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I never expected college to be easy. I am, and always have been, someone who likes to challenge myself academically by taking difficult courses, even if they are out of my comfort zone. This semester felt like taking that challenge to a whole new level. Upon arriving at CLU, everyone was quick to warn me about my department’s reputation for its difficult courses. Because of my passion for history, I did not see this as a deterrent and I was so excited to be able to focus on subjects I am good at and develop my writing skills. Most importantly, I was excited to never have to do math again. 

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I am currently finishing my sophomore year and I can say with absolute certainty that this past semester has been my most difficult semester yet. Even though I only took four classes, three of them were in my department, and two of them were upper-division in subjects that I was not very well-versed in.  I remember going through syllabus week, hearing each professor explaining the amount of work that I was in for this semester, and feeling so overwhelmed that for one fleeting second, I felt like dropping out. Each class had a huge thesis paper due, as well as many other papers and assignments, and in one of my classes, I had an additional semester-long research project that was completely out of my comfort zone to conduct. I did not actually drop out and I've persevered through the semester with as much strength and motivation as I could muster. What I have learned is that I am capable of so much more than I imagined I would be and that when presented with a challenge, I can rise to the occasion and tackle it head-on. 

As I am writing this reflection, I am still not done with this semester; I still have to finish two research papers and get through finals week. My anxiety about finishing it all with a decent grade is through the roof, and I have moments where I feel physically and mentally paralyzed from the stress of how daunting this last week seems. In times like this, I like to look back on the semester and make a list of everything I have accomplished this semester already and how much I have grown as both a student and a person. I would like to share that list with everyone reading this just as a reminder that even if you feel overwhelmed, you can look back and realize that everything you have given, you will get back. 


This semester's accomplishments:

  1. Taking on a difficult course load 

  2. Becoming better-acquainted with the professors in my department

  3. Getting better at writing 10-page papers in a week

  4. Presenting my research at the Festival of Scholars 

  5. Becoming comfortable with talking in class and raising my hand to ask and answer questions, which is something I have always struggled with in school

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All of these accomplishments will benefit me in the future and have shown me that I am capable of so much more than I thought. While this semester has been difficult, I am so grateful that I put in the work and I feel better prepared for the coming semesters!

Anna Henson

Cal Lutheran '23

Hi! My name is Anna Henson and I am a junior history pedagogy major at California Lutheran University. I love all types of writing including research for my major and fun opinion articles! I am pursuing a teaching credential to help students develop their writing and thinking skills to express themselves clearly and creatively. I also love iced coffee, Tiktok, and the color pink!
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