6 Things My First Semester Of College Taught Me

6 Things My First Semester Of College Taught Me

It's not what I thought it would be like.

College is something that most kids look forward to. It is the first time you are really on your own, can make decisions without asking your parents, and skip classes whenever you want to. Even though these things are all true, I am experiencing a ton of things I didn't expect since I came to college.

1. Everything seems really unorganized.

I am a very organized person. I function better when I know what is happening, what I have to do, and when I have to get it done. Since I’ve been in college, I don’t have a daily routine like I did in high school, and it kind of throws me off. Random things happen at random times of the day, and it’s hard for me to balance the time where I should be doing my homework or doing something fun

2. Get involved.

Literally, everyone says this when you go to college, but it really is important. I know people who are super involved, and some who aren’t involved in anything, and the ones who are involved have a lot more fun and keep busy. Sometimes it is overwhelming to be involved in too many things, but it’s good to learn what you can and can’t balance. Also, you make more friends when you are involved, and who doesn't like friends?

3. Don’t study in your dorm room.

I don’t know if this only happens to me, but whenever I study in my room I get really distracted or fall asleep. It’s good to find different places around campus to study. Changing spots every once in awhile can be refreshing and motivating.

4. You might never talk to the people from your high school again, or you might get close to them.

6 kids from my high school came to the same college as me. I got a lot closer to a couple of them, and have hardly talked to the other ones at all. I also feel closer to my friends who don’t go to the same school as me. I talk to them more than I thought I would, and it’s nice to talk to people you aren’t with all of the time

5. Stress is real, stress is bad.

Before I came to college, I had never been this stressed out in my life. I stress out about every class, homework assignment, exam, what I need to get done throughout the day, and so many other things. It’s definitely a good idea to do something fun and not focus on school ALL the time because breaks are 100% needed

6. Drink coffee.

Coffee is the best thing that has happened to me. It tastes good, it wakes you up, and it can be warm or cold. If you ever need to accomplish anything, drink coffee. I promise it will help you and make you feel better.

I knew college was going to be different from high school, but I didn’t really realize how much adjusting I would have to do until I got here. All of my high school teachers talked about how I was only going to have one exam a semester and that would be my final grade, but I actually have like 5 exams each semester for one class. I never expected college to be so crazy and overwhelming, but I love it.

Cover Image Credit: Missouri State News

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.


"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

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I Have No Label

Labels aren't for everyone, and I'm one of them.


There's a huge pressure from society for people to know things about themselves—what they want to do with their life, what career they want to be tethered to, where they plan on being five years from now—that we really shouldn't add more pressure by requiring people to know their sexual orientation and gender identity.

I've always been pretty comfortable with my gender, but my sexuality? I'm still figuring that one out. I grew up in a fairly conservative home, so I was never exposed to the LGBT+ community or anything similar to it. Straight was the only way to go, and I grew up completely fine with that. It's only now that I know I'm not, that I'm realizing some of the things I did, probably should have told me I wasn't sooner.

Thankfully, it was never a huge source of stress for me because I was OK with being straight. I was fine with the idea of only being into men because I mostly still am. It's just that "mostly" bit that has me thrown off.

If I'm not fully into just guys, does that make me bisexual? What's the full difference between them, anyway? What does "bi" really imply, anyway? Two? Which two? Does the "bi" aspect of the word "bisexual" even really matter?

Do people identify as "pansexual" because the distinction of "bi" is misleading since there are more than just two genders?

Speaking of genders, would I date someone whose gender identity doesn't conform to the binary? How about a transgender person? How can I really know this for a fact without dating someone like that?

All of these thoughts gave me countless headaches, and they still do if I think too hard about it. Since I'm still discovering myself, I'm not fully comfortable labeling my sexuality as anything other than "not straight."

That should be totally fine.

If anything, I think this should be encouraged. It puts way less stress on people who are already stressed beyond belief. It shouldn't be something that a person has to know immediately, and they shouldn't have to ever label themselves if they aren't comfortable with it.

Let people explore their sexuality and gender. If they find a label early, let them. They may change it later. They may not. As long as they're happy with it, what does it matter? Why tell them "no?" Even if you're their parent or caregiver, you should at least be fine with them exploring their own identity and figuring their life out.

It's healthy, and ultimately, it will make them a happier person to know they had support for the whole wild ride.

Respect people if they find nothing and choose to stay label-less.

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