4 Things to Look Forward to in the New Semester if Your Last Semester Wasn't Like the Movies

4 Things to Look Forward to in the New Semester if Your Last Semester Wasn't Like the Movies

We couldn't all be Beca.
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College. The time to make lifelong friends, find yourself in extracurriculars, and earn that degree on time. Doesn't sound familiar? It didn't to me either, after my first semester. I can't complain, though. Who wouldn’t prefer heartbreak, four relocations, and an extra ten pounds over the wondrous first semester seemingly everyone else is enjoying? (Only me?) Ok, so your first semester wasn't great. It wasn't even good. Here are five things about the new semester to look forward to so that your first year wasn't a total flop.


1. Your Space

This mainly applies to those of us residing on campus. Coming back from home to your own dorm, room, etc. is coming back to your own way of doing things; only this time, without the confusion and anxiety of first moving in. While most of us share corridors with at least one roommate, it is easy to get back into or even find your groove for the first time in this space to become reacquainted with. The change of the semester brings the change of people to share space with. You might be surprised to unpack next to a new roommate or floormate that might be a key component to having a better semester. Open a window. Put out a scent comb. Greet a new face. Going back to your space is going back to the opportunity to learn more about yourself.

If you are a commuter, the start of the new semester is the start of getting back out of the house. Sometimes we desperately are searching for an excuse to leave our home. Though heading to a work environment, it is a chance to try new things that might be just what you were missing. Indulge in that new place to eat. Take that peculiar road back instead (leave plenty of time!). Compile a new playlist. Do what you were afraid to do last semester.

2. Food

Yes, food. Who doesn't love food? Whether it is your fuel, guilty-pleasure companion (thanks, mint chip ice cream), or both, a college campus usually is home to innumerable places to eat. While not all schools offer selections that are exactly...gourmet...your last semester presented you with at least one entrée that perhaps "wasn't that dreadful." Getting back to campus is getting back to food that, let's admit, you didn't always hate.

3. Courses/Course Work

Ok, stay with me on this one. I don't think any of us are particularly anxious to get back to procrastination guilt, late nights, and arguments with technology. However, work is the reason we're here! One way or another, working hard on assignments is what got you into and keeps you in college. Sometimes that kick of motivation is what we need to get out of bed and contribute to society (I hate that phrase, too). Every assignment completed is a step closer to your degree.

New classes can be full of opportunity, too. Your classmates are, usually, a mystery. Your future best friends or S.O. could be waiting just behind the opening date of classes. Just because you didn't make five solid bonds your first semester does not mean there are not people just as indirectly anxious to meet you. Your professors, too, don't have to be figures to dread. The professional to set you up for your next internship or connect you to potential employers is waiting for you.

4. The "Fresh Start" Attitude

I, too, cringe whenever I cross the word "attitude." I prep myself for corny advice about changing my perspective, etc. (nothing like this article...). However, the "Fresh Start" Attitude is with us as a parasite. Whether it be because of the new year or new semester, we have a faint glimpse of the people we could be by the conclusion of the given amount of time. Acknowledging this phenomenon does not have to be the end of self-control and start of purchasing Inspiration Quote Eighteen Month Calendars. On the contrary, this could be your excuse to do exactly as you please. There is a recorded break in time between who you were last semester and who you could be for the books. Chances are, you're not the only one wanting a fresh start and your peers will not only be accepting, but also encouraging.

So your first semester wasn't great. Neither was mine. Neither were a lot of students'. But if you anticipate at least two of the things above for next semester, you might find the college experience you've been searching for or better. Do not hold fast to a sole ideal and set yourself up for disappointment if it is not fulfilled. Every school and experience is different: Keep an open mind. Find things to be happy about. Fall 2018 you will thank you. Happy Spring. Crush it.

Cover Image Credit: ADDitude.com

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.

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I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

Cover Image Credit: https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/free-college-new-york-state.jpg?quality=85

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Writing Saved My Sanity

Write it all down when you can't talk to anyone.

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I love writing.

I have since elementary school, and I've dreamed of becoming a published author. I started off writing stupid plays in elementary school, then it grew it almost writing a full-blown novel in middle school. I have no idea where that thing went to. It was all notebook paper and bad writing. In high school, my writing was kinda pushed to the side so I could focus on school. When I entered college, I started writing small poems about my now ex-boyfriend.

I was scared to express myself to him sometimes, the intensity of my feelings for him scared me. So instead of telling him, I wrote them down. When I tried to share them with him, he hated it. He thought writing down feelings was weird and creepy. So I didn't share anything else with him. When we finally broke up for good, everything just poured out of me. What I couldn't express verbally, I wrote or typed out.

I always have ideas flowing through my head. They never cease and I wouldn't want them to. Writing gives me an escape, from stress, work, school, or fights. It gives me a place to vent and to be open with everything. This is a reason I love writing for Odyssey, not only has this place brought me amazing friends but revived my love for writing. I'm never without my notebook anymore, I'd get distracted in class by an idea and have to write I think then and there.

I love sharing my more personal writing with close friends, especially my poems as of late. I found that I have a voice for young women who find themselves in a toxic relationship much like mine was. I want to speak out and show them that you can grow from the bullshit. It may take some time, but you will be better.

Writing saved my sanity. It allows me to express myself without having to use my actual voice. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate public speaking. I tend to psych myself out leading up to it. My current projects include writing for Odyssey every week, I'm in the process of trying to continue my short stories, and I'm excited to announce that I'm currently working on my very first poetry book!

Writing has given me so much, and I'm so looking forward to making a career out of something I love so much.

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