5 Valuable Lessons I Learned In College That Weren’t Necessarily Part Of The Curriculum

5 Valuable Lessons I Learned In College That Weren’t Necessarily Part Of The Curriculum

Whether a success or a pitfall in your journey, each experience comes with a life lesson.

Through various trials and tribulations during our college years, we learn who we are and what we are truly capable of. I believe in living life with no regrets, and making the best of each experience given to me.

College was no exception; I lived, I learned, I thrived and (sometimes) I cried. Now that I've graduated, I've had time to reflect on the life lessons that the past 4 years have given me, most of which were not taught from a textbook.

1. Making Connections is Crucial

We’ve all heard the phrase "it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know." Throughout college, and especially since I’ve graduated, I’ve found 100% truth in this statement.

Whether your connections be with your professors, the different departments on campus, friends, peers or employers; MAKE THEM.

It’s important to put yourself out there in order to make yourself known. You never know when you will need a letter of recommendation or help finding a job later down the road. The job force is intense and competitive, and every connection you can make will benefit you in the long run.

2. Always be Unapologetic

College is a time of self-exploration, and every college experience is different than the next. Whether you go away to college, commute to classes, are an Engineering or an English student, you should never apologize for the way you are choosing to spend your treasured college years.

Don’t feel sorry if you choose to stay home on a Friday night and binge-watch your favorite Netflix series, while your friends are going out bar hopping.

Don’t feel sorry if you ace an exam, and your friend doesn’t do as well.

Be unapologetic in everything you do, and never apologize for your success. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for the way you are choosing to live.

3. Embrace the Unexpected

College is a time to try new things, make new friends, and discover who you are and what you truly want out of life. While sometimes it’s easier to stick to old habits, it’s important to step outside of your comfort zone in order to truly embrace what college has to offer.

Join a club, hang out with that guy you met in English class, work a campus job, study abroad or learn a new language. Take advantage of all the things your campus has to offer, even if you think you may not like the outcome.

Studying abroad my junior year of college was the best decision I ever made for myself. Not only did I get to live in Paris for an entire month, I made lifelong friendships and discovered an independence I wasn’t even sure I had. I stepped outside of my comfort zone in order to embrace this experience, and it’s something I can cherish for the rest of my life.

4. The Importance of Quality vs. Quantity

Sometimes it’s hard not to get caught up in the logistics of things, or to compare ourselves to those around us. Maybe you don’t have as many friends on campus as your roommate does that’s okay.

I stayed home for college and commuted each day for classes. Therefore, I spent less time on campus than those who went away to school. I made many acquaintances throughout my 4 years, sure, but only a handful of true friends that I stay in touch with.

The friendships I made in college are the true epitome of “quality vs quantity.” They say that you make the best friendships in your college years, and that’s something that couldn’t be taught from a textbook.

It’s not about the number of friends you have or how many pages/words you have in your essay. It’s about the quality of the things that matter most to you, and how it adds to the character of who you are, or who you want to become.

5. You Live & You Learn

Aside from the obvious reason for attending college (to get a top-notch education, of course), it is an irreplaceable time for self-exploration. It’s a time where we are forced to make real-life decisions about ourselves and about our futures.

It’s also a time to make mistakes like skipping classes, going out with friends instead of studying, forgetting to do the readings for class or disagreeing with a professor.

We’ve all done things that maybe we aren’t so proud of, but guess what? We live and we learn.

Sometimes, I wonder how I graduated college with a 3.7 GPA when I skipped enough classes to be kicked out by my professors, or how I was able to focus on class at all while I was working two jobs in my second year.

Whether a success or a pitfall in your journey, each comes with a life lesson. The mistakes we make teach us and prepare us for what lies ahead.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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How Speed Dating Helped Me In A Class Where I Knew No One

In most classes, the first day (or few days) is mainly for reviewing and studying the syllabus, but clearly my professor had something a little bit more untraditional in mind.

Upon the beginning of a new semester, the start of new classes means there are a lot of new people to meet.

At my university in particular, our community is huge (40,000 undergrad), and we all have had many enormous lecture halls where it is basically impossible to get to know every single person in the room. However, there are certain classes where the amount of students is significantly downsized, and different types of students will have different reactions to this.

When I arrived on my first day of English-15 class (the required English class for every student in attendance at the university), the initial moments were awkward and somewhat nerve-racking. As I sat in my seat surrounded by 22 unknown faces, my professor instructed that we were going to play a game. In most classes, the first day (or few days) is mainly for reviewing and studying the syllabus, but clearly my professor had something a little bit more untraditional in mind.

My professor then said that we were going to be “speed-dating” with others in our class. I had always thought that the term “speed-dating” was to be used in a romantic sense only, and in my eyes, the classroom was not the appropriate place for this. As we were quickly organized to sit face-to-face with complete strangers, I was all of a sudden intrigued.

For twelve rounds, we were given about three minutes to talk to each of our classmates. While about half of the time allotted was filled by obligatory small-talk (i.e. where the other person is from, what they plan to study, how old they are), the other half of each conversation continually turned into something different each time I spoke with someone new.

I talked about many different topics of varying importance and seriousness, but the interesting part was that I created these conversations with people I had never even seen prior to the start of class that day.

Although it was nine o’clock in the morning and I would have usually left class feeling sleepier than when I arrived, this first day of class was far from what I expected and I felt energized by the end of it. Although it was difficult to keep track of what I talked about and with whom I talked about it, speed dating largely improved the dynamic of the classroom and made the situation a lot less awkward than most first-day-experiences I had previously been a part of.

Although talking to strangers has its way of making some people feel initially uncomfortable, it really is the most efficient way to break the ice among students.

As educators of all different levels are actively creating new teaching methods for this generation of students, being a student myself, I feel as though the beginning of academic success begins with comfort inside of the classroom. Although the terms “speed-dating” and “learning” don’t traditionally go together in an academic sense, they helped create a pleasant environment in our classroom that will ultimately motivate me to feel comfortable around my peers and my professor alike.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I Rented My Textbooks From Chegg And I Saved Hundreds

Say Goodbye to overpriced books, and say hello to cheap ones!

Textbooks have to be one of the worst parts of college. I love to learn, I love my classes, but I hate the textbooks that come with them. It has nothing to do with the content, but the price tag.

In college, you pay a ridiculous amount of money for textbooks because professors either have you buy the newest edition where there isn't a rental or used book to purchase, they make it available only in an E-book format, or they have you buy the textbook that comes with an additional $100 access code just so you can do your homework. It's stressful and ridiculous and I always find myself spending over $200 for textbooks each semester. Yeah, not per year, per SEMESTER.

This semester, I decided to take a little more action when it came to my books. Instead of ordering my books through the school bookstore, I did some research. I tried Amazon, but they were about the same price as the bookstore if not more at times.

So, I scratched that off my list. Then, I turned to buying used books from other students. It worked with a couple books, but a lot of people didn't have the version of the book I was looking for or were also selling it for a ridiculous price. With only two of the six textbooks I needed in hand, I was at a loss for what to do next. Then, I heard about this website called Chegg. I actually stumbled upon it while looking on Pinterest for "Cheap College Textbooks." I had always heard of Chegg, but I always figured it was too complicated and chose to never use it.

Let me tell you, that was stupid. I looked up the three books I needed and the total price for the three of them had my jaw dropping. My total came out to $85, which was the price of just one of my books at the bookstore.

Below my total, Chegg told me I was saving over $200. Can you believe that?! On top of that? They also offered me free shipping and it would be in my hands in 2-3 days. Also, instead of having to return my books the last week of school, I had a whole extra month to do it. I mean, I probably won't need that long, but hey, life happens sometimes and you forget!

They also send you a label to print off and you just have to pack the books up and ship them off! No return lines, no waiting, just returning your books on your own time.

There are also many other features to Chegg that include free E-books of the textbook you just rented, study tips, and lessons that go along with the books you rented. It really helps when it comes time for homework and tests!

There is a Chegg App that you can download to keep track of your orders and you can also use it for some of these features and to sell some of your own books that you might have!

One last thing that made me just fall in love with Chegg is that when I opened my box, it had a bunch of free goodies inside! There was a sample bag of tide pods, a coupon for MORE tide pods (I can never get enough of those honestly), gum, some coupons and even some gift cards that could be used for cute things for my room and also for some meals! It was just a really nice thing to find because it made me feel like more than just a college student trying to get cheap books.

It actually made me feel like a real person. That may sound odd, but it's true! By them just putting in something extra in my box, it helped eased my stress and mind about all the book troubles I had and it showed me that the people who work at Chegg actually care. They could have just sent my rental books, but they took the extra mile, and I think that's what every textbook rental place should be doing. I ordered my textbooks from Chegg and I'm telling you, I'm never using any other rental place.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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