The Non-Traditional: New year, new semester

Ashley Haberman

For students, the new year brings much more than the endless list of all those resolutions we cheers the new year to. With the new year comes the spring semester that brings us out of the cold winter months, and into the sunny warmer months of spring time that allow for more enjoyable bike rides to class, less bundling up, afternoons eating lunch and studying in the many beautiful places our campus offers. Spring is also the last semester for many, which is why coming into a new year offers many opportunities and new beginnings.



This spring semester marked the start of my senior year, and the last year of my undergrad. With this transition came higher levels of classes. These four and 500 levels can make you realize that all you thought you knew was only scratching the surface.

After this semester, I will have finished the requirements for my minor in Ethnic Studies, and it wasn’t until this semester that things really got kicked up a notch. One of the requirements for an Ethnic Studies minor is taking a class from each of the departments: African American Studies, Chicano/o Studies, Asian American Studies and Native American Studies. Needing to fulfill my Chicano/a requirement, nothing fit my schedule except for a 500 level Chicana Feminism class. Never have taking a 500 level class yet. I registered not really understanding what 500 level meant. And when I showed up to a master’s seminar in the Ethnic Studies Department’s conference room that first day, my confidence level went from maybe an eight to a zero.

Terrified of the obvious spanning difference in everyone’s language and theory knowledge compared to my lack thereof, thoughts of what I had gotten myself into and thoughts of “maybe I should drop it?” came surging in. But as much as I wanted to hide in a bigger class, I realized that this is something that will empower and make me stronger in the end. And isn’t that what school is about? We all start from somewhere at the bottom where we are afraid of how much we don’t know and everyone around us. That is, until we find out that this is all a part of the process of gaining knowledge and becoming aware and academically sound so that we can take that knowledge and bring out into the world where it is seriously needed.

This New Year brought me the opportunity to really come out of myself, my fears and insecurities of not always knowing the answer or what a theory home is so that I too can become a stronger, wiser and more confident person.

I’m not sure how many of my fellow peers have experienced situations like this, but if you have, are, or maybe you will in the future-do it! Put yourself in those situations that will challenge you completely and help build you up to be even more ready for the outside real world. I know that this experience is something that I did not foresee or include in my new year/new semester resolutions, but I realize now that it is one of those unforeseen gifts that we all need in order to be able to step up and use our voice and knowledge to help make the world a better place.

I’ve realized within this new year and new semester that no matter how much you think you know, there is still so much that you don’t know. To get to that place of ultimate success and empowerment, we need those terrifying and unexpected times throughout our entire lives. If it was easy then we wouldn’t really be gaining anything from it.

Happy new semester everyone. Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zones and become academic rock stars this new year!

Collegian Blogger Ashley Haberman can be reached at Leave a comment!!