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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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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21 Quotes From Twyla Tharp's 'The Creative Habit' That Will Fuel Your Artistic Self

Use your half-baked ideas for good!

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Twyla Tharp is a master dancer and choreographer. She's worked with the world's most prestigious artists to create works that will withstand the test of time. She published her book "The Creative Habit" as a viewing window for seeing into her creative process. Tharp offers both hard truths and gently encouraging words for both serious artists and everyday people just trying to expand their circle of knowledge about art. I compiled some quotations from the book that were profound, useful and to-the-point when it comes to examining artistic development.

1. "Creativity is not just for artists. It's for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way."

You get some creativity! YOU get some creativity! Everyone gets creativity!

2. "If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge."

3. "Everything that happens in my day is a transaction between the external world and my internal world. Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity."

4. "In the end, there is no one ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn't scare you, doesn't shut you down."

5. "Someone has done it before? Honey, it's all been done before. Nothing's really original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself."

Ouch. Toes stepped on.

6. "Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself. Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we're experiencing to what we have experienced before."

"It's *literally* like this..."

7. "...get busy copying. Traveling the paths of greatness, even in someone else's footprints, is a vital means to acquiring skill."

Choose your muse wisely!

8. "You can't just dance or paint or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun..."

9. "When you're in scratching mode, the tiniest microcell of an idea will get you going. Musicians know this because compositions rarely come to them whole and complete. They call their morsels of inspiration lines or riffs or hooks or licks. That's what they look for when they scratch for an idea."

You know you look crazy, but press on, baby ideas in hand!

10. "It doesn't matter if it's a book, magazine, newspaper, billboard, instruction manual, or cereal box -- reading generates ideas, because you're literally filling your head with ideas and letting your imagination filter them for something useful."

"Alexa, play the Reading Rainbow theme song."

11. "...there's a fine line between good planning and overplanning. You never want the planning to inhibit the natural evolution of your work."

Screw this global need for instant information. You gotta just let things run their course sometimes.

12. "Habitually creative people are, in E.B. white's phrase, 'prepared to be lucky.' You don't get lucky without preparation, and there's no sense in being prepared if you're not open to the possibility of a glorious accident. In creative endeavors luck is a skill."

Twyla Tharp is really just a more Type A version of Bob Ross.

13. "I know it's important to be prepared, but at the start of the process this type of perfectionism is more like procrastination. You've got to get in there and do."

14. "You're only kidding yourself if you put creativity before craft. Craft is where our best efforts begin. You should never worry that rote exercises aimed at developing skills will suffocate creativity."

15. "That's what the great ones do: They shelve the perfected skills for a while and concentrate on their imperfections."

16. "Without passion, all the skill in the world won't lift you above your craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. combining the two is the essence of the creative life."

17. "My heroes are those who've prevailed over far greater losses than I've ever had to face."

18. "Part of the excitement of creativity is the headlong rush into action when we latch onto a new idea. Yet, in the excitement, we often forget to apply pressure to the idea, poke it, challenge it, push it around, see if it stands up. Without that challenge, you never know how far astray your assumptions may have taken you."

19. "...there's a lesson here about finding your groove. Yes, you can find it via a breakthrough in your craft. But you can also find it in other means -- in congenial material, in a perfect partner, in a favorite character or comfortable subject matter."

20. "A math professor at Williams College bases ten percent of his students' grades on failure. Mathematics is all about trying out new ideas -- new formulas, theorems, approaches -- and knowing that the vast majority of them will be dad ends. To encourage his students not to be afraid of testing their quirkiest ideas in public, he rewards rather than punishes them for coming up with wrong answers."

This approach would've been so helpful.

21. "I began as a dancer, and in those days of pain and shock I went back to where I started. Creating dance is the thing I know best. It is how I recognize myself. Even in the worst of times, such habits sustain, protect, and, in the most unlikely way, lift us up."

Take Twyla's knowledge and have fun exploring creativity in your personal life!

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