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Small handwriting sample of C.J.'s First-Year Student Journals, link to journals home page

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10 October 2005

I wish I could say I’m a great student. I wish I could say I have amazing advice. But I’m not and I don’t. So here’s my disclaimer: I’m sarcastic. I don’t always make sense. And after viewing the other journalists’ first entries, my writing style doesn’t compare. But this is who I am. I don’t use big words. I often use fragments, actually. I don’t have anything astounding to offer. But I’ll try my best. Just for the record, my entries usually won’t be lengthy because I want to semi-keep attention. Anyway, I was hoping to get that off my chest, and I did. Just keep that in mind for future entries.

It took me entirely too long to think of what to write about in this entry, and I don’t believe I’ve figured it out yet. In other words, you’re getting improvisation at it’s best (or perhaps worst, I’m not sure).

Believe it or not, there are slackers at The University of Texas at Austin, and I, unfortunately, am one of them. I don’t claim to be anything I’m not, so I’m definitely not taking the title of “good student.” I underestimated how horrible I would be at staying on track with studying and homework, but it’s a reality that not only I faced. I know that after my parents read this, they’re not going to be the happiest college-money funders in the world, but I need to be honest. I need to recognize that I’ve just been lucky this first month. Things won’t be this easy for long. I’ve managed to sustain at least B’s in all my classes thus far, and that’s without hardcore studying. So I can just imagine what I could do if I just managed my time better and put more effort into school.

I had an epiphany about my idleness the other day when I began “studying” for a test the night before it was scheduled. I told my roommate that I had five chapters to go over in the textbook and she goes, “Well, how much have you already read?” My response? “None.” Her answer was classic, “Traci, what have you been doing with your life? Seriously, what do you do all day?” And I thought about it, and realized that I do nothing. I sleep. I take too many naps. I take, on average, three naps a day. I get online, check, see if I made friends on, download (I mean, purchase) some music and talk on AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), pretty much anything besides taking responsibility. I eat lunch and dinner, and sometimes second dinner (Wendy’s is taking over my life.). I talk on the phone. I definitely think a lot, just not about school. I watch “Ali G,” “Nip/Tuck,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Family Guy” and movies like crazy. I jam out to music. But, of course, in all my busy schedule of nothing important, I don’t make time for homework or daily studying.

This needs to change. This has to change. I can’t go on assuming that I can do this for four years. High school was different. I didn’t study much, but I had people and parents to push me to accomplish what I needed to accomplish, and I tended to get lucky. I’m on my own here. Every mistake I make is no one’s fault but my own. I don’t have anyone to blame. I am the downfall of myself. I don’t have my mom asking me if I have any homework. I don’t have my dad helping me out on projects. I don’t have my friends convincing me that I should try harder. I don’t have my class rank weighing on my mind. I don’t have the SATs in my thoughts. I have nothing. I have freedom. Having nothing may be my freedom. I have my own pace. I have the choice to do nothing, and I take it.

The point is, as I learn how to manage, I’ll share my secrets. This isn’t something that can happen overnight. I know there are others who struggle with this. Unfortunately, this could be my expertise. But I want to lose my trade. I want to feel caught up. I want to feel secure. I want to know that I actually did something. I want to know that there is a chance that I may become a good student. I don’t want to fall so hard that I can’t get up. Education has always been such an important factor in life for me. How did I let it be pushed into the back of my mind? The truth is I like sleeping. I like doing nothing. But I can’t anymore. With anyone and everyone reading this as my witness, I will change. It may not be today, or tomorrow, or next week, but it will happen. I will open a textbook and not cringe. I will review my notes and not be completely distracted. I will convince myself that I can do this. And I will. Just wait, this will happen. In fact, I’ll start my homework right after this sentence. Well, maybe after this one. OK, fine, one more and it’s on.

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