3 Things My First Semester Of College Taught Me

3 Things My First Semester Of College Taught Me

"I went to college because I didn’t have anywhere else to go and it was a fabulous hang. And while I was there I was exposed to this world that I didn’t know was possible." -Tom Hanks

College is no cake walk. You're on your own for maybe the first time in your life. Here are a few key things that my first semester at Purdue taught me..

1. The Freshman 15 is not a myth.

Food courts can make you go nuts. There's mac n cheese, build your own pizza, an ice cream bar, and a giant stack of plates to help you eat it all. May I also mention Mom is not around to cut you off? Desserts for dinner? Why not? I personally love any of the "Make-your-own" stations. It so easy to eat all the sugars and carbs, but then it sucks because a few months later you realize you've been putting off the gym, but not the cookies and you no longer fit into your favorite pair of jeans. Indulge every now and then, but be mindful to eat your fruits and veggies.

2. Be social.

It is so easy to lock yourself in your dorm and binge watch Netflix for the whole weekend, but please don't. You will have your whole life to sit at a desk all day. Don't take these four years for granted. You'll have to step out of your comfort zone, but it'll broaden your horizon on all the opportunities out there. It's college, something will always be going on. Join a club that seems interesting, try out intramural sports, maybe rush Greek life. Whatever sparks your interest go for it. If it turns out not to be something you enjoy, no biggie. There's always others. The main goal is to go out and make friends and de-stress. As much as I really didn't want to I decided to try going out to a tailgate. I went in knowing maybe one or two people and then left with three new friends. The more I went out the closer I became with strangers that I now call my close friends. Just be sure to not let your social life rule over your academic life. Which brings me to my next point.

3. Don't forget to study, study, study.

It's just you when you head off to college. You are solely in charge of yourself. It is up to you beat those due dates, get to classes on time, etc. This affected me especially when it came to classes. It took me the first few exams to learn a thing or two on what college academics are really about. Studying should not be taken lightly. Not everyone studies the same so you have to learn what methods work for you whether it be flashcards or writing open ended questions. Whatever works best for you. The beginning of my semester I used my breaks between classes to nap, but by November I was reading my Planetary Science book and writing definitions down and then napping for maybe 30 minutes. Hanging out with friends turned into intense study dates as the months went on. Grades did matter in high school, but now they really matter because on top of a diploma you are also trying to get a job and hopefully a career.

You don't study to merely pass a test you study to really know the material and to understand it so one day you can put that information to good use. The most important note is to know is that sometimes you will get bad grades regardless of how much effort you put in. A percentage number does not define your entire intellect. Don't strive for that A for the sole purpose of passing the class, strive to understand the material for yourself so you know you can apply it.

On top of those three points there are many more minor lessons to add on. I've only been in college for five months and I can say it has changed who I am. You quickly began to discover and learn new aspects of yourself that you hadn't noticed before. You make new friends, try crazy things, and learn life is more than textbooks and schedules. Whether you laugh or cry, you love every second of it and won't change it for the world.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Stop Ranking Women By Looks Just Because You Have An Ugly Ego

Start paying attention to what really matters.

For some reason that is beyond me, college boys (and I say boys because they are not yet men, obviously) seem to still be ranking girls by their looks. I experience this the most with the "tier system" in Greek life - a hierarchy of sororities based off of who is "hot" and who is "not."

Someone recently attacked the sorority I'm in on Twitter - I'll be nice and not call him out - for being "bottom tier", even though my sorority is filled with beautiful, bright and caring women from all over the country who should not be getting bullied on social media by a butt-hurt frat boy.

This spectacle created a lot of conversation and drama that had me thinking about why women are still putting up with this - and not just in Greek life or college. Women are constantly being judged by their looks, and it's unfair. Yeah, we may also look for certain traits in a man, but I can't recall one time in my life when my friends and I just sat there and taunted others for not being "hot" the way these immature boys do. Not once. Not even in middle school.

I want to say that is blossoms from insecurities, and maybe it does in a way, but I think it's more shallow than that. I honestly believe this mentality comes from the desperate need that many have to feel better than others. People are always competing with one another, whether it's in college or in the workplace, which can spark a lot of "salt", as they say. In other words, boys fuel their big egos by calling girls ugly.

It's time that these boys finally become men and start realizing what really matters. Success is attractive, independence is attractive and most importantly, kindness is attractive. This hotness hierarchy of women created by ego-driven boys is pathetic and cruel.

If you're calling a group of women out on social media for being "less hot" than others, you are the ugly one. It's a bad look, and now everyone on Twitter knows you're an a**hole.

This isn't the first time I've experienced this. In high school, boys at my school would make lists of girls who were "hot" and lists of girls who are "not." I'm sure many others can attest to this. It even happens in the workplace, just more discreetly as "locker room talk." Women can't escape this wherever they go, and it shouldn't be that way.

A woman shouldn't work hard her whole life being nothing but selfless and kind to others just to be shot down by barbarous discussions between boys who are usually just trying to conform with those around them and feel better about themselves, not realizing the detriment it causes women who don't deserve it.

To the boy who came at my sisters and I. To all boys who think making fun of others is okay: Stop ranking women, stop being shallow and stop feeding into your ugly ego.

Cover Image Credit: Mikail Duran

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I'm Saying Bye, Felicia, To Freshman Year And Starting To Flirt With Sophomore Year

Chapters can't last forever, so here's a quick run-through of the first chapter of my new beginning!

FLASH, as I sat in my room thinking about freshman year, I came to the realization that it was really over. This left me with a feeling of sadness because one of the best years of my life had been completed. So, I guess it is true when they say that time flies, and this is why you must strive to create worthwhile memories. The end is always near.

I have changed a lot over this year, and I couldn’t be better for it. I’m more aware of myself, and I love that I”m getting better with God. Going off to college is meant for you to find yourself and explore who that exactly is. While I have year one down in discovering this, I ’m looking forward to seeing what I flourish into.

I was looking through my pictures and Snapchat memories throughout the year, and all I could do was smile at the precious things and laugh at how silly my friends and I are. The memories that I captured can’t be replaced. It’s also about the memories that happened, but you weren’t able to capture them. Those are the ones that get brought up and you all sit there wheezing trying to get it out.

I absolutely believe that you will meet lifelong friends in college. I’m lucky enough to have two sets of friends. I have my Southerners friends and my everyday friend group. We have been in some crazy and hilarious situations.

One of my favorite memories is finals week during the first semester. Leave it to Wes and me to start a dance party on the 10th floor of the library and actually get other people to join in. Another one of my favorite memories is going on an adventure to find my first drive-in movie with three of my closest friends to see “It.”

Three people deserve special recognition because they impacted my year the most. Chrystah, because I was fortunate enough to be able to bring my best friend with me to college, and I wouldn’t have wanted to start freshman year without her.

Courtney for starting out as my roommate and ending up as the person I can cry to at 2 a.m. when I need to, go on several WalMart trips, and meet interesting characters at the TMB with (you know exactly who I’m referring to.) I can honestly call you one of my best friends now and can’t wait to live with you for three more years. June 1st here we come, baby!

Lastly, Micaiah, the girl I’m lucky enough to get as a Big. The night I found out I was your little, I cried...literally! I loved being able to just stop by your room and eat Fruity Pebbles with while we watch “Shrek.” You will do anything and almost everything for me and I am eternally grateful!

“The moment you’ve all been waiting for...The Marching Southerners!”, the highlight of my first semester. The Southerners is an experience like no other. From the people to the music, and the memories...you have no choice but to be in awe.

The first time my ears had the pleasure of hearing Stars and Salvation, I knew that I was home and that this group of people were something special. I could continue on this subject, but I will save that for another article.

So, to the soon to be freshman, treasure and make the most of this time. You only get one freshman year of college and you have to decide how it turns out. Even though it was cut short, I can look back on my freshman year and be full of joy.

You’re going to make mistakes and feel totally lost at times, but when you bounce back, those worries and mistakes will seem small. This is me ending another chapter of my life, while you are about to begin yours. Good luck to you all and as Ivey would say, “Peace and Blessings!”

Cover Image Credit: Personal Photo

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