7 Keys To Success: Going Away To College Edition

7 Keys To Success: Going Away To College Edition

I'm not DJ Khaled but I got the keys. Trust me
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This is for all graduates of high school this 2016: You’re probably excited that you enrolling into college this upcoming fall but even more excited that it’s away from home. Away from your annoying/overbearing parents or your hometown friends. As someone who just finished his first year of college about four hours away from his home here are some tips that you take in stride if you plan on surviving freshman year. These tips are placed in several categories.

1. Academics

This is the most important of all so why not place it first? You’re not going away to college to party your late teens/the early twenties away, you are there to do the best you can in classes. Make sure you have the essential products you need such as a laptop, notebook, calculator, pens/pencils and most importantly textbooks. Don’t buy those textbooks either, rent them. It’s much cheaper, I was able to rent all my book for my first semester for under $150. If you are struggling in class, there’s always the tutoring center or you can see your professor during his/her office hours. There shouldn't be an excuse for being late to class especially if it’s not 8 o’clock in the morning. Also, when you’re writing papers and doing other homework assignments feel free to get assistance or proofreading from the people who live in your dorms.

If you’re not sure of what you want to major in then go undecided for two years while you make a decision.

2. Social



You only go to college once so don’t be antisocial. Trust me it’s a bad thing. Mingle and make friends. You can do that by joining extra-curricular clubs or sports teams. Not saying you have to be popular because in all honestly not everybody is going to like you so keep your circle small. Don’t shut other people from you so called “squad.” I can’t you how much it disturbs me when I’m trying to nice or make friends with someone but can’t because their squad is built like a cult. Being in the dormitory with a bunch of another freshman is great. You have people from all over the country and I personally found it better for student life being a resident rather than a commuter. Because you’re living and sharing space with people you’re somehow going to end up building relationships. Plus when you have the means, go out with your friends whether it be the club, the movies, or the local Shake Shack for a bite to eat.

When it comes to drama trust it doesn’t go away after high school. Speaking from someone who was all around it, don’t get involved in drama. People will be mean and will attempt to try but don’t let them take your power. At least that’s my mom told me. I can’t say don’t gossip because I’ve done my fair share of it but do it around people you trust, keep the door closed and whisper if needed.

Be accepting of people’s difference. This is probably the reason why social relations is falling apart in America (that and Donald Trump). People are going to different from you in many ways but it doesn’t you can’t get along with them. When it comes to roommates, it can go two ways. One is, you guys become best friends or two is you guys aren’t friends but you equally tolerate each other. If worse comes to worst switch rooms. It could be the best. One thing my best friend told me some people make good friends bad roommates or good roommate bad friend.

Also just be yourself. Don’t be fake or put on a front.

3. Behavior

Yes we are young and we make mistakes, but as a college student especially living in the dorms, everything you do that’s wrong is come to you and you only. In college dorms, there are RAs, also known as resident advisors. They are basically upperclassmen who are chaperones for the dorms. They’re like your parents when all actuality they’re not. Now every RA is different. When I went to college this past year in Massachusetts I lived on the 3rd floor of my dorm where the RAs were strict. At 10pm exactly they would come and say it’s quiet hours you can’t be in the halls and they would tell you in hot second to turn down the loud music or stop making noise. When I moved on the 2nd floor of my dorm, the RAs, for the most part, didn’t really care what we did as long as no one got hurt. It’s also nice to be considerate of other people.

For example, I agree with hall sports being banned because someone can get hurt or school property can get broken. Another thing is being quiet. Now I’m a young person and black, so I like to be loud sometimes but it shouldn’t be 12, 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning (on a weekday) and I’m trying to do the boatload of homework and papers I have and I hear excessive noise or music being played. It sometimes surprises that people are reckless in the halls when they should be doing their truckload of homework too, which is another story.

One thing you have to remember as someone going away to college is that you don’t want to do something that going to get you kicked out the dorms (and school possibly). There was a kid in our dormitory who came from to our school (in Massachusetts by the way) all the way from the Southwest region of United States who got kicked and (and escorted by police) for unauthorized video recording and threatening a staff member of the school. Another kid from our school (though she lives some two hours away), had 24 hours to leave and only had a duffle bag on her (she eventually came back to get the rest of her stuff).

The girl made up of the story of someone trying to attack her. When you think about doing stuff that’s going you in major trouble think about your parents, how they’re going to react and their financial situation. The kid from the Southwest was supposedly sleeping in someone’s car until he got a plane ticket back home. As far as other misbehaviors like bullying and forbidden items. Be careful. People will tell someone if feel they’re being bullied. The school is supposed to be safe space for people of all backgrounds. As far forbidden items are smart with it. If you choose to have that weed, alcohol, or a candle in your room, know when to hide it when your room gets checked because trust me it’ll happen.

4. Parties

Another aspect of college is partying. Trust me, you’re going to run into people who love to turn up every Friday and Saturday night. Sometimes the weekdays as well. If you’re like Alessia Cara and don’t like to party, then skip this. My thing about partying while in college is that it’s okay. The first semester of college I felt like an overachiever, I was so wrapped up with homework and the thought of wanting to so well that I skipped out on the parties to do all my homework. When I’m assigned homework I usually like to do it immediately to get it done in time. I must’ve gone to parties like two or three times this school year.

Another reason I didn’t invest my time in parties was because our school wasn’t allowing parties on campus so students had to go to other schools, sports clubhouses or nightclubs to party. However, that came with constraints. Some parties don’t let people come in if, for example, you’re not a girl (a pretty one at that), you’re not white or you don’t know somebody. In all honestly, if you can you should try to balance it out. I have a friend who can turn up on Saturday and still keep that 4.0 GPA.

5. Finances

First of all, if you don’t have a bank account you should probably get one. Bank of America offers bank (checking) accounts for college students where for the first five years you don’t pay any fees. This is perfect for when your parent/guardian want to put money in your account for anything necessary. However if you’re not well off (far from it) like me, then you definitely want to get a job, assuming that mommy and daddy will not always be able to give you money. When you get your financial aid award letter, it will indicate whether or not you are eligible for work-study or not.

Work Study is a federally funded program where you can work on-campus at your school and get your part of your tuition paid as well as earn money for yourself. Follow the rules like any other job because you can get fired from work study as it is just like any other job. And if you can try to get an off-campus job as well. I’ve had friends in my dorms who did work study and had an off-campus like say Dunkin Donuts or Staples (part time of course).

Also, if you’re managing your money incorrectly like I did this year, it’s okay. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spent money like it was nothing on Uber, Chinese food, and other unnecessary expenses. What I do realize though that as a residential college student you’re always going to need to spend money on toiletries, snacks, laundry and hair care.

When I go to CVS, I made sure I bought what was cheap or on sale. And as far as snacks go I had my family and friends send me care packages and I always bought ramen noodles. Laundry is a must as your clothes will get dirty and nobody wants to smell someone who is wearing dirty clothes. As far as hair care goes, it is necessary for me to get a haircut every two or three weeks. Also, try not to use up meal plan before the semester ends.

For those who are going to college an airplane distance from their home, it might be best for thanksgiving and/or spring break to spend it with a friend/teammate and their family as plane tickets are not cheap. When it’s the end of the year, you might also want to consider getting storage space for when you come back the next year. If you take coach bus/amtrak back and forth between home and college, I recommend buying your bus/train ticket before prices go up.

6. Romance

I might not be the best person to get romance advice from, but try to balance out school and your relationship. Remember your main focus is graduating from college. Whether you have a boyfriend/girlfriend who goes to college nearby or one from back home, make sure you guys take time out to see each other in person or through FaceTime and communicate. Communication is the biggest key to a healthy relationship.

There’s this thing that is present in college culture which is dormcest. Dormcest is when you hookup with someone in the same dormitory as you. And trust me it’s not a good thing. I believe so because if it’s a one time thing (or even no strings attached) it’s going to be weird carrying on as you two are in the same vicinity as each other.

Plus someone is going to get their feelings hurt even say if the person you hooked up with is dating someone you know or is close with. As far as dating the same person in the dorm hall, I don’t recommend that either, because if you or your partner breaks up you’re not going to want to have to see that person’s face repeatedly. Especially if the break up didn’t end on good terms.

As far dating apps, I’m totally okay with using them. Tinder and Grindr (for the gay guys at my former college) are very popular. Whether you plan to gain a hookup or a relationship out of dating apps like these just be careful with who you bring back to your dorm. And protect yourself.

7. Leisure Time/Well-Being

As far as this topic goes, I’m still in college and trying to figure things out. College is for four years and it’s the best and worst time of your life. However, I believe that it’s okay to not be all right or be off-balance. It’s part of growing up and being human. When I’m upset, I prefer to talk to a trusted friend or cry behind closed doors. Friends and encouragement of supportive family will help in the long run of college. My best friends and I talk about many different things including our struggles in life. Plus there’s always the RAs, the dean, and the counseling center there for you when you need it.

In college, you’re going to be busy. Still try to fit in some time for you. When I wasn’t in classes or doing homework, I slept, watched Netflix, bumped music, went to the movies. These things are my go-to stress relievers. No matter what you’re going to find your silver lining in college.

Cover Image Credit: Quotesgram.com

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Saying Goodbye To Freshman Year

"High School goes by fast, but college goes by even faster."
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“High School goes by fast, but college goes by even faster”, we’ve all heard it and probably all ignored it as well. I mean time is time. It moves at the same pace no matter what you’re doing right?

Nope.

High School is over, I’m now a freshman in college and it’s April. I’m sitting here in my dorm looking at all my clothes, and bins thinking, how in the hell will this all fit in my car again? It is crazy, I need to be thinking about all of this now because there is one month of my freshman year left, just one.

All I can keep thinking is how? Wasn’t it just last week that I moved into my cozy room at the end of the hall, or just yesterday that I ran home to two hundred beautiful new sisters? As much as it seems like yesterday, it wasn’t.

It was almost eight months ago that I stepped onto this campus as a freshman, now it is my last four weeks and they are jam-packed. From formal to finals I am in the home stretch of my first year of college. I just registered for my classes next semester, and can’t get it through my head that I will soon be a sophomore.

While walking around campus I still catch myself thinking, wow I am really here. I am a college student, at a school, I fall more in love with every day. So, how can I be a sophomore now when I feel like I just got here?

Yes, I still have three amazing years of college ahead of me, and I can’t wait to see what those years have in store in for me. But, I just can’t help but feel a little sad that I won’t be a freshman anymore. I won’t be the youngest in my sorority family, I won’t be coming back to a dorm every night.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am stoked to live in an apartment next year with my absolute best friends. And you definitely could have heard me saying “I am so over this whole dorm thing” once or twice this semester, but now I can’t help but see all the things I’ll miss.

Freshman year is just unique. You get this giant clean slate, a fresh start. And it is just waiting to see what you’ll do with it. It truly is a year of firsts. My first failure, the first time being on my own, my first time not knowing anyone in my classes. Yes, that can all be a lot to take on, I was terrified at the start of the school year. But before I knew it, I had a routine, I had friends, I had a life here.

And this life surpassed all my expectations. I have a home away from home. I have friends that I know will be my bridesmaids some day. I have experiences that I’ll never forget.

Now as I head back home for the summer I couldn’t be more excited to be with my friends there and my family. But, I also couldn’t be sadder to leave my friends here, even if it’s only for three months because they’ve become another kind of family.

Despite leaving freshman year behind, we have so many more memories to make whether it’s doing the Seminole chop in Doak, coordinating our Halloween costumes, or just chilling at the house. We’ve all come so far this year, and I can’t wait to see just how far we go. So bring it on Sophomore year, I’m ready for ya.

Cover Image Credit: Cameron Kira

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Your Feelings Are Not Invalid, It's OK To Not Be OK

I know that life can get really hard, but I promise it'll be okay.

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Recently, I have had an extremely hard time with my level of happiness that I have in my life. I go through my days feeling overly exhausted by the drama and hardship around me. I have gone through the past few weeks really struggling with this stint of depression and anxiety that I have been fighting with through the course of my life. These past few weeks, I have had large issues with this feeling of not being good enough and feeling like the world around me is falling apart because of stress and drama and self-image issues happening around me. I was at a point where I found myself not being able to have a positive thought in my mind and it was feeling like the whole world was against me.

I hate feeling like this. I feel like my world is crashing down and I truly just want to feel better. I have come to the conclusion in my life that the world I find myself living in makes us feel like if you feel depressed or upset, you have an issue and you are not alright. Numerous times I have been told that I need to get over it or that my issues are just "first world issues" that do not matter. This has shown me that there is communication in our world that is not being discussed. Depression has become this thing that society looks at so commonly and we have become accustomed to the idea of people around us being depressed that it makes us numb to it. This has made people think of depression as something not as horrible as it truly is because "everyone" has it. Depression is something that is extremely detrimental to the person being affected by it.

My journey with depression and anxiety started at a young age. I would have anxiety attacks at random times because of untold issues that I was having with my father or issues with bullying. From that young age, I learned very quickly to put up an act when I was around people because I didn't want them to tell me that I needed to get over it or tell me that it was not an actual issue and I was just being dramatic. I kept my mouth shut and pretended that this black mass wasn't engulfing me into is and pulling me deeper and deeper into this whole that was full of self-deprecating thoughts and images. People in school with me and that went dancing with me couldn't tell at all. They thought that I was this nice, happy little girl and honestly, I couldn't be mean to anyone else because all of my efforts were being put into being mean to myself. But, as I said, I couldn't express this to anyone because I felt like this issue I was having was one that I shouldn't be having and that there was something wrong with me for feeling this way.

Here's the thing: it has taken me so long to realize it, but I have come to understand that it is okay not to be okay.

Going through my life with this overall and underlying sadness and self-image trouble does prevent me from doing some things, but it does not mean that I need to stop doing what I am. I do have this issue but it is alright for me to talk about it and there is nothing wrong with me for feeling the way I do because at this point in my life and in history, there are a lot of things I have to deal with that are not the greatest mentally. Understanding the issue and talking about it is the only way to improve my metal standing, however, and I feel like this right to talk about it should not feel like it is too taboo to actually have conversations about. The world around us though needs to listen and stop blowing off these issues like they are not important. I have experienced many times this idea of someone telling me that I complain too much after I talk to them about the struggles I have in my life and I am sick and tired of feeling as though my problems do not matter. Big or small, people react to hardships differently and this needs to be something that the world understands and listens to.

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