Accepting Opportunity's Open Hand: College

Accepting Opportunity's Open Hand: College

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“Starting over, then head back in.”

With the spring semester starting back up, I decided to reflect back on some of the most important college tips I’ve discovered over my first semester. I had many significant realizations, and would like to keep these in mind for myself, and others, as the second semester approaches.

1. Go to literally anything and everything that could possibly interest you-even in the smallest way.

From lectures, socials, youth groups, to informational meetings, if a club or organization grabs your attention, go! Yes, you may feel uncomfortable, intimidated, or maybe even a little out of place, but don’t be afraid to explore new options. Gather some courage, and approach someone you’re comfortable asking questions to. After starting up a conversation, these types of “ice-breaker” discussions can grow to be really beneficial and start great friendships.

2. Reach out to your professors and staff members; they really, really help.

Seriously. It may seem terrifying, but it’s their job, whether they abruptly display it to you or not, to assist you in succeeding. However, you must be responsible in setting up appointments to discuss concerns or questions—they pay off at the end of the semester when they give you those extra bonus points for your active participation and engagement in their class. Professors will, most likely, work with the students who are willing to work for their grade.

3. Go to study groups or study sessions.

These may seem even more terrifying than consulting a professor. You’re in a room full of unknown students being asked to discuss topics you may not know. However, I’ve found that oftentimes, graduate students may lead the sessions, and they definitely know their information on the subject(s). They’ve taken the tests, they’ve filled out the study guides, and most importantly, they’ve been in your shoes once. Take advantages of their knowledge: it saves you a lot of time and stress.

4. Create alone time.

Don’t lock yourself in your room on a daily basis, but find a balance to de-stress yourself. Your alone time doesn’t have to be silence in your confined dorm room, it can be outside by the collection of trees by the Starbucks. It could also be an activity—painting, drawing, listening to music, taking a walk—whatever it may be, set aside a time in your overwhelmingly busy schedule to do something mindless.

5. Focus on yourself.

Don’t dwell on the problems you face. College is difficult, and everyone struggles in someway with the transition, but it’s important not to lose sight of yourself. College is the perfect time to set goals, and learn about yourself in a way you never experienced before. You are granted a lot of freedom to be spent however you please, so don’t be afraid to try something new—you may be surprised with the outcome.

6. Exercise.

After a while, dinning hall food will start to mush into one large lump of tastelessness. You’ll catch yourself saying, “I’d rather starve than eat there again,” or the most popular, “let’s eat somewhere else.” So naturally, Panda Express, Chick-Fil-A, Taco Bell, and those prepackaged snacks in your room become your new turn-to. The solution: hit the rec center that’s included in your tuition. Don’t let the gym intimidate you, however, just grab a buddy and take it slow. Small, short exercises actually go a long way, especially if you came from a very active lifestyle in high school. Not only does working out keep your body healthy, it makes you mentally stronger as well.

7. Get enough rest.

You’re in college, I get it. Pulling all nighters, staying up one, two, three, and then four hours past your “set” bed time, staying out late on school nights with no curfew—it’s fun. Until your body starts to slow down, and those late nights begin to drain your energy when you need it most during the day. While college allows you to set your own schedule, be sure to set another schedule to ensure you’re getting the proper amount of sleep. The best academic performances occur when one is well rested, and (gasp) that’s the actual reason you’re in college anyway!

8. Don’t take on too much too soon.

In high school you may have been able to balance three AP courses, an after-school sport, four clubs, being editor in chief of yearbook, and work a part-time job while being on honor roll, but college doesn’t quite work that way. Break your assigned work up. Trying to “get ahead” and complete three day’s worth of work in one evening is the definition of impossible, trust me. Even though college is full of opportunities, don’t stress yourself out right away trying to do everything at once.

9. Be bold.

Period.

10. Be 110% yourself.

You’re completely on your own, and can find out who you really are. Embrace your inner self, and see what happens. Don’t worry. You’ll find your niche. You’ll make friends. It all gets better and makes sense later, and it doesn’t matter how long that realization takes.

11. Greek life isn’t the “only way to get involved” in college.

If Greek life interests you, go for it, but if not, that’s totally okay too. There are over 300 different organizations on campuses to join. It may seem like the whole campus is Greek the first few weeks, but don’t be discouraged if you decide to try an alternate route. Typically organizations start meetings a couple weeks into the year, and go from there. Whatever interests you, try it. You make the choice that’s best for you individually: you’ll be happier that way.


Whatever the new semester brings, I hope these few discoveries/realizations stick with you and encourage you to stay true to yourself—and trust your gut. College is a wonderful privilege with many resources, and should be appreciated to the fullest. Goodluck!
Cover Image Credit: A.R.K. Images

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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The One Thing Everyone Should Do Before They Graduate

Why I wish everyone could have shared in my end of school adventure.

Lswitka
Lswitka
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The end of freshman year was filled with the abundant stress of final exams, teary-eyed goodbyes, and last looks at my dorm room on South Campus. The academic year was overwhelmingly busy, and I tried my best to soak in every single moment as a first-year college student. But as I'm sure many of you can understand, it's not always possible to make time for the adventures we so desperately desire. I found myself saying "I want to do that!" all year long, and here it was the last week of the year and my bucket list had barely been touched. All those Philadelphia excursions, dreamy coffee shop dates, and campus explorations that I looked forward to never ended up panning out…

… until last Thursday night.

With about half the freshman class moved out of South Campus, everything felt a little strange. There was barely a dinner rush at all in Donahue Dining Hall, and my room looked so empty it almost made me sad. Naturally, I called up a couple of friends. Within minutes, we met in the lounge, and we were off for our adventure.

Every single day on the way to labs in Mendel Hall, I walked past the beloved Falvey Fountain. It had become such a consistent part of my routine that walking past it felt like it was a necessary daily occurrence. But this time, we didn't walk past. In fact, we stopped dead in our tracks and admired its color changing beauty for a brief moment.

And then we dove in!

Yes, we jumped right into the fountain. First the daring adventurer of the group, then his sidekick, then the skeptic, and finally myself. This was definitely not allowed, but no one was around, and more importantly, no one cared. Being knee deep was freezing, but the adrenaline rush was too much to suppress. So we submerged further, dunking each other and splashing the icy water literally everywhere. My wet hair made way for the most epic hair flip of all time, and we all laughed joyously.

All the stress of looming final grades and the completion of projects, the bittersweet goodbyes to our newfound families, and the hassles of packing up for the year were washed away in that fountain, drowned in the euphoria of the moment. We were officially baptized in summer as it dubbed us the kings and queens of adventure.

Afterward, we wrung out our soaking clothes and snapped a quick pic of our drenched selves. Trying to escape the scene hastily, I dropped my bag of M&M;'s. They spilled everywhere, leaving streams of melty chocolate and food coloring running through the aftermath of our fountain dive. The scene looked like a bit of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory had exploded from the fountain and into the night.

I am far from kidding when I say that adventure is a must for everyone, at any stage of life. Whether it's fountain diving at Nova, or sky diving in New Mexico, something about us as human beings needs the unusual, exciting, and even hazardous experiences. This one was particularly cleansing and absolutely unforgettable.

So I implore you: go forth this summer and be adventurous! Explore hidden places, try new eats, shuffle a stranger's playlist, introduce yourself to someone on a whim, or just get in the car and drive with no destination in mind. This summer is for the bold; this summer's for you.

Happy adventuring!

Lswitka
Lswitka

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