this episode? Leave us a review and rating.   Summaries: [00:00:00]Statistics show that approximately 40% of students drop out of college every year. Nearly 30% drop out their first year. Ahmara Watson is a second year student at San Diego State. We'll be talking about her study locations, her academic endurance, and hey, even a possible internship. [00:00:56]Ahmara Watson is a second year student at San Diego State University. She is double majoring in Criminal Justice and Psychology. Watson is also involved in the Young Life club. She describes college as an introduction to adulting. [00:04:52]Student: My goal is to graduate in 3 years instead of 4 years with my double major. Is that something that you would recommend for students, high school students to take some AP classes if they can or no? [00:06:13]In college, there's so much pressure to get into the good schools. It's not just about your GPA anymore, it's about your extracurriculars. I think AP classes definitely prepared me the most. [00:08:07]I think the social environment, because COVID hit maybe, like, my mid junior year, that was basically half of my junior year and all my senior year where I didn't really socialize. Going from no social life to an everyday 24/7 social life was just a shock to me. I was not ready for that at all. [00:09:05]I was really surprised by the amount of work I've been able to do. I tried working when I was in college and I just couldn't do it. It's a lot doing both. I see why people don't work. [00:11:31]Is there anything that you've discovered as a strength that you just didn't know that you had coming into college? I think it would be my endurance. Knowing what you can get out of it helps push you through. [00:13:28]My weakness is test taking, which is very problematic for a college student. I've never once done well on multiple choice exams. It's either a C or D. Not doing well on something that weighs a lot, you have to do really well on homework and papers. [00:15:47]My primary major is Criminal Justice, and my secondary major is Psychology. Criminal Justice and Psychology works well together. We were getting VA benefits for tuition and some fees. It gives us the ability to go to any UC or CSU school basically for free. [00:19:44]I want to go into the police academy right after I graduate. I feel like everything in law enforcement is about experience. I definitely want to start planning ahead so I know what I'm going to do after college. Having a goal makes it easier for you to know for decision making along the way. [00:23:03]I like to go home because I feel like it centers me. Going home isn't just like a physical thing, but mentally it's like I get a reset. What advice would you give freshmen struggling with feeling overwhelmed or stressed out? [00:26:03]Where I'm most productive is the library. Where I realistically study is my room. I study when I have windows of time. The environment is also a really big factor. Is there a time of day that works best for you? [00:30:14]"I struggled a lot during my freshman year, but along the way, I developed some skills that allowed me to turn things around," she says. She set out to get straight A's from then on out. Had she not set that goal for herself, she would not have had enough runway left for her to graduate with honors. [00:34:49]I think my main win is that I got a conditional job offer with the FBI. What do you do to celebrate your wins? I celebrate it with excitement. Your win is celebrated by doing something that's rejuvenating. [00:38:16]You have to come in as strong as you can, morally, ethically, with your values. You can have fun, but know the consequences of it and value your education. Remember your goals, and hopefully that motivates you to stay focused in college.   Additional Links from Episode: San Diego State University CalVet Plan B Young Life Club Student Organizations at SDSU