30 Lessons From The Halfway Point: Reflections From A College Sophomore

30 Lessons From The Halfway Point: Reflections From A College Sophomore

College moves pretty quickly--take some advice from someone on the inside.
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As the great Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” It seems to me that each subsequent year of my young adult life moves faster and faster; it feels like I began college only yesterday when in reality I’m already halfway through. In an effort to both assuage my own minor existential crisis and to commemorate this milestone, I have put together a list of things I have learned thus far as well as other reflections on my college experience. To any soon-to-be college students: I think you’ll find this list covers some of the things that campus tours and “dorm must-haves!” checklists do not.

1. Not everyone is meant to be your friend.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to hate you—some people click, some don’t. That’s just life.

2. Get to know your professors.

You’ve probably heard this one: your teachers are going to be one of your most valuable resources. Take advantage of office hours. Ask questions. Participate. You can learn so much more from people with real-world experience than from a textbook.

3. Those sticky card holders for the back of your phone that they give out everywhere? USE THEM.

Don’t be the freshman that uses a lanyard. Trust me, I was one of them. Keep your student ID card on the one thing you are very rarely going to forget about.

4. Don’t ever buy textbooks from the campus bookstore.

Amazon rentals, Chegg, upperclassmen friends, etc., etc., etc. You will save so much money.

5. If you can’t hang out with someone without drinking, they’re probably not a real friend.

I’m not saying going out is a bad thing: it can be a ton of fun with the right people. However, if the only time you really enjoy someone’s presence is while intoxicated, chances are they’re not that great.

6. ALWAYS check the weather before class.

I’ve gotten caught in the rain one too many times.

7. Things are going to go wrong.

Life is not always fair. You’re going to get an unfair grade. You’re going to get put in a bad group for a project. You’re going to have to teach yourself some material that your professor skipped. It sucks, but it happens: you have to learn how to roll with the punches.

8. Studying is not optional.

The fact of the matter is that if you don’t review material/read/study on your own time—even if you’ve never missed a class—you’re not going to do well. That’s just how it is.

9. If you think the shoes will cause blisters, they will.

OH MY GOD never wear uncomfortable shoes to class. Just don’t do it. You can thank me later.

10. Try to get to know at least one person in every class.

When it comes time for studying, asking questions about homework, or needing notes on a class you missed, you’ll be thankful you did.

11. Passive aggressiveness DOES NOT WORK.

Specifically with roommate troubles! Coming from a person who’s passive aggressive by nature: it won’t solve anything. Be up front and speak your mind, but always be willing to hear the other person out. It is so much healthier.

12. Listen to your body.

Try to eat healthy and on a regular schedule. Force yourself to sleep. Try to exercise at least semi-regularly. If you feel like you’re getting sick, there’s probably a reason why. (of course, this is all easier said than done).

13. On that note, sometimes sleep really is the answer.

If you can’t even keep your eyes open any more, studying is not going to be effective. It is more beneficial to get a good night’s rest before a test than to try and cram the night before.

14. Learn to take responsibility for yourself and your actions.

Everyone makes mistakes. A bad grade is not always because “the professor is unfair”. If you find yourself in a fight with friends, look to see if you’re being unreasonable before automatically playing the blame game. You’re going to be wrong sometimes. Own up to your mistakes instead of justifying them.

15. You cannot possibly be the best at everything.

We all have different strengths. Just because you were the all-star student or athlete in high school doesn’t mean that’ll translate to college—don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, focus on the things you truly enjoy doing.

16. Keep an open mind.

Part of the beauty of getting educated is learning to reevaluate your own opinions: on life, on politics, on societal issues, etc. This doesn’t mean you have to change them; just be sure your opinions are really your own. Have good reasons for them.

17. Prospective students day coming up? Mark your calendar and break out the Tupperware.

Colleges will do ANYTHING to catch the attention of potential students—this includes packing the dining halls with better options than usual! Take advantage of it.

18. Being yourself is ALWAYS cooler than trying to be anyone else.

This one is particularly cliché, but college is the perfect opportunity to find the people you really connect with and do the things that make you happy. The reality of the situation is that in college no one really cares about popularity—why bother being concerned with it?

19. Keep your chargers in your backpack at all times.

Phone charger, laptop charger, whatever other one your academic needs require. You never know when you’re going to need it; trust me, if you’re studying in the library for 8 hours straight you are NOT going to want to walk back to your dorm when your laptop dies.

20. Two words: Backpack. Aspirin.

You wouldn’t believe the number of times this has been my lifesaver. Surprise headaches, cramps, mild hangovers, whatever other aches will plague you. Your inner mom friend will thank you.

21. You have to be a friend to keep a friend.

Be the one that reaches out first. When you ask how someone is, really listen to their answer. Go out of your way for people. Friendship is a two way street.

22. Budget yourself.

It is likely that you will be more broke than you have ever been in your life: college is expensive. You will feel so much better about yourself if you are aware of what you’re spending and on what. Keep track of it and try to limit your expenditures.

23. You might date, you might not.

Try to keep the pressure off yourself—do what feels right for you. If that means 100% focusing on your studies, then do it. If it doesn’t, that’s fine too.

24. GET. INVOLVED.

This one has probably been beaten into your head already, but it’s worth mentioning. There are so many positives to this: creative outlets from your studies, finding like-minded people, gaining leadership experience…the list goes on. Find your niche and go for it.

25. DON'T DO YOUR LAUNDRY ON A SUNDAY NIGHT.

Ok, the process of doing laundry in college sucks. It usually costs money, it’s not always on your floor, and there are NEVER enough washers/dryers. HOWEVER, do NOT wait ‘til you’re out of pants to even consider washing your clothes—chances are you’ll have to wash them at a super inconvenient time. Just trust me on this one.

26. Rejection is a necessary evil.

You're going to experience in some way, shape, or form--getting cut from a committee, not getting the internship you wanted, even gettin rejected from another person--it all sucks, but it's going to happen throughout your life. Learn how to fail with grace.

27. Student deals are everywhere!!

It’s always worth it to ask! From restaurants to random event venues/activities/etc., so many places have discounts for college students.

28. Your plan is going to change.

You might love your major, you might not. Give yourself time to figure it out and don’t try to force yourself into something you hate. Things are going to change as you gain experience and insight—let it happen.

29. College is a balancing act.

Everyone has a different social life/academic/extracurricular balance that works for them. You’re in college to get educated, but make sure you give yourself a break too: it’ll keep you sane.

30. Take it all in.

The four years (or 3 or 5 or 17—a degree is still a degree, my friends) you spend here are going to be scary, educational, formative, and fun—and they’ll be gone before you know it.

Cover Image Credit: Emma Killian

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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5 Struggles That Coming Home For The Summer Pose

Summer isn't always what you think it's going to be, especially when you're coming home.

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Summer break is amazing in so many ways: you're given countless hours to yourself, no daily stresses concerning school and assignments, and no overbearing pressures to go out every single night. However, coming home (usually) means you're back living with your parents and back to abiding by their rules, despite the fact that for around ten months, you were the only person making the rules in your own home. Despite the perks that come with summer, I have composited 10 reasons why summer can be hard to bear.

1. Having a set curfew.

I find it almost comical that I was able to "run free" for 10 months in Tallahassee with no regard for what time it was, but while at home I get the "it's time to come home" text from my parents as soon as 11 o'clock rolls around. For the entire school year, I was able to stay at friends' places until the sun came up, at walk out of clubs around closing time with no fear of getting punished for staying out too late, but now, I have to constantly plan around my curfew and ensure that I'm home before I get on my parents' bad side.

2. Having to get a summer job.

It was always a rule in my house that jobs were only meant for summer since my parents felt that getting good grades were our primary priority, so now that school's out, I'm working at my local Panera and dog-sitting for my neighbors, even though I absolutely hate dogs. Working isn't the worst thing I've had to do, but when I have to miss beach days and parties for a job that only pays $9 an hour, it sucks!

3. Countless days of boredom. 

College has made me accustomed to being surrounded by other people and activities 24/7. Sure, there were a couple of hours a day for alone time, but the majority of my day was spent hanging out with friends, going to my sorority, going out, and attending class. Now that I'm home and far away from my friends and the social aspect of FSU, I find myself bored and lonely.

4. Less freedom and independence. 

While away at school, I was able to do pretty much anything I wanted without my parents finding out. I was able to go get fast food in the middle of the night, go out to clubs, and sleep at my friends' place whenever I wanted. Sadly, now that I'm home, I can't just leave whenever I want or do whatever I want; I have to tell my parents when I'm going to places, where I'm going, who I'm meeting, and when exactly I'll be home.

5. Having to unpack and sort through your old clothes and the ones you brought to school.

Being the youngest has gifted me with an overabundance of hand-me-downs, everything from prom dresses to shoes to jewelry. However, over the years, the amount of clothes I have accumulated is insane; coming home has forced me to sort through the piles of old clothes and things I don't want anymore in order to make room for the multiple suitcases I brought back from school. My room looks like a tornado swept through it for three weeks now, despite the countless hours I have spent organizing, donating, and folding.

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