Sadly, since the semester is over, this will be my final blog post. I have unexpectedly enjoyed writing these posts along my Independent Study journey. It gave me a nice routine. I can honestly say that this experience has been invaluable. I have gained so many skills that otherwise, I would not have been exposed to in traditional courses.
Last week, I gave my final presentation at the January faculty meeting. One little me in front of a whole lot of teachers. I felt oddly prepared and confident for someone who finished the slideshow the day before presenting. It was the second day back from break, so I just had to jump in. In my humble opinion, the presentation went really well! I was prepared. I realized that I had done all this work and put in all this time and effort for a reason, and it was paying off. I got so much positive feedback from my teachers. Even if my original plan of making this huge proposal turned into something much more like “keep these things in mind while teaching,” I was still proud of the information I presented and the way in which I presented it.
Here is my final reflection:
What is your favorite thing that you learned?
I think my favorite thing that I learned wasn’t even related to my study! I am so much more confident in public speaking thanks to conducting meetings with my teachers, other resources, and finally, presenting! This will be a useful skill to build upon throughout the rest of my school career.
What new questions do you have about this topic?
I would love to explore more about specific anxieties that possibly triggered students with diagnosed mental disorders and see how they coped with them. Maybe through case studies? I could also compare and contrast different coping skills, and maybe also look into those who do not have diagnosed mental disorders.
What worked out as expected?
One constant that was really nice was having a weekly blog post. It was kind of my way to debrief myself by writing everything down and comprehend what I was doing. This worked out as expected because originally, I said I would do one a week, and I did! I did, however, give myself breaks for Thanksgiving break and Winter break.
What was surprising/exciting/challenging?
There was always a rush of excitement when I started getting back survey responses and seeing what people were saying, especially with the third survey. I really enjoyed going through everyone’s thoughts, and a lot of them resonated with me too, such as wanting more time together as a senior class.
What did you learn about your learning process?
I learned that I really enjoy the interdisciplinary aspect of learning, for example, I would get really excited when AP Stat crossed over into my Independent Study, or when I was applying concepts I learned in AP Psychology to my study. I also learned that taking classes you’re passionate about makes the work feel less like work. It also keeps you motivated because you’re interested in what you’re learning!
What advice would you give to future Independent Study students or their advisors?
I would say my best piece of advice is to make a monthly calendar that you share with your advisors and refer back to that! Let them edit in things that they think are important. Going into meetings, have a to-do list of things you want to talk about planned out beforehand. This makes you seem and feel prepared while also making the meeting efficient and on-topic. Lastly, at the end of your meeting, schedule the next time you want to meet. I have tried scheduling over email, and it’s much easier to schedule and get replies when everyone is in the same place. This is a little extra, but I sent everyone an email meeting synopsis, and that was helpful to write down everything we talked about while it’s still fresh, so everyone’s on the same page. I referred back to these when I couldn’t remember what we had decided on, or scheduling of surveys, etc.
Through this study, I have grown so much confidence as a student. I really wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to handle taking a class where all of the motivation had to come from me. I proved myself wrong. I took the challenge, and for that, I am very proud of myself. It gave me the unique opportunity to get to know a field that I was interested in pursuing in college, but I had never really been formally exposed to it in an academic setting. Because of my experience with my IS, I applied decided into Psychology! This class has taught me invaluable skills that I couldn’t have gotten through another course, and I will take these unique skills to college next fall. To anyone interested in pursuing Independent Study, I strongly, strongly encourage it!
Thank you for following along on my Independent Study journey!
“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.” – Melody Beattie