10 Things The Class of 2021 Needs To Know About College

10 Things The Class of 2021 Needs To Know About College

These next four years will be the time of your lives... Don't miss it!
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It is graduation season for high school. You may have graduated or have been preparing too. Either way, if you are preparing to attend college in the fall, this article is for you. One of my closest friends told me "College is not a scary world, it's just one you've never experienced." (Thanks, Keena) I believe she was right. My family growing up always told me "College will be the best four years of your life" and that is very true. You're basically experiencing adulthood without the worries and frustrations of adulthood. No, that doesn't mean it is going to be the easiest time of your life. It presents it's on challenges and difficulties but overall it is going to be one of the best experiences you will have. Here are a few things I think will help make it successful.

1. Go to class...

This seems obvious but like seriously people go to class. And don't just go, try your best. Depending on your major and where you go, you are going to have difficult classes. You might have professors that are horrible and the work might be overwhelming. But don't give up. You don't have to be at the top of the class or have the highest GPA but don't allow all the other fun things of college to take priority over the real reason you are there.

2. Don't overload yourself...

I'm a little lucky. My major isn't too difficult and I get to take fun classes. My sister wants to be a doctor and had to take several hard science classes. Maybe you have a lot of math classes. College might be a breeze for you or it might be the peak of your educational career. All that being said, do not take more classes than you can handle. You might want to graduate early or even in four years, but if doing that causes your health to deteriorate or you to stress yourself out; DON"T DO IT! It's not worth it. Do your best. Pace yourself and make sure that you are doing what is healthy for you. Don't be discouraged if it takes you a little longer than other people. There is no clock or time limit on life and you cannot compare yourself to others. So don't try to.

3. Join clubs... or start one

Seriously get involved. If you're like me and have social anxiety or just find it difficult to connect with new people, join a club. Find a group of people that are interested in the same things you are and hang out with them. I joined Improv club when I was a freshman and it practically saved my life. I joined other things as well and a lot of my friends that I didn't meet in my major are from the clubs I joined. Some clubs become like a family to you. Join something! And if they don't have anything you like start your own club. There might be other students who want to join you. But don't join too many cause you won't have time to be a student and involved in everything. Balance is key.

4. Don't eat everything in sight...

I did not gain the freshmen fifteen. I actually lost weight. I gained weight when I went back home, but that's another story... Anyway, the point is, it is possible to avoid this. Don't eat everything. Don't go to the dining hall when you're bored. Try the gym or go for a walk. Limit your late night eating. Walk places instead of driving. Choose the healthier options. Your body will thank you.

5. Stay up late with your friends...

This slightly contradicts the last bullet but it's equally important. The is a small chance that you are going to go to bed at a "decent" hour. You might be studying, or in rehearsal, or at a club meeting. Or you might be in your friends dorm watching bad TV and laughing too loudly. Or you might be driving to WAWA at 2 am for something you don't need. Late night moments with your friends/roommates are some of the best. Don't have them every night especially if you have early classes and simply because sleep is a necessity and not a luxury... but have those crazy nights. Go to the parties. Take a late night Taco Bell run. Go to a 24-hour Walmart. Visit a friends dorm. Make memories. They stay with you longer than anything else.

6. Call your mom...

Or your dad. Or whoever... call your family. They miss you. They are routing for you. They think you are wonderful and special and want the best for you. Call them. They are more than likely paying for you to be there.

7. Make sure your safety is a priority...

Have the campus police or Public Safety number in your phone. Know where the office is. Tell your friends where you are if you leave campus late at night or at anything. Get to know the person you are hooking up with better. Know the definition of consent and if someone is not giving it to you... LEAVE THEM ALONE! Don't drink so much that you can't consent or remember (I do not condone underage drinking). Be aware of your surroundings. If you are going to visit a friend that lives in a different dorm and it is late, take a friend or don't go. Protect yourself.

8. Take a class for fun...

Take an elective that you've wanted to try and that you would enjoy. Your priority should be your major requirements but you should take things that interest you as well. You need something that allows you to breathe. You might find that what you're majoring in isn't for you. You might find you want to minor in something. Either way, take something you'll enjoy after all you're paying a lot of money to go to this school so you should at least learn about things you like too.

9. Get to know your professors...

Go to there office hours. Let them see you as a person and not a random student. They have several every year, every semester. If you don't go to a small school it might be easy to become a number. DON'T BE A NUMBER! You will need these professors for recommendations. But also, if they know you and see that you are putting forth the effort, they will remember you during grading time. Build a relationship with them. You might find they are decent human beings that have a lot to offer. Especially if they are in your field.

10. Breathe... Look around... take it in... have fun!

It is going to be over before you know it. You will have moved in one day and be preparing to graduate the next. I am speaking from experience. I don't know where four years went, but they came and all the things I stressed out about are over. I remember having assignments I never thought I'd live through and I've completed them and moved on. Enjoy this time. You will never be able to duplicate it. Even if you go to grad school, it won't be the same. Your life after will never be the same. It may be better, but it won't be college. After you move on from something the only thing you can do is go forward... But don't forget to take in every moment you have while you are there. Don't spend all your time complaining. Don't spend all your time studying and working. Don't spend all your time in your room. Get out and enjoy it. If you look around and you aren't happy. If you are miserable and there seems to be no way to make it better by all means transfer. Find the place that makes your heart happy. Don't stay in a place that you hate because you won't be able to enjoy the four years like you are supposed to. If the problem is that you can find the negative in everything, find things you love about your school and focus on them. If the problem is you are adjusting to a new experience, don't give up so soon. Take your time and find what makes you soar and then do that.

I'm not just some person telling you random things I researched or whatever... I'm a college student who felt lost when she was a freshman. But now looking back, I have been having a great time. I have taken classes I loved. I have met people who will be in my life forever. I have had moments that replay in my mind and make me smile. I am going to make sure my final year is filled with the most important moments of my time at Rider, but I want you to have the time of your lives from beginning to end. You could blink and miss it so don't take it for granted!

Good luck! I know you'll do great things!

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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Remember When It Was Cool To Not Care?

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." -Howard Thurman

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A few days ago, I had to go to the Reitz Union with a bunch of my fellow Preview Staffers in order to do gator chants and be overly enthusiastic for middle schoolers. You know, the usual. After we finished welcoming the middle schoolers, a few of my friends and I were talking about how in middle school, we were all super unenthused about, well, everything. Then, my friend turned to me and said: "Remember when it was cool to not care?".

Yes, I do remember. I remember being in sixth grade, thinking I was too cool for school and that hating things was the new, hip way of becoming Jenny from the block. That my teenage angst and the suppression of my true, gentle, loving self was the only way that I would have status among the coolest of cool sixth graders. The truth is, it isn't cool to hate things.

Today, I am the biggest, most enthusiastic goober on the planet. I love caring. I love obsessing over my friends and cheering them on. I love being in love with my university. I love being in love with life. I love loving my parents. I love caring WAY too much. And I think that it is the coolest thing in the world. The coolest person you can be is someone who cares a whole awful lot.

I don't know why this happens. Why every middle schooler thinks that it is cool to not care about their parents or to disconnect from the world. But what I do know is that this is learned. We shouldn't teach our kids or our students or our peers to not care. We should teach them to love and to laugh and to break out of their shell and be themselves without fear or reprimand. We shouldn't tell people that they are "annoying" when all they are is enthusiastic. We shouldn't scold people for getting loud when talking about things that they are passionate about.

I think that you should be loud and enthusiastic and passionate in every sense of those words because they are absolutely wonderful things to be. The world doesn't need more hate. It needs more care, more love, and more joy. Even from middle schoolers.

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