6 Takeaways From My First Semester To Carry Into 2018

6 Takeaways From My First Semester To Carry Into 2018

New semester, new me.

Now that my first semester of university is officially over, I've managed to learn a decent amount about how college life works. Here are a couple takeaways from my first semester that I can use to better myself in the future.

1. I have way more free time than I thought.

Back in high school and community college, winter break was a much-needed respite from all the homework and commuting. These days, it's a chance for me to do the exact same things I did in my dorm. Sure, you can replace the Tim Horton's with an In-n-Out, but I'm surprised by how much downtime I had my first semester. Maybe that just means there's more room for jobs, clubs, etc.

2. Fountain drinks are super expensive.

I used to order drinks with all my meals whenever I went to restaurants because it was such a rare occasion. Now that I cook exactly zero times per week, I find myself stopping by more and more fast food joints. I always feel bad shelling out two bucks for a cup of lemonade, so maybe spring is the time to cut back.

3. Routine is critical.

It may be little things like going to Raising Cane's every Friday or Starbucks early in the morning to get my readings done, but the habits I've made have helped build a decently structured lifestyle. If I can get some sort of study habit down in 2018, I might almost feel like I've got my life together.

4. So is budgeting.

I thought I could afford to spend a little extra during finals season since hey, I deserve it. Turns out, I conveniently didn't account for the cost of the plane ride back home or the Ubers I had to take to reach the airport. Combine that with the costs of gifts and suddenly I have $300 less than I expected to have by the end of the year.

5. Public transportation exists.

Historically, I've been pretty stubborn when it comes to trains and buses; I never liked the idea of waiting 10 minutes just to get picked up and dropped off a distance away from where I wanted to be. Why not just walk? Well, now that winter's arrived, walking half an hour every day sounds like a death sentence, so I'll have to swallow my pride and put my U-Pass to use.

6. Listen to others.

University is a massive and competitive environment. Chances are everyone's smarter than me in at least area of knowledge. In all honesty, I'll probably need all the help I can get; my road to self-improvement doesn't have to be taken alone.

I highly doubt I've unlocked the secrets to a perfect college life in just one semester, but some of these takeaways provide a step forward in the right direction.

Cover Image Credit: People and Places

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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