Things I Learned from My Last Semester of College

As I’m finishing up my last semester at Fresno State, I have been forced out of my comfort zone thanks to one well-known professor, Dr. Rice. He encourages us to try new things and truly ‘think about how you think about things’ as he famously says. We’ve been taught to do things a certain way and to color within the lines throughout our schooling, but he pushes us to throw that out the window and color outside the lines.

Lesson 1: I can do anything with a little ingenuity (and help from my dad)

One of my projects was to make something creative and marketable out of an old pallet of wood. Now I’m no woodworker, nor have I ever used a saw in my life, but here I was, tasked to create something from an old pallet of wood. I’ll be honest, I have limited woodworking skills, but I enlisted help from my father who is incredibly handy with power tools (Dads always save the day, right?)

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Here’s my shoe rack in all its glory!

Once I knew my handy-dandy father was on board, I felt a little more confident and started to brainstorm ideas. (FYI, if you go on Pinterest and search Wood Pallet DIY, there are a TON of cool ideas.) After hours on Pinterest and Google and looking at some great ideas, I decided to make something that I thought I would actually use: a shoe rack! I could kill two birds with one stone, not only would I get a project done; I would also make a new home for my excessive shoe collection.

My father showed me how to use a saw and how to take the old nails out of the wood pallet. To be honest he did most of the cutting because I need these fingers to type and using a saw might risk that. After all the wood was cut and nailed together (I helped nail the pieces together), I stained it with some pretty white stain and traced a pair of heels at the top for the finishing touch. It took us the whole afternoon, but it felt amazing to transform an old wood pallet into a beautiful shoe rack.

Lesson 2: Stage fright is a real thing and it can be overcome

If you told me my freshmen year of college that I would have to give almost an hour-long presentation to the class as a marketing major, I probably would’ve wanted to switch majors. Luckily, my four years as a business major prepared me for this moment.

My partner and I had to lead a 50-minute presentation teaching the class a chapter while using examples of real businesses and interactive activities. Oh yeah, and we needed a theme to tie it all together.

I recently became slightly obsessed with Shark Tank. I know it’s been out for years, so I was a little late to the game, but I binge watched it while I was sick in bed a few months ago, and now I watch the new episodes every week. Shark Tank got me thinking about the theme and I came up with the theme ‘small fish in a big sea.’ With the theme set, we decorated the room with ocean scape and prepared our presentation with Shark Tank examples and other small business real world examples.

My partner and I practiced for hours going through our presentation and brainstorming different activities for the class to do. We wanted to make sure our classmates learned the material, got something out of our presentation, and had a little fun. After loads of preparation, my partner and I were ready.

My partner Sam and I took a picture with Dr. Rice after our presentation! We decorated the classroom and dressed up as if we were going to the beach.
My partner Sam and I took a picture with Dr. Rice after our presentation! We decorated the classroom and dressed up as if we were going to the beach.

Our professor expects a lot out of us so we really wanted to impress him. We nervously stood at the front of the class, but the 50 minutes really flew by. And at the end he congratulated us on an amazing job well done. Our classmates also said they really enjoyed our presentation and our activities and felt they learned a lot, which felt pretty incredible.

Lesson 3: Don’t Doubt Yourself

Both of these projects would have felt impossible at the beginning of my college education, but look at me now!

I can do things that intimidate me if I just put my mind to it. The next time you have the opportunity to try something out of your comfort zone, I suggest you take it because it can truly feel very rewarding.

I’m just a few weeks from graduation and ready to take on whatever challenges JP throws at me next!

Alexa Ude

Account Assistant

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