Reflecting on My First Semester of Graduate School

Hi there! ^_^

I can’t believe so much time has passed, and that I’ve already done my very first semester of graduate school here at OISE. I still have a few final papers to write, but my last class of the semester was this past Monday, December 5th. It’s amazing to think of how much I’ve learned in such a short period of time. For my last blog post of this semester, I’m going to take a look at what I did well and what about my habits may need some improvements.

Accomplishments/Positive Things:

I got a job as an OISE Student Ambassador! This is also a position that’s fairly different From the Work-Study position I used to hold at York University. Getting a job in this economy is hard, and I’m glad that I was able to transition to employment at the University of Toronto/OISE.

I was able to persevere despite obstacles. During early November, I broke a bone in my right hand. Despite this injury, I still went to class and wrote blog posts. This was aided by the speech to text software, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which I have installed on my computer. Bad things happen sometimes, but I was able to pull through. My hand is now mostly healed, and I’m looking forward to going to school uninjured next semester.

I procrastinated less. Thankfully, I did some of the smaller assignments in my courses earlier than needed. I signed up to lead discussion groups in one of my classes, and selected weeks to do this assignment that weren’t right near the end of the semester. This contributed to my feeling less overwhelmed right around this time of year.

I was able to learn from a variety of different cultures and perspectives. OISE has quite a few international students, and I’ve gotten to know some of them – both inside and outside of class. This has broadened my ideas of what people can be like and what values different cultures hold. This has also broadened my career prospects by making me more likely to consider working abroad.

I have accomplished quite a few things, and really grown as a person. I have, however, also been entrenched in some bad habits that would be in my best interest to fix. Therefore, I’ve made some goals for next semester.

For Improvement:

Work on my time management skills. I procrastinated less than I did in the past, but there’s still room for improvement. In the future, I will make more of an effort to break large assignments into smaller steps and work on them gradually throughout the semester.

Continue to get to know new people. I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten to know people at OISE mainly in class, and not through very many other avenues. In the future, I will make more of an effort to go to events at OISE & within the larger U of T community.

Learn more about fields that I am currently not familiar with. My favorite class this past semester, Introduction to Special Education and Adaptive Instruction, was about an area that I was already pretty familiar with. It was nice to broaden my knowledge, but it may also be beneficial to learn more about areas of study that I haven’t studied before. I’m taking a public policy course about public policy as it relates to children taught by an OISE professor next semester. I don’t know that much about policy, but think that this is an area that warrants further study.

Be more optimistic about my future. I am a bit concerned about my career prospects after I graduate from OISE due to the tough job market, especially for young people. It worries me because I don’t know what’s going to happen, but maybe that’s a good thing. In the future, I will try to be more tolerant of uncertainty. I don’t know what’s going to happen after I graduate, but maybe those changes that will eventually occur after I transition from school to full-time employment will be positive. As such, I’ll try not to be so pessimistic.

Final Thoughts:

I think that reflecting on one’s experiences is a fantastic tool for learning and growth. Writing this blog post has helped me understand how much I’ve accomplished, and how much I have yet to learn. I encourage everybody to reflect on what they’re currently doing, whether it is working full-time, applying to graduate school, or just finishing up their undergraduate degree. You’ll be surprised by how much you’ve learned.

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About Anna Dinissuk

Hi there! :) I'm Anna. I'm a 1st year MEd student in the Developmental Psychology & Education program at OISE. Previously, I went to York University where I got a BA Honours degree in Psychology. I'm interested in working in student services, helping students who may be encountering difficulty. In my spare time, I enjoy writing poetry, reading fanfiction, browsing Etsy, playing Candy Crush Saga, and annoying my cat. :P Feel free to comment on any of my blog posts if you need help finding information about OISE or have questions about what I write. ^_^

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