6 Things I've Learned In My First Semester of College

6 Things I've Learned In My First Semester of College

College really is all it's hyped up to be...

Finally, the first semester of college has ended. You're studying or have taken your finals, your home friends are discussing where to get dinner when you all get back, and your suitcase is all packed up. When getting on the plane to come home, I couldn't help but look through my camera roll at the past few months. Starting with my empty room, I scrolled past my first frat party, my welcome week friends, my first tailgate, my last tailgate, and everything in between. I started thinking about the many things I learned since September and narrowed it down to __ points.

1. Do your work between classes

I think I can speak for everyone when I say college work is not easy. In my opinion, I took a pretty easy course load this semester, and I was still constantly doing work. Although it's easy to get overwhelmed by the workload, I found it really nice to have more time to do it all. In high school, everything was so structured. I barely had any time to do work between classes so I had to do it all the night before it was due.

Sometimes I wouldn't get home 'til 7 or 8 and I would be up until 3 a.m. making flashcards or editing papers. Now don't get me wrong, I still sometimes am awake in the middle of the night doing work in college- but it's different. I actually have the ability to get things done in between or after my classes.

The capacity for you to create your own schedule: choose when you want to eat, when you want to sleep, and when you want to do your work was a game changer for me and definitely helped me find a balance between staying in and going out.

2. Finding your best friends takes time

One thing that shocked me, along with all my friends from home, is how hard it is to create meaningful friendships. It's strange to think about how most of us haven't actively tried to make friends since elementary school. I went to college with my best friend, but despite her being there I still struggled to make best friends.

There were so many people that I liked and am still great friends with today; but, I still found myself missing my home friends like crazy. I learned that I had to hang in there and keep putting in effort. You can't make friends if you don't put yourself out there and try to meet new people.

And although it may take some time, I learned that it will happen eventually, and once it does, you will find the best friends you never thought you would have.

3. Actually talk to your classmates

The most terrified I have ever been was walking into my first lecture. In high school, I knew everybody that was in my classes, but at college, I knew absolutely nobody — and I'm so thankful I didn't. Since I went into my classes blind, I forced myself to befriend people sitting around me, and it was the best thing I could have done. Not only did doing this give me people to study with, but also led me to meet my best friends.

There is someone I met in every class that I love and will keep in touch with despite the semester being over. Going to a big school has that perk: no matter how many friends you have, there are always more people to meet. Knowing how close I got with my first semester "school friends" makes me so excited to meet my second-semester ones.

4. It's OK to be homesick

When I left for school I was so beyond ready to leave home. Although I love my family, I felt suffocated and couldn't wait for newfound independence. And yes, in college I am able to do my own thing without worrying about my curfew.

However, I missed my family so much more than I thought I would, but I learned that that's okay. Everyone misses their families sometimes and it's completely normal to not be completely adjusted within the first few months.

5. The freshman 15 is real

Yup. Can't even deny this one. When going into college, I heard rumors about the freshman 15, but I always thought it was an urban legend. I have a fast metabolism, 3 slices of pizza at 2 a.m. won't affect me! Nope, I was wrong. It's definitely easy to gain a few pounds just by stress alone. Drinking, drunk-eating, and snacking definitely doesn't help. And although I attempted to make it to the gym, I always found myself making excuses not to. The first semester definitely taught me that I have to be responsible and watch what I eat (a little bit more..).

6. Rally, because college is so. much. fun.

I think I speak for everyone when I say my first semester of college was the best time of my life. Despite just the parties and tailgates, being independent is exciting- embrace it. In high school, I constantly had the stress of applying to college over my head. I put 110% of my energy into getting into a good university that I can be proud of. And now that I did that, it's time to just sit back and enjoy. Enjoy the (mostly) interesting classes I'm taking, enjoy the new friends I'm making, and enjoy all of the late nights I'm having. The first semester taught me not to sit in my room every night because no matter what the night is guaranteed to be fun.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Humanities Are Just As Important As STEM

Humanities matter.

Growing up in the Bay Area in addition to being the daughter of Indian immigrants, I understand the effect that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) has on us. I’m born and raised in the Silicon Valley, home of so many tech companies and where girls are heavily encouraged to get involved with STEM.

"It’s supposed to make a lot of money," they say. I understand that while money is a very crucial factor in being successful, we often forget that there are so many majors and jobs for non-STEM majors out there. In the Indian community, we’re often asked, “So what type of engineering are you majoring in?” as if we’re not allowed to do anything else.

God forbid we choose to even major in business. I’ve heard comments such as, “What kind of business can you even learn in undergrad? It’s useless!”

I’ll admit, I’ve heard comments like that from my parents as well. They always question why I take humanities classes or put in so much effort and work into them. They expect that these classes are an easy A and don’t require as much work as my technical classes for my major, computer science.

This is the complete opposite. Every class is difficult in its own way and by being a STEM major, it can even make humanities classes harder for me as they are not my forte.

Humanities matter.

They help us build skills such as critical reading, writing, and communication, which are important in ANY field we choose to enter. They teach us critical thinking and reasoning and help us become informed citizens. They encourage us to think creatively and develop genuine connections with those around us.

While STEM classes definitely teach us how to think critically, they definitely do not teach us how to develop connections and communication skills with those around us, or at least not to the extent that humanities classes do. It is vital that we have both in our lives and we cannot dismiss humanities as less trivial than STEM, no matter what the salary might be when exiting college.

I am a political science minor, and even though it has the word “science” in it, it is definitely not considered a STEM class. Political science has taught me so much and while people always seem to be confused why I’m studying two completely different fields, political science and computer science together have given me the ability to advance my education.

Political science has informed me so much about what is happening around us. It is imperative that we know what is going on in our lives.

We can’t be sitting on our computers, just coding all day. We need a balance of both. Analyzing court cases and briefs, as well as hypothetical cases, is sort of like debugging. You think you got your code right, but in fact, there probably is a mistake and an alternate solution to it. You have to look at it over and over again, stare at it until you fix it. I love how political science and computer science are interconnected even though they seem like they are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Humanities matter. Just as much as STEM. I cannot stress that enough.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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The Series Of Emotions You Feel During Finals Week, Explained In Detail By 'Jersey Shore'

An accurate representation of typical college students feelings during finals week.

In honor of the legendary return of "Jersey Shore" and the fast approach of death week (AKA finals week), here is an accurate representation of the 9 of emotions every college student feels while prepping for exams. And for all of those who are still in the depression of missing DJ Pauly D being on campus… this one’s for you.

Emotion # 1: Procrastination

“Let’s get wastey-pants” - Snooki

Emotion # 2: Acceptance to start studying

“Hell has to be just like this.” - Vinny

Emotion #3: Struggling to understand the material

“I mean I know I’m not the brightest crayon in the box, but this isn’t rocket science." - Deena

Emotion # 4: Getting distracted and staring off into space thinking deeply about something totally unrelated to the subject your studying for

“I’m like, a pretty deep dude.” - The Situation

Emotion #5: Debating dropping out of college

“People should go to school at a bar.” - Deena

Emotion #6: Finally understanding the material

“Yeahhhh buddy” - Pauly D

Emotion #7: Realizing you were lying to yourself & don't understand it at all

"One step forward, two steps back." - Ronnie

Emotion #8: Nervousness to take the test

“I’m gonna turd in my pants” - Snooki

Emotion #9: Acceptance of potential failure

“Let’s do it!” - The Situation

The aftermath…

“I’m sorry I punched you in the face” - Sammi

... Also your exam

Cover Image Credit: toofab / YouTube

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