10 Things You'll Know After Your First Semester of College

10 Things You'll Know After Your First Semester of College

Who Knew You Could Learn So Much in 3 Months?

Once Upon a Time in September, I was a naive little freshman wandering through the pearly gates of college in search of further education. From the good, the bad and the ugly, college is definitely something that takes some navigation, yet as the end of the semester quickly comes to a close and final exams loom closer (YIKES), it's easy to reflect back on the past three months and note everything that I've learned from August to November. From the good, the bad and the ugly, college is definitely something that takes some navigation, yet

1) College ISN'T Easy!

A lot of times we’re not necessarily prepared for the difficulties associated with college. By ‘difficulties’ I don’t necessarily mean coursework or tests and essays (although, let’s admit, those are pretty decent brainkillers) but also things you don’t expect: living with a roommate can be tough, making friends can be tough, classes can be tough and more importantly, having freedom can be tough.

2) Prioritizing is Key

The time between the beginning and the end of the semester is broken up by quizzes, tests, final exams, important essays and, hopefully, your social life. Basically: if you’re not on top of your homework, studying and outside reading, you’re probably going to screw yourself over.

3) How to Deal with Alcohol

Not that you should be drinking at all if you’re under 21, but, um...this is college and it’s an issue you need to deal with.

4) College Isn't Always Exciting

While you can definitely push yourself to be busy by joining organizations, clubs, or even going Greek, you should also be prepared for the repetitive daily routine you will grow to have. It’s somewhat of a let down, but college tends to revolve more around studying, Netflix and ramen over constant activity.

5) You Don’t HAVE to Go to Class (But You Really Should. . .)

You might be in love with your bed right now, but you won’t be loving it as much when you cry in your pillow about low grades and failed classes due to lack of attendance or low grades. Ergo, go to class!

6) How You Study Most Efficiently

Maybe it’s better for you to study your brains out in your room, or maybe it’s better for you to journey to the library for a few hours and isolate yourself until the job gets done. Either way: studying will become your life, make sure you know how to do it well.

7) The Types of Professors You Learn Best From

Professor’s all have their own method of teaching: some are very straightforward in their approach to lectures while others hate giving directions but force you to write a ten page paper without any instruction. When it comes time to choose your classes for the second semester, ratemyprofessor.com will probably be your favorite website so you end up with perfect classes.

8) Switch Professors When You Still Can

On my first day of Philosophy I knew I’d be miserable but told myself to be stubborn and persevere. Although I’ve managed to make my way through the class, it’s hard not to think about any number of interesting classes I could have taken to fill my time rather than staring at the clock and begging for it to move faster.

9) The Need for Command Hooks!

Nothing’s worse when you have something awesome to put up in your room or on your door than when you don’t have a command hook to do it with!

10) It’s Okay to Be Scared and Not Have Everything Figured Out

As a freshman, you may be expected to know your major and career path as soon as you start college. Some students might have a clear idea about what they want to study, but other students might need a little time and guidance to really figure out what they want to do in life. About 80% of college students end up changing their major at least once, so don’t worry if you’re not entirely sure what career path you’d like to pursue. You’re in good company!

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Let's Be Wise Owls In The New Year

Taking time to fly.

As most college students know, there is a month-long break in the middle of the semester used for visiting family and friends, picking up extra hours at work, and most confusingly, taking an entire class within the span of four weeks.

I’ve always struggled with the idea of getting the same amount of credits for a shorter class in an even smaller period of time. Repeatedly have my professors been unable to finish our material due to a lack of time, or false confidence in our class' ability to understand and retain information.

Even worse, I’ve grown into an aging, spiteful Amazon book reseller when my textbooks go unused. If every class was a month long, imagine how many different things we could learn in a shorter period of time (kind of like the way a syllabus is set up, except this time there will be no interruptions).

I know you’re wondering, “what about scheduling?” (cause we’re all sticklers for the rules). My response to that is there’s a reason I’m not working as a Registration Advisor (let the dream live on).

As 2018’s spring semester begins, I reminisce about the activities that filled my time: binge-watching "The Crown," dragging myself to work, spending time with family, jet-setting to London, reading a strange but recommended book of poetry about a princess (google it), and most of all, taking time to relax and breathe.

We all want to be the smartest one in the room, whether it's creatively, academically, or criminally, and taking time to breathe and then dive into the madness is a good thing. Imagine, a robber prioritizing by month when to complete the heist; “January is recon, February is when I’ll land the security guard position, March, I just want to make best employee, so let’s go for the money in April.”

With pacing, prioritizing, and patience, we can influence the course of events from now until December.

Cover Image Credit: Joie Mitchell

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A Letter to My 13 Years Old Self

If you only knew

If there were things I could've told you back then, trust me I would've. Like even though ninth grade might've felt like the worst year of your life, senior year wouldn't turn out to be all that much better. I guess it's true that things always come full circle. I would've told you that you'd get denied from your top choice college, but the one you'd end up in is for a reason. Even though you'll be nervous at first, you'll end up loving it.

There are a lot of things I've learned since I was 13. Like how to love yourself even when everything feels like its going wrong. Also, when you find the right people, surround yourself with them because they'll only encourage you to prosper and bloom into a better person than you were the day before. That even if most of the people in high school kinda (definitely) suck, you'll make amazing new real friends your first week of college.

If I could've told you that the brown-eyed boy with braces you met on Halloween when you were 14 would completely change your life a few years later, I definitely would have. If I could've told you that things can always get worse, no matter how bad they get, I would've until you believed me. Because even if things get bad, or really bad, there's always something better around the bend, you just have to get there.

Things change. A lot. People change, places change, thoughts change, you'll change. Everything changes and sometimes its for the better and sometimes its not, but thats part of the beauty of figuring your life out. Right now, you want to be a journalist or even maybe a zoologist (until your mom told you that was silly, turns out she was right). You hate science and math now, but in a few years you'll be majoring in environmental engineering and even making the Dean's List.

My point of this is that you're going to feel defeated a lot in your life, but every time you'll just come back stronger and conquer more than anyone expected you to. You'll spend your life proving people wrong and surprising them with just how much you can actually accomplish in this little time we have here on Earth. Things will get hard and sometimes you'll fail, but as long as you try again and learn from the experience, you'll always succeed eventually.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

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