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.

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To The One About To Graduate

You may not know the next step to take after you get off that stage at graduation, but that can be the best part.

To the one about to graduate:

Congratulations! This is your final semester of your undergraduate college career. You have enjoyed a nice four (five, maybe six) years at your school, and all of your hard work, blood, sweat, and tears is finally about to pay off.

As someone who is about to graduate soon, I am not going to lie and say that looking into the abyss isn’t both thrilling and terrifying. There are few times in a person’s life when your life is absolutely full of opportunities.

There are so many possible choices for you to make as a new graduate. Maybe you want to settle down with your significant other and start a family. Perhaps you want to pursue a graduate degree and become a lawyer or doctor. If you are like me, you are possibly still deciding between many options.

The scariest part of the unknown is simply what it is: not knowing.

However, it should also be exciting. The future is ripe with possibilities, thrills, and sure maybe some disappointments. Not knowing is what makes life exciting.

Yes, your entire life has been clear-cut with someone telling you where to go next. This is the first time your choices are completely up to you, and that is something to celebrate!

You can be a YouTube star or a stay at home mom or dad, or you can travel the world and run a blog from wherever you find yourself on that particular day.

You could become a yoga teacher or a corporate lawyer, or maybe you realize you love education so much that you want to be a professional student for life.

For the first time in your life, there is no wrong choice or necessarily a right choice. You don’t have to go in a certain direction. You don’t need to have everything figured out, and it is okay to fail once in a while.

Your post-graduation years are meant for finding your way. Along the way, you may take a stumble or two, and that is perfectly fine.

As long as you continue to pick yourself up and commit to finding your way, you will find it eventually.

You may not know the next step to take after you get off that stage at graduation, but that can be the best part.


Someone Also Trying To Find Their Own Way

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Confessions of a Single Mother in Her Twenties While in College

My new motivation

It's hard to imagine that at a mere 23 years of age a piece of me is running around, screaming the few words he knows, tormenting the family pets. It's even harder to remember that a few short years ago, this was not my plan. And boy, was I in for a reality check.

Looking around all I see is my friends, my classmates, and my peers going out and having a good time, achieving and exceeding all their goals. They can all take road trips at a moment's notice, to nowhere in particular. Sleeping until 3 in the afternoon on any day is a thing of the past.

What people do not realize is, as a mother in her early twenties, I was made to put many things on hold. A whole new life was in my hands. This was my new life.

Before being a mom, I thought I knew what it was like to be stressed, to be busy. My anxiety and depression were at all time highs. Most of the time I wouldn't make it half a day without a potential breakdown. That was my new life.

I had so many goals set long before the surprise blessing of motherhood. The cold, hard truth was that I was no longer the most important person in my life. Why do I keep reiterating that fact? Because, though I have always been a very selfless individual, I was now thrown into an entirely new level of it all. I know I am not alone.

Now, I balance a work life, college attendance, and try to still achieve all the goals I set out for all those years ago, somewhat changing my path as I have gone along. No more are the late night study sessions or cramming for exams. Nowadays, one must meticulously plan every possible free moment and be open to the fact that nothing will ever go to plan.

Having a support system makes it all feasible. I can see an end, though not within reach quite yet. I am doing so much on my own, little support, but the support I do have makes my goals achievable after all. It reminds me that this does not mean I have to give up. I have a little person that looks up to me, he relies on me. In the big scheme of things, he will be just as proud as I will be of myself.

It is not all bad. The staggering amount of love I have for this tiny human is intensely overwhelming, as is the love he has for me in his smile when he sees me walk through the door after a long, hard day of work. He is my new motivation, where before motivation was lacking. The things I now do for him I once dreaded doing. Study sessions are no easier to get through, but knowing that it will all pay off and provide a sense of stability for my child and myself is rewarding and pushes me through the next chapter and beyond.

You cannot let life get in the way, use your experiences as a fuel to the fire, as I have done. I am prepared for it to take longer, I am prepared for the sacrifice of missing out on a few things while he is young, and I know I will be able to provide for him when he is older and be able to prove to him anything you set your mind to is possible with enough hard work and perseverance.

I am a college student. I work full time. I am a Mom. I CAN do it all.

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