While it was under my control to commit to being a “Woman in STEM” my freshman year of college, back then I hadn’t grasped how different my time management would be to people not in STEM classes. For the last 3 years, my workload has consisted of excessive exams and memorization, topped with limited time due to 3 hours of lab on top of a 4 class schedule. While I dont say this to put STEM majors above or below anyone else, I never realized the time other majors without lab requirements had within their schedule.
This semester was my first semester without a lab.
Taking lab classes almost feels like taking a 5th class, and sometimes when I had two labs per semester, I felt like I was taking 6. Yes, I did enjoy these labs, and yes I did commit to this. However, having my first semester without labs, I’ve felt a huge wave and better ability to manage my time, my workload, and my social life. This could be due to the fact that I have a seminar this semester, but I feel like I can attribute it more to the ways having a lab class never allowed me to fall behind. I feel almost lucky to have been forced to figure out strong time management skills in college due to lab classes. With the demanding schedule, I learned both why and how to prioritize a work-life balance while also getting everything necessary to complete, done. Moving onto my professional career, I feel more confident and sure of the work-life balance I want out of a job or firm, and for that I could not be more grateful.
Every major has its pros and its cons. Especially as Holy Cross students, we each have had our moments of demanding classes, nerve racking exams, or that feeling that there will never be enough time to prepare for something. I say this because I don’t think NOT having a lab would’ve given me a different outcome, as most students here are extremely self disciplined and hardworking, regardless of the time in their schedule. However, I am grateful this semester to realize and be proud of how far I have come with time management and organization because of my demanding STEM schedule, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.