12 Things I Learned From Taking Summer Classes at My University

12 Things I Learned From Taking Summer Classes at My University

Advice from one Mass Comm. Major to another
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College is a time for growth, and much like the plants outside, we don't stop during the summer! I am of course talking about your summer sessions. If you want to be more efficient, maintain mental health, and reach an academic sweet spot, take these tips as a gift from me to you.

1. Use the stairs, if you have extra time

It is a common occurrence that we find ourselves rushing toward the elevator in a large building to be on time for class. As a busy college student, rushing is beyond understandable. But I don’t think it’s a secret to anyone that many of us are trying to reach a healthier physical status. Don’t guilt yourself if you can’t afford the time to use the stairs. However, if you do obtain extra time (which is a fantastic habit to form) I would urge you to take the stairs.

Over time, you will feel a difference in your leg strength. By the way, if no one’s watching, it can’t hurt to move your arms a bit if it pleases you to exercise those, too. Boost your confidence any way you can! Fast-paced summer classes can be tough.

2. Only miss class in dire circumstances

If you are mildly sick, try to avoid giving others your illness. Take care to use hand sanitizer before going into class, and keep your distance if possible. Bring tissues. Your classmates will thank you. Besides, you may just learn something new that day, or teach a peer something they may not have fully grasped before. If you’re like me, you may have a ton of ambition and therefore hold some guilt for missing class.

Recently, my grandma passed away. It was so hard, but despite others drilling me into fearing absences from condensed classes, I got the nerve to ask for a blessing from my professor to skip class the day after she died. I survived, and I studied that night with Duolingo. It wasn't so bad. I even invited a friend over to help me do some homework. Bringing me to my next point…

3. Invite friends to visit when you aren't feeling the college life

Sometimes, it can help to surround yourself with good company. If you are feeling severely unmotivated, it can be a lifesaver. Bonus points if they are familiar with the subject(s) you are studying.

4. Having a room to yourself is a blessing

Try, if you can, to get your own room within a suite and make it your own. (Ideally, others will help you move into your temporary new home, and you can accomplish finishing your room in one day.) You can do it—I did it with the help of my parents and S.O. Being in a comfortable environment can be a nice option for working on assignments or studying.

5. Moving up class levels is okay!

Don’t be afraid to learn more about a subject that interests you. Or, if it’s a significant course to your major, (like Foreign Language for Mass Communications is for me) go full speed ahead for those credit hours! Chances are, professors who teach summer classes will have a slightly different approach than those who teach during fall/spring. This may give you a new appreciation for the subject.

6. Look up professor ratings

If there are no decent professors with more room for students, talk to your academic advisor about the possibility of requesting an override from your ideal professor. This way, you can fit in the class. It is very easy to accomplish an override if it’s for an online class, by the way. Sometimes, the advisor may even recommend it before you have a chance to ask for a requested override. If you can’t get in contact with your advisor, try e-mailing the professor on your own accord.

7. Ask all questions possible

When the courses are fairly challenging, that is. Summer is a great time to leave your comfort zone during the transition into a new school year. Raise your hand until your arm hurts. It will not only benefit you but also other students (who should for the most part gain respect for you for your bold determination and curiosity). If the course is in a foreign language, try speaking it while asking questions. It is fantastic practice. Also, the professor will often show more fondness toward you.

8. Always have your textbook

I’m talking about when you’re doing work outside of class, especially. Even when you think there’s no way you will need it, have it handy and open to the respective chapter you have been studying in class. This can save you the stress of frantic searching for the exact content that your professor may want you to reference in papers/assignments when you're in a rush.

9. Take advantage of any breaks

I do not mean for studying, by the way; unless that’s entirely necessary for you. As odd as this may sound, it is very beneficial to maintain communication with loved ones during this hectic time in your life… through short class breaks, too. FaceTime your S.O. Call your mom to see how she is. Text your brother/sister. You may thank me later.

10. Know the new hours of campus locations

This way, you can know ahead of time what options are actually available for certain meals or academic tasks. Take note of opening/closing times. There may be an option you were unaware of, and it may save you money if it’s a free-dining location.

11. Placement Tests are often suggestions that can give us (too much?) confidence

Maybe I make it sound too gimmicky, considering college officials can’t help the effects that their placement tests may have. This situation is not true for everyone, of course. You may find yourself in a class that does not offer enough leeway for boosting your GPA. If you’re a freshman or senior, this may be something you need, a boost. My advice to you would be to start with a more basic level of the subject you are familiar with.

For example, I was placed in Spanish 201 (the third level) however I chose to take Spanish 101 (the first level) last semester. It helps to know what you are really getting into. It may seem like the easy way out, but here’s why it’s not: No one is forcing you to review so much of this content. You are doing this on your own accord, when you could potentially be moving up more quickly. One plus: you will likely have an edge over students in those higher-level courses once you decide to join them. I certainly did in Spanish 102 for summer school—and no, it was not just because I had already placed higher than that on the initial test.

12. Find ways to enjoy your summer “break”

This task is likely more or less as challenging as it would seem. But that’s for you to figure out for yourself. Have fun this summer!

Comment how you guys manage summer school. Has it been easy? Difficult? Are you still enjoying your summer?

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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5 Things I Learned While Being A CNA

It's more than just $10 an hour. It is priceless.
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If I asked you to wipe someone's butt for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to give a shower to a blind, mentally confused person for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to simply wear a shirt stained with feces that was not your own for 12+ hours for $10 would you do it?

You probably wouldn't do it. I do it every day. During the course of one hour I change diapers, give showers to those who can no longer bathe themselves, feed mouths that sometimes can no longer speak and show love to some that do not even know I am there all for ten dollars.

I am a certified nursing assistant.

My experiences while working as a CNA have made me realize a few things that I believe every person should consider, especially those that are in the medical field.

1. The World Needs More People To Care

Working as a nursing assistant is not my only source of income. For the past year I have also worked as a waitress. There are nights that I make triple the amount while working as a waitress for 6 hours than I make while taking care of several lives during a 12 hour shift. Don't get me wrong, being a waitress is not a piece of cake. I do, however, find it upsetting that people care more about the quality of their food than the quality of care that human beings are receiving. I think the problem with the world is that we need to care more or more people need to start caring.

2. I Would Do This Job For Free

One of my teachers in high school said "I love my job so much, if I didn't have to pay bills, I would do it for free." I had no clue what this guy was talking about. He would work for free? He would teach drama filled, immature high school students for free? He's crazy.

I thought he was crazy until I became a CNA. Now I can honestly say that this is a job I would do for free. I would do it for free? I'd wipe butts for free? I must be crazy.

There is a very common misconception that I am just a butt-wiper, but I am more than that. I save lives!

Every night I walk into work with a smile on my face at 5:00 PM, and I leave with a grin plastered on my face from ear to ear every morning at 5:30 AM. These people are not just patients, they are my family. I am the last face they see at night and the first one they talk to in the morning.

3. Eat Dessert First

Eat your dessert first. My biggest pet peeve is when I hear another CNA yell at another human being as if they are being scolded. One day I witnessed a co-worker take away a resident's ice cream, because they insisted the resident needed to "get their protein."

Although that may be true, we are here to take care of the patients because they can't do it themselves. Residents do not pay thousands of dollars each month to be treated as if they are pests. Our ninety-year-old patients do not need to be treated as children. Our job is not to boss our patients around.

This might be their last damn meal and you stole their ice cream and forced them to eat a tasteless cafeteria puree.

Since that day I have chosen to eat desserts first when I go out to eat. The next second of my life is not promised. Yes, I would rather consume an entire dessert by myself and be too full to finish my main course, than to eat my pasta and say something along the lines of "No, I'll pass on cheesecake. I'll take the check."

A bowl of ice cream is not going to decrease the length of anyone's life any more than a ham sandwich is going to increase the length of anyone's life. Therefore, I give my patients their dessert first.

4. Life Goes On

This phrase is simply a phrase until life experience gives it a real meaning. If you and your boyfriend break up or you get a bad grade on a test life will still continue. Life goes on.

As a health care professional you make memories and bonds with patients and residents. This summer a resident that I was close to was slowly slipping away. I knew, the nurses knew and the family knew. Just because you know doesn't mean that you're ready. I tried my best to fit in a quick lunch break and even though I rushed to get back, I was too late. The nurse asked me to fulfill my duty to carry on with post-mortem care. My eyes were filled with tears as I gathered my supplies to perform the routine bed bath. I brushed their hair one last time, closed their eye lids and talked to them while cleansing their still lifeless body. Through the entire process I talked and explained what I was doing as I would if my patient were still living.

That night changed my life.

How could they be gone just like that? I tried to collect my thoughts for a moment. I broke down for a second before *ding* my next call. I didn't have a moment to break down, because life goes on.

So, I walked into my next residents room and laughed and joked with them as I normally would. I put on a smile and I probably gave more hugs that night than I normally do.

That night I learned something. Life goes on, no matter how bad you want it to just slow down. Never take anything for granted.

5. My Patients Give My Life Meaning

My residents gave my life a new meaning. I will never forget the day I worked twelve hours and the person that was supposed to come in for me never showed up. I needed coffee, rest, breakfast or preferably all of the above. I recall feeling exasperated and now I regret slightly pondering to myself "Should I really be spending my summer like this?" Something happened that changed my view on life completely. I walked into a resident's room and said "Don't worry it's not Thursday yet", since I had told her on that Tuesday morning that she wouldn't see me until I worked again on Thursday. She laughed and exclaimed "I didn't think so, but I didn't want to say anything," she chuckled and then she smiled at me again before she said, "Well... I am glad you're still here." The look on her face did nothing less than prove her words to be true. That's when I realized that I was right where I needed to be.

Yes, I was exhausted. Yes, I needed caffeine or a sufficient amount of sleep. My job is not just a job. My work is not for a paycheck. My residents mean more to me than any amount of money.

I don't mind doing what I do for $10; because you can't put a price on love. The memories that I have with my patients are priceless.


Cover Image Credit: Mackenzie Rogers

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5 Truths About Being An Ag-Comms Major, And None Of Them Involve Talking To Animals

"You're an ag major? That must be easy."

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Being that this is my second year at Kansas State University, I've started to notice some misconceptions about the major I love and know. After introducing myself as an agricultural communications and journalism major, I always receive comments such as "that must be easy" and the famous comment of "so what... you, like, talk to animals?" After being at Kansas State University for a year, along with being an ag major, I comprised a list of the most common misconceptions we as agriculturalist, deal with DAILY.

1. We Didn't All Grow Up In The Boondocks

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We all don't go straight off the farm and into the "big city" to go to college. There are TONS of ag majors who grew up in large cities that have a burning passion for agriculture. People need to understand agriculture is EVERYWHERE! Meaning, there is all walks of life on campus...even in the college of agriculture.

2. It's A Lot Harder Than It Looks

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There's an unspoken stigma that people not involved in the industry often assume ag majors simply aren't smart and that our majors are easy. Have you ever taken Reproduction? I didn't think so. If you did, you would tip your hat at every person who made it out alive. We don't just study how to farm and talk to farmers. We learn the structure of crops, every inch of the reproduction tract and how to properly communicate with producers and design their image to their brand.

I invite anyone who thinks agricultural majors are easy to spend a week taking our classes and then see what they have to say. People not involved in the industry may have some pretty off-the-wall misconceptions about what it's like to study agriculture in college. But those of us that live it and breath it know the truth. And most importantly, we know that our passion for the American agriculture industry will only grow as we continue our educations.

3. We Don't All Wear Boots & Cowboy Hats

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Whenever you mention you're an ag major, people picture ripped blue jeans, rugged old co-op shirt and filthy boots. Believe it or not, we too enjoy Nike shorts and tennis shoes. Agriculture has such a bad stigma of being grungy and dirty. As an agricultural communications and journalism major, I personally know appearance is EVERYTHING. How people perceive you can make OR break relationships in the agricultural world.

4. We're Not All Going To Be Vets

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No grandma, I'm not going to school to be a vet. Sorry.

One of my BIGGEST pet peeves is when people assume you're going to be a vet since you're an ag major... annnnnd if you aren't you're going to be a poor farmer. In reality, jobs in the agricultural field are thriving (and not just vet ones). There are multiple jobs that pay as much as, or more than what vets makes (and should we mention less school?).

5. It's A Small World After All

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The agricultural world is CRAZY small. Everybody knows everybody. Ask anyone in the major, you always find a link to back home. Here's a tip to future ag majors — sit down in class and ask a simple question to the person next to you, "where are you from." I absolutely guarantee you'll find a connection with that person... or through somebody... and the next thing you know you're roommates and best of friends. By saying that, you have to be VERY careful not to burn bridges... because after all, the agricultural industry is a small world after all.

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