Setbacks are a part of the Journey

Emma-Leigh Barfield

Professor Weaver

ENGL 1102

4 May 2021

Major Project 5: Setbacks are a part of the Journey

Being an online college student among a pandemic is never something I imagined for myself. Although past Emma would have wanted things to be much different for me, I believe I am right where I need to be. This semester has been my most challenging one yet, but the experiences and the lessons I have learned will stick with me through the rest of my semesters here.

Our first assignment in this class was to talk and describe our academic selves. At the start of the year, I was prepared, eager, and ready to start new classes. I described myself as dedicated and organized; however, as the semester went on, I fell apart. I quickly lost motivation and faced some difficult challenges in my life among my mental health, family health issues, and career difficulties. My academic self was not the same anymore, at least I thought. I felt unprepared and useless. I felt as if I was letting down my academic self because of the struggles I was facing in my life. 

Along with feeling like I let my academic self down, I quickly felt like my values for my academic self were also not valid anymore. In my IP5, I picked patience, creativity, and ambition for myself and my goals. Yet again, as the semester went on, I felt as if I was letting my academic self go and was not representing the values I had set for myself. I had no patience in myself by getting upset with myself when making a mistake, I lost all creativity by not having any good ideas for when I needed to create one for a paper or a discussion post, and I had felt like I lost all ambition when I could not find the motivation to succeed. I thought I was not going to be able to pull myself out of the hole I had dug myself in; however, I was wrong.

Although this semester did not go the way I wanted it to, I still learned more about myself, especially my academic self. I overcame many obstacles and challenges that I was faced with and took lessons from them. I first learned that even though I thought I did not live up to the values that I had given myself, I actually did live up to them. Two weeks before finals week, I had to dig myself out and prepare for my exams so I could succeed. I had the patience to sit down and really focus on what I needed to study so I could pass. I had the creativity to reteach myself the many lectures I had just gone through. Most importantly, I still had the ambition that I thought I had given up. I had the ambition to succeed in my classes even with the struggles from the semester. I then realized that I did not give up on my values, I simply altered them for the experiences I was going through.

Within this semester and this class, I also learned more about how to be a better, understanding person and how to make connections. One of our readings from this year, Student Parent Voices Are Critical To Colleges Civic Engagement Plans by Nicole Lynn Lewis, honestly hit me the most. I realized that many students go through day-to-day struggles in their lives and a minor setback does not determine their future. Every day student parents struggle, whether it is balancing their kids with work and school, financial problems, or not getting the recognition they deserve, these students still continue to represent their values and academic selves. I connected this to my academic self by not giving up on myself just because of a minor setback and continuing to strive to represent my values. This reading and pandemic have also helped me understand that people struggle every day, so stay kind and compassionate. This reminds me of the first time I talked to Manasvi about our project. She had told me that it was her senior year and things were not going the way she planned. During a time like this, I have learned that everyone is struggling so being there for one another is important right now. I also thank Professor Weaver for being one of the most understanding professors I have ever had. Especially during a time like this where I am not able to physically meet Professor Weaver, I still managed to learn about myself in the class.

This semester did not go how I wanted it to at all, but it still taught me more about myself and life in general. Just because I had many struggles and setbacks does not mean that my future is ruined or I am not a good student anymore. A setback is just a part of the journey and success moves at different speeds for everyone. This lesson will stick with me for the rest of my life. So, as I move on to the next chapter in my journey, I will remember to stay patient, creative, and never give up on my ambitions.


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