7 Realizations That Every College Student Has

7 Realizations That Every College Student Has Coming Home For Their First Break

Showering without shoes has never felt so good.


Fall break, we have been dreaming about it for the past month now. After the stress of, what for many of us was our first midterm, coming home was a much anticipated relief. Time has somehow gone by so quickly and yet, it seems like we've been working hard in college forever now. As my fall break wraps up tomorrow, I can't help but reflect on what I noticed coming home for the first time.

1. Your hometown restaurants have never tasted so good

Sure, your college dining hall my have pizza or coffee, but nothing beats those establishments in your town. Walking in and seeing the same smiling faces and the same menu feels like a comforting "welcome home". You know when you go back to school you wont be able to help but compare them.

2. The restaurants are great, but NOTHING is like a home cooked meal

A home cooked meal seems so much more comforting, so much more personal, than waiting in line and hearing "next". Your parents know your favorite meals and how you like them. Sure, you may have been tired of them when you ate hem every single day, but being home for only a week is the perfect amount of time to enjoy those meals again.

3. How excited you are to shower without shoes

To be honest, I hadn't really thought about this much at college. It became my new normal to grab my shower caddy, clothes, towel, and of course, shower shoes. My first night home though, I became excited to shower in my own shower without shoes.

4. How nice it is to watch TV/ listen to music without headphones

It may not be super "exciting" but watching TV with your family on an actual TV instead of on your laptop or phone, is a luxury you didn't know how much you missed. Michael Scott's humor is just better when played out loud.

5. You and your sibling will still fight- but you have a lot more to talk about 

Growing up with your sibling, especially if you were close in age, there probably wasn't much to talk about in regards to your lives, simply because you were there to witness it firsthand. Of course when you come home, the normal sibling dynamics resume but you have a lot more to talk about. You both are leading separate lives, but still sibling connection prevails.

6. College applications for your school are due soon

It seems just like yesterday and also like a million years ago that you were sitting at your kitchen table arguing with your mom about how to best fill out your application to this school. Now your seeing prospective tour groups everywhere and hear them asking the same questions that you and your parents asked. It really is crazy how much can change in a year, or even in six months.

7.  Your town will always be special - even if you couldn't wait to get out. 

I came from a small town and once I hit my teenage years, my friends and I could not wait to get out. I completely adore the new place I am in but it is not the same as the comfort of your hometown. One of the first things I did when I got home was just to drive around with my friends. There is something calming about laughing with your friends, windows down, music playing, driving through the town where you made most of your memories. You are starting to see that maybe you will come back home after college, but you needed to get out to see that.

Besides, knowing you always have your hometown to come back to makes creating new memories (across the country) so much easier.

Now I'm excited to come home for Christmas and see the usual streets decorated in their usual way.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.


Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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To The Person Who Doesn't See Their Own Potential, Let Me Tell You Differently

No one can tell you how far you will go but yourself.

"I am on my way, I can go the distance. I don't care how far, somehow I'll be strong." - Hercules

As normal humans, you might already know that we are subconsciously judgemental. What color is that girl's skin? How does the haircut look like on that guy who is sitting at the very back of the class? What grade did he get on that last math test? Should I go ask? This isn't necessarily a bad thing...

Until it affects someone thinking they aren't capable of doing something.

Most of us already think we aren't good enough, but what does that mean? Do I have to be better than the person sitting next to me in class? Would I have to try extra hard to get into the soccer team even though I don't like soccer?

Would I have to try extra hard to impress because everyone around me is better than me?

It shouldn't be like that, obviously, but when we feel constant pressure around us, we can't really help it. I struggle to find my confidence, my worth, and sometimes motivation, every day. A few years ago, I used to try and find reassurance by thinking that I was competing with someone who wasn't the best and was "less" better than me, whatever that was supposed to mean for me.

It sounds bad, but it's true. I wouldn't just mentally attack someone else just because I didn't believe in myself, but I would also attack myself and without realizing it, I was unhappy. I was stressing out so much because I was coming to the realization that there are people who are always going to be better than you, whether academically, in sports, or something else.

We know this, but in the back of our heads, we still can't accept it.

I would find people who were better than me in everything and when people started to tell me how bad I was at something, no matter how small, my confidence started to fade away completely.

That is when I started to question what I couldn't do instead of what I could.

I tried harder to compete with myself instead of competing with other people and I'm still learning to improve myself. One thing I still don't do, which all of us should do, is learning to acknowledge every single achievement.

Be proud of yourself.

If you get an award or a prize or even get recognized for something without anything to come home with, OWN IT. You must know that whoever recognized you wasn't "recognizing the wrong person" or you "heard wrong." You don't even need someone else to tell you that you achieved something because if you feel like your improvement advanced further, feel proud. Realize that if you can do something better than the last time, you can keep doing better, but never stop, not even if you think you reached your full potential.

Just find your own limit, and keep aiming toward it.

Find your own limit, not someone else's and aim toward it. If you make a mistake, so what? We all make mistakes, but what we all don't do is actually accept what we are doing wrong because we are so focused on being "better." Just "better" won't get you to the top, and I don't mean the top of the class or above someone. I mean the top as in success. Courage. Being knocked down but standing back up and doing it again for yourself.

Risking going far will take you far.

Telling yourself that you can do anything, regardless of who you are, will take you far.

Seeing your obstacles as the next step instead of the block in your path will take you far.

Creating the "top" instead of trying to see it will take you further.

Once you make your own road, no one will be there to stop you.

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