Even though I have to stay an extra semester to continue working on my graduate project, I am officially finished with my required lectures. I got a B in my Software Requirements Engineering class, which I’m pleased with because my professor was awful at getting our grades back to us and so many people were stressed about their grades. I think that professor may have ADHD and while neurodivergent people can sometimes be kind of good at noticing other neurodivergent people, I work in IT in a lead position so that makes me not qualified to diagnose people.
Anyways, while working on editing old blog posts this week, I came across a 2018 self-reflection post on how I feel about returning to school. In that post, I identified five ways to help put as much effort as I can into my classes because I feel like I did not put much effort into undergrad sometimes and thus did not do as well as I should have in undergrad. In this post, I will reflect on how well I kept up those efforts.
#1: I will utilize the small library on the military base I work on, my kitchen, and maybe some local libraries as study spaces. I designated those study spaces because at the time, I lived 35 minutes away (in good traffic) from campus and did not want to spend gas money using the campus library. I also didn’t drive myself the first year. Utilizing study spaces was much easier when I did discrete mathematics because I didn’t need a computer for the class. Computer Science classes usually require a computer to do your assignments. Two or three days per week, I went to the on-base library to review what I learned and to work on homework. However, the library closed at 6 PM so I would pack up at 5:45 PM and continue my homework in the kitchen. I didn’t utilize any local libraries because my husband would often encounter loud children in the library when he would try to study. When I got married and moved out, I studied in my home office, which was created out of one of the bedrooms.
#2: I will read the textbook ahead of time to get an idea of what I will be learning about and to identify any concepts that are hard to understand. Yeah, this didn’t last long. I did this for math class and for my first year of school, but I lost motivation in Fall 2019 and after that, I only had one class with a required textbook. My professor from last semester also said he was going to give us PowerPoint slides and extra readings ahead of time, but he only did that once and he did that the morning of class.
#3: I will review what I learned in the previous class to reinforce concepts in my head. Again, this only worked for my first year at school, but I picked this habit up again during the 2020-2021 school year when we were all online. In the 2019-2020 school year, I lost motivation and I subconsciously slacked off in comparison during the fall semester. I had classes three days in a row that semester so I didn’t have much time to study, if at all. Due to how my grades during that school year were not good in comparison (3 Bs and a C, and one of my Bs was a Covid curve a professor gave everyone), I was tempted to retake my Human-Computer Interaction class this semester to improve my C since I think I would have gotten a higher grade if I remembered about the title page in my first 3 article critiques. However, I decided not to since I didn’t want to do in-person classes during omicron.
#4: I will utilize YouTube videos to supplement my learning to review concepts in what could possibly be a new way or to fill a gap in my learning. This was so hard to do! I have attempted to do this, but the videos teach you in a way the professors don’t teach you and sometimes professors want you to solve problems their way. Also, why does it seem like it’s only Indians making YouTube videos for math and computer science concepts? I have found a few videos by black YouTubers, but their comments are usually about how their answers are wrong. My friend was going to make videos of these concepts so there can be more black tutors on YouTube, but her dad’s poor health had started getting worse.
#5: I will learn study skills that I did not learn in the past. By that, I mean I actually studied. I did not study much in undergrad and while I seemed “lazy” for most of undergrad, me taking longer to follow college study skills was due to then-undiagnosed autism. In discrete math, I worked on practice problems when studying for exams. In other classes, I followed the advice of doing practice problems for exam reviews. When we got the correct answers for homework assignments, I took time to understand HOW we got to that answer. All I really did was learn from my undergraduate mistakes, especially since I was mostly done with grad school by the time I found out I’m autistic. My therapist also helped me with skills and she made sure to use skills that work with neurodivergent people. I also found out that my therapist is neurodivergent and she found out in college when she struggled in school. However, she was diagnosed (I think ADHD, though she didn’t say her diagnosis) as a child, but her parents never told her. Having a neurodivergent person give neurodivergent advice is very helpful as neurotypical advice may not work.
Be sure to tune in next time when I talk more about neurodivergent topics such as “Should you disclose?”, “What to do if someone says Asperger’s”, and neurodivergent therapists.