Gnats are tiny insects that annoy us. For the most part they are harmless and we can carry on successfully with whatever we are doing in spite of their presence. Gnats are what I like to call all the little stuff that annoys us that we encounter all the time. Nothing major just stuff that-if you will pardon the pun-bugs us.

I figure since this is MY STORY I may as well share some of my college life gnats with you.

hatena-1184896__180Very annoying for me have been the things that no one tells us about directly. In fact, there are things that I have no idea HOW other students know about them. No one told me about Senior Seminar and Capstone papers. Every now and then a Capstone paper would be vaguely mentioned but I had no idea what it involved.  I also had no idea what would be involved in doing an Honors Senior Seminar until it was too late in my student career to participate in it-even though I was qualified to take the course.

On the same note, I found out yesterday that one has to take a GRE exam in order to possibly be accepted into the Master’s Degree program.  Never heard of it before.  I found out what it is by doing some online research this morning. Now that I have found out what it involves it seems highly unlikely I will be able to go further with my education, graduate school won’t be happening for me. Perhaps if I had been given more information-or in fact, ANY information-I could have found a way to study up on the Math part-which is what will prevent me from having a high enough score on the exam to be considered for the Master’s Degree program.

Should I have asked questions about these things??? Absolutely! But I didn’t know I needed to ask them. I ignorantly assumed that I would be told what I needed to know. NOTE TO ANYONE READING THIS: ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS WHEN YOU MEET WITH YOUR ADVISOR!!!!  Start with your first meeting and map out what your goals may be. Ask what you will need to do every step of the way. Your advisor won’t know you don’t know about stuff if you don’t ask questions.  My advisor is wonderful and has always been helpful, I just did not know I needed to ask questions.

Here is a really small gnat which I have against professors, but it is one for which I do not harbor any ill will. Just about everything about class is geared towards students who are in the traditional college age. I frequently hear: none of you were born when this happened and your generation will be doing this or that. I just laugh it off and point out that I was alive and remember it.

And my final gnat are class periods spent in teaching us how to do research using online tools. Every time I have had one of these classes the person conducting it moved so fast through the lesson that I got lost. I would be trying to do the first thing and they would be on the third thing! This is undoubtedly a problem for a lot of non-traditional students over the age of forty since we did not use computers in school. Generally, any computer experience we have has been garnered on our own and we may not pick up on the ways to do things exactly as they are supposed to be done. I wish the person teaching the lesson would go just a little slower. I am not a computer dunce but I didn’t grow up using one either.

Well, it is time to go feed the cats, so I will sign off for now.  Thanks for reading about my gnats.

phoebePhoebe E. 
Class of 2016
Major: History
Minor: English
Blog Theme: Trials and Triumphs 
of a Non-Traditional Student...

Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.

Established in March 2015, Project MyStory is a community building effort to help students better acclimate to UAlbany and to work more effectively toward their goals. We began in UAlbany’s Academic Support Center (ASC), where you will see many of the posters featured above. We are now co-housed in ASC and in the Center for International Education and Global Strategy (CIEGS).

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