Wed, 28 April 2021
I had an interesting transition from community college to a four-year university in 1993. My first three semesters of college were spent in Modesto at Modesto Junior College studying animal science. During that time I was living at home, working full-time, and then working as much as I could at my step-father's farm in my free time. I was busy, but it was working. I had a 3.5 GPA, and I was on the Dean's List. I was performing at a high level.
Then I transferred to Montana State University, didn't have a job, joined the club baseball team, and lived in the dorm. I had my first ever semester in which I did not achieve at least a 3.0, and my first ever semester achieving below a 2.0. I was almost immediately placed on academic probation. I continued to get poor grades for about a year. Then I hit pause on college, got residency in Montana, and started paying for college myself.
Once I was back to more of a stressful lifestyle with harder classes, a heavier class load, full-time work, rent and tuition to pay, etc. I saw my grades creep back up. It became clear to me that I was left to create my own structure because of free time I was not nearly as familiar as if I were forced to create structure due to being busy. If I only had 90 minutes in a week to work on an assignment, I would concentrate intently on that assignment and do a better job. If I had copious amounts of free time, I would wonder where all the time went, and I would do poorly.
For years I thought I was all alone, but today I interviewed Anna Webel. Anna is just finishing up her sophomore year in high school, but she has already discovered this about herself. She keeps herself incredibly busy playing sports in all three seasons, serving as an officer in the FFA chapter, raising cattle at home, and showing cattle at different shows around Illinois and beyond. She is achieving at a high level in all of these areas, and she credits the need to have structure to be able to participate in everything that interests her. Without it, she knows that she would have to give something up, and that drives her to maximize her performance in everything she does when she gets the opportunity to work on it.