2021 Fall Update by Annie Phan

My First Quarter

Before my first day of class, I was nervous to start my first quarter at UCSD. At that point, it had been 1.5 years since my last in-person class. With an online format during COVID-19, I was used to the convenience of logging on from anywhere. I was worried about attending class on time, meeting new people, and staying organized. I did not know what to expect and kept an open mind. 

I entered my first quarter feeling concerned about whether or not I could handle a 16 unit course load. I wondered if I would make new friends. Keeping this in mind, I made sure to spend my first week adjusting to campus life and figuring out my courses. I introduced myself to people sitting around me and read the syllabus for each class. At first, it all felt a little overwhelming. I already had an assignment and my first quiz within my first week! Compared to high school, no one was around to send me reminders and structure my time. However, I enjoyed the freedom to decide my schedule. 

The next few weeks, I made sure to stay on top of my work and get ahead whenever I could. Material felt more fast-paced and I had to learn time management. I stayed organized by planning out a daily to-do list and wrote down due dates of larger projects. This system worked well. In order to maximize my time, I found slots of free time during the day to do assignments. For example, I could start a writing task in between classes and study on the bus ride to school. I learned how to work under pressure. At first, it was a little stressful but I became confident in my ability to complete tasks on time.

In my free time, I explored campus and met up with friends for lunch. In my classes, I fell into a routine of sitting next to the same classmates. Soon, we were studying together and partnered up for projects. It was interesting to learn more about their backgrounds and interests. Throughout highschool, I was surrounded by the same people I have known since kindergarten. While college life is different in that aspect, I found comfort in an unfamiliar environment. 

Within the blink of an eye, midterms and finals came around. I made sure to study a week in advance and maintain an organized schedule. While there were moments where I felt overwhelmed, I learned how to work under pressure and earned above my desired scores. I ended my first quarter with new friendships and nearly all A’s.

Overall, I am proud of myself and surprised by how much I have learned during my first quarter. It was refreshing to learn more about myself and others around me. I have become more confident in my abilities. Most importantly, I realize that there is so much more to learn. I am eager to start my next quarter.


  1. Mari Rodish

    Annie – It’s wonderful to have you share your journey with us. I was inspired by your story leading up to college. I look forward to your continued success.

  2. Ann Strandberg

    Love hearing about your journey, Annie! Keep up the great work, you got this!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *