Making a Negative, A Positive by Justin Golden
My name is Justin Golden, and I am an 18-year old Junior majoring in Finance at Wayne State University. I completed my sophomore year two weeks ago, and although it was my sophomore year, it was my very first year at Wayne State University. Overall, my first year was pretty decent. I got an actual taste of what being a college student is truly like while joining a club and making friends in the process. The year was up and down, and due to Covid-19, I had to complete school in a fashion that was totally new to myself and millions of other students around the world. This journey was very different, and we’ll go through how I was able to successfully navigate through it.
Why Wayne State University? Simple. It checked off everything on my list. Growing up in the city of Detroit, I never minded or scoffed at the thought of moving out of state for college, but I knew that if I had to go to school in Michigan, I would be pretty content with my decision. Fast forward to high school, I was confronted with the task of having to make my decision of where I’d be spending my next 3-4 years. I graduated from Cass Technical High School, the best school and one of the most academically challenging schools in the state of Michigan. My GPA was okay, but my SAT was really high and that, along with my resume, is what ultimately got me admittance into Wayne State University, among other schools like CMU, Western, Eastern, Ferris State, and so on.
When it came to my decision, I weighed my options based on every school’s demographics, academics, whether I knew people at the schools, the culture of the school, and if they excelled in my major. And money, of course (unfortunately). Wayne State checked off every box on my list. They were close to home but still in the heart of the beautiful midtown/downtown Detroit area, their average GPA was a 3.3, I knew many students going there including my best friend, they had a brilliant culture and had their OWN business school, the Mike Ilitch School of Business. With that being said, they also gave me some scholarship money, and the rest I was able to cover with a small number of loans. The rest was history. This led to my decision of attending Wayne State University.
My first semester was slightly tougher than expected. It was different, I had to deal with adjusting to being a real college student while managing working full time and having a business on the side. I had 5 classes so I was a full-time student as well. Socially was sort of challenging because I knew a couple of people, but besides my best friend I really didn’t have anybody to talk to constantly and I was never really on campus because I was always working, and I lived at home to save myself money and stress from staying in a dorm. My first semester of college was challenging but I knew that it’d only get better from there and that the best was yet to come.
Then, we got to my second semester. This is what changed everything. With the few friends I had left, I was forced to become social. I actually was already a very social person, and had won social butterfly in my graduating class, but it was just not in my focus to connect with new people from college especially since I didn’t stay on campus. It’s always hard for commuter students to connect. But, eventually I did. I joined the world’s largest professional business fraternity, called Alpha Kappa Psi. I was one of the 20 students accepted from a pool of about 170 individuals.
It was one of the best things that could’ve ever happened to me. These people were all new to me but I grew really strong bonds with the 19 other inductees that came in the 8-week pledge process with me, in which we would do modules and fundraisers and hold events every week to help ensure our access into the fraternity. These professional events and classes were our form of hazing. Without doing these, you would be denied official acceptance to the fraternity. These people grew to become my very close friends and it naturally made me more social and active around campus. I was doing good academically, as well. But, Covid-19 happened.
The Coronavirus forced us to shut down the school as well as all of our events and everything that we had put into place. I was beginning to be very comfortable in my situation and had some of the best stages of my life with school and my social life going really well, as well as my business. But, Covid-19 had an impact on all of that. With me having to school from home, everything changed. I was taking 4 classes, all worth 3 credits at least so I was still a full-time student. But, it’s like my work DOUBLED in all of my classes. And instead of having usual hands-on help, I kind of had to figure out more things on my own because some teachers held online lectures and some just gave us work, work, and more work. It’s as if they forgot that we had other classes besides theirs, and each teacher started to mimic the next as far as giving out work was concerned. It became by far way tougher than the first semester.
Along with school, I also had things to complete for Alpha Kappa Psi. The school shut down while we were still in our pledge process, so we still had to complete modules, host meetings, and events virtually, and complete group projects that were hard as well, including our fraternal exam we had to take to be initiated in the fraternity. In addition to all of that, I didn’t have a functioning laptop so I had to take care of everything from my phone. This whole coronavirus made everything very hard but in addition to God, I got through it through two things, focus, and prioritization. Focus is something that can be very hard to achieve, especially with students our age. It can be easier to focus at school because you’re in the atmosphere but we were at home in our comfort zone so focusing became ten times harder. I look at focus as an acronym, “following one course until successful.” So that’s what you need to do.
Maintain the course until you become successful in that class, that relationship, or that business venture. Whenever your focus gets off task think to yourself, “is whatever throwing me off task really more important than what I’m trying to finish in the long run?” and I promise if your focus is more important, than your focus will get the best of you. Failure is inevitable, but never permanent. Focusing is very hard, but if you get off focus, “dust yourself off and try again,” as Aaliyah says.
Prioritization is very important as well. You’ll never focus on what goals to complete at specific times unless you prioritize. This can be prioritizing goals, friends, or tasks you need to complete in order to be successful. Map out whatever you’re looking to achieve, and prioritize the steps needed to achieve it in order of importance. Prioritization can help every single day. If you map out your day, complete your daily tasks, you’ll feel MUCH better at the end of it. Remember, success is never easy! If it was, then everybody would be successful.
So, maintain your focus, constantly prioritize and keep the course! This Coronavirus has taught me a lot about others and a lot about myself. I had to become more proficient in time management, communication, and I had to better my focus. We are surrounded by negativity in today’s society, but I always try to have the most positive outlook as possible. Glory to God, I look at all the good things I’ve been able to accomplish during this challenging time, and I’m grateful for the things I’ve learned. So, remain positive and your outlook will be better than you expected!