What I Learned This Semester

Another semester has finally come to an end. As I get older and progress through my university years, there are more and more things I learn. The lessons aren't all about computers and technology, but also about life, adapting with society, and so much more.

No, this isn't another assignment that I have to do to pass a subject. This post is purely from me, who want to share what I've learned so far this semester - fourth semester. If you ask why... Well, I can only say that in my opinion, this semester is probably the hardest I've ever gone through yet. There are so much things I've learned.

If you're interested, then you're welcome to head through the break and read the rest of my post.

Management is Key

Everybody knows that good management is the key to good, organized life. Theoretically, everybody wants it and it's easy to implement. Unfortunately, in real life, it's not that easy. Most of us humans, like it or not, are plagued by laziness, which makes us procrastinate over and over again. That, I learned in this semester.

As I approached the end of the semester, so did the deadlines. I didn't have final tests this semester but instead, I had final projects. Final projects are done in group, and fortunately my group is the same across few subjects, which makes things easier. One interesting thing is that though done in groups, it's difficult to split one project to many people. It's much easier to go 'solo', although it sounds very individualistic. If you don't like going 'solo', then perhaps 'taking the majority' is the right term for you.

I used the "Right Man for The Right Job" principle I learned in the second semester to split projects to each of my group, so if we meet up, we're working on multiple projects at the same time. For example, I understand PHP Language better than everybody else in my group, so I took the Web Technology project. My other group member is an expert in Visual Basic, so he took the projects which need Visual Basic, and so on. Like I said earlier, it wasn't 'going solo', but rather 'taking the majority'. My group members are fantastic and very helpful when it comes to giving ideas and suggestions for the projects, so we often discuss about what we want to add to each projects.

Aside from managing human resources, time management is also essential not to our college life, but also our daily life. One mistake I did is procrastinate doing the projects until approximately 2 weeks before the deadline. Once again, my laziness is to blame for this mayhem. The result of this time mismanagement is that me and my group members had to stay up all night in a 24-hour restaurant to work on the projects. If you're asking which restaurant I chose, its logo consists of red and yellow color. No reason, it's just the nearest 24-hour restaurant to our homes.

The result? Well, it's quite worth the hard work. I've done presenting everything yesterday, and I'm pretty confident to say that it's satisfactory. So, the lesson to learn here is that management is the key to leading a good life. However, if you want that sentence to be true, you'll have to set aside your laziness and stay with your plan. All of us have great management capabilities, but we're often set back by our own laziness. It's up to us to cast away that laziness.

Courage is All You Need

Sometimes, Courage is All That You Need
From the beginning, I've always had the following belief: If you want to learn about computers, then you got to have the courage to do it. Most people I've met, who aren't tech-savvy, had the same problem: lack of courage. Additionally, some of them just don't want to get in a mess they don't want to clean up. In this fourth semester, I've learned that the belief I have might just be correct.

Taking the Web Technology project, I was challenged to come up with non-standard features for my website. Of course, though my lecturer taught me so many 'non-standard' web plugins, I'm not quite motivated to 'get out of the box'. No, it's not the lecturer's fault, but mine. However, this is where the second lesson came up. In the computer world, doing something new requires courage. Yes, courage, because not only we're risking our software and/or hardware, but also because we don't want to get in trouble. I may sound exaggerating, but that's the truth I've seen so far.

So, I decided to use a few PHP plugins and scripts such as PHP Mail, Number Formats, and mess around with AJAX, JSON, and XML. Some of them worked like a charm, some of them worked offline but not online, and the rest ended as complete failure. But heck, that's alright. We're humans and we make mistakes. Don't worry if you fail. That means you have a chance to learn more about the subject, and it's much better compared to just sit in the box all day.

So again, you need courage in order to advance--well, not only in Informatics, but also in your daily life. Mistakes are made, yes... but you'll be able to fix most of them. Don't worry about getting dirty; you can clean it up later. But please, don't misinterpret my words. Yes, most of the troubles are fixable, but that doesn't mean you can be reckless. Be smart, and think before you do. There's a small difference between courage and utter stupidity.

Just Do It

Change Yourself as A Start
Yeah, yeah... I know I might get sued for taking a slogan out of a famous sports goods company but what the heck. The slogan has some true meaning in it. What's the meaning? Well, I'm going to explain it to you right now.

Have you ever felt doubtful about doing something? Usually, it's something new; something you've never done before. Often you have that fear of failure; the fear of doing something new--to change. Well, in this semester, I've got so many of that... and even for the next two semesters, that fear will plague me.

When the time comes, we have to make a decision... but unfortunately, such decision is usually what's best for our future, but not for our heart. So, when I got into this problem, I decided that I might just do it. Yes, I mean DO OUR BEST AT IT. I didn't care how it was going to turn out, but all I knew was just that those projects would need to be finished in just a few weeks, and finished well. And you know what? I and my amazing group members managed to do it 4 days before the actual deadline. Yes, FOUR COMPLETE DAYS. Our group was among the first to present our projects at the lecturer. Fortunately, the outcome was worth our extended effort... and as a bonus, we're given 4 days off when everyone else just started doing their projects.

So, to summarize, I learned a new motto "Just Do It". It's actually meant to be "Just Do Your Best At It", but the former is much easier to remember. If you do your best at something even though you don't like it, chances are, you're going to have a change of heart. Don't feel bad, it's actually a good thing. Quoting Steve Jobs, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”. He was completely correct, you know?

Socialize

Socializing is A Must in College
This... is probably the hardest lesson I've learned so far. Frankly, I'm not a talkative person, and although I tend to create conversation with someone I don't know, I'm generally a man with few words. I don't speak unless I need to, or unless I have my friends with me. However, it seems like God didn't agree with that particular trait of mine, as I had to assume the leader position in a particular organization.

If you don't know already, college is supposed to be your tool to build a network of friends and colleagues. Being appointed as a leader could either be a curse or a blessing. A curse, because of the great burden placed on my back and a blessing, because this is an extraordinary chance to learn about leadership. However, with the three points above, I think I might be able to manage. Additionally, good ability to socialize will be a great help when leading an organization. That's why I think I'm going to be more open, to be more talkative. Although it's fine to fail, it doesn't mean that you always fail. Sometimes there's an urge to grab success, no?

Okay, I think that's all I've learned this semester aside from my lecture subjects. It may seem few, I admit, but I think it's going to give a considerable impact towards my future. Experience is the best teacher, they say... and they say it correctly. Finally, I hope that my four lessons could help you with anything. If not, then thanks for reading and you've just helped me get off something off my chest. So once again, thanks for reading and I hope to see you again soon! :D

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