Advice To The College Class of 2021

Advice To The College Class of 2021

What you need to know about your first semester of college, as told by Gilmore Girls
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Just a few months ago, I wrote to the high school class of 2017. Having just graduated two months prior, I wanted to share some advice for how to make their final year the best. This article was published just before I left for college and many of my friends who are seniors began their final year of high school. Now, a good percentage of high school seniors have received acceptance letters to multiple colleges and for those who chose early decision, their decision was made.

Now, I have finished my first semester of college and I definitely don't have it all figured out, but I know a little bit about the beginning, which for many, will be the hardest part. The college experience begins differently for everyone, but here are some tips on how to survive your first semester in college.

1. Don’t be afraid.

Prior to leaving for college, afraid does not even begin to sum up the emotions I was feeling. It would be my first time away from home and I did not want to leave my family. I grew up in a small town and went to school with the same people for 13+ years. I thought that I would struggle making friends and being away from home. I did a little bit the first few days, but I decided to put myself out there and I met some amazing people. This is a big step toward independence. You have craved independence, but once you get it, you do not know what to do with it. It will take time, but you will figure it out.

2. You actually have to read the books or articles that are assigned.

Procrastination is my middle name. One of my best skills in high school was whipping out a paper on a book that I did not read, the night before it was due. That is not the case in college. I hate to break it to you, but no matter how boring a book or other reading may seem, you have to read it.

When I was assigned to read an article or short story in high school, I saw that as I had no homework. If you do not do the prior night’s reading in college, you cannot participate in the discussion and it is obvious to the entire class. The professor will not care because it was your choice and it will only impact you negatively in the long run. Long story short, do your work.

3. The key to a good relationship with your roommate is communication.

If something your roommate is doing is bothering you, you have to tell him/her before it gets worse. You are both living in a small space, and if you are not communicating it will get awkward. You need to respect each other’s space and let them know if something is up. You do not have to be best friends with your roommate, but you should have a good relationship with them.

Regardless of how different you and your roommate may be, you can get along if you establish respect. When something is not working for you, let your roommate know.

4. Go to the dining hall.

After the first few weeks of living off Sodexo food, my new friends and I were pretty done. We ordered food at least once a week. It was a big waste of money. We realized that, and tried to go to the dining hall more often. Chances are your meal plan has already been paid for, and you should make the most of that. The food is not good, but think of how much you are paying for it. If you do not use those meal swipes, you are wasting money, and if you choose to order food instead you are wasting even more money. You will get sick of dining hall food and you won’t feel like walking there, but you really should go.

5. Cram studying does not work.

All of my tests this semester were either cumulative or on multiple chapters. You will be thankful that you spread out your studying when you get to the night before, because you will realize you know more than you think you do. Cramming will not work when finals week comes around because you will be studying for multiple large tests. You will get a syllabus the first week of classes and it would be a smart idea to go through your syllabus the day you get it and write down all the dates of tests in your planner. By doing that, you will not be surprised, and you can be studying as you go along without the professor having to mention it.

6. College Wi-Fi is horrible.

My high school's Wi-Fi was actually horrendous and I could not wait to go to a school with Wi-Fi that worked. With everyone on their laptops, phones, tablets, and other devices, college Wi-Fi is actually worse than in high school.

7. Sleep.

Going into college, I went to bed fairly early. I did my homework early and was in bed by 9:00. That changed real fast. The first weekend of school, I got really close with some girls on my floor and we were up until all hours of the night. We soon realized that did not work because the 8:00 a.m. classes the next day were a struggle. Being a college student, a lack of sleep is a given. You will be up late finishing papers, projects, studying, or just watching Netflix. You can spend hours studying, but if you are not sleeping well, your grades can suffer.


Congratulations to those of you who have been accepted to colleges. You should be proud and excited. You still have a semester to go before you will be official college students, so appreciate that time. Appreciate the time you have with your family, friends, teachers, and the place in which you have grown up. Do not let senioritis get the best of you. Your college will get a final transcript. Finish strong and prepare yourself for the next step.

Congratulations and good luck!
Cover Image Credit: Time Magazine

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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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To The High School Graduating Seniors

I know you're ready, but be ready.

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Seniors,

I am not going to say anything about senioritis because I was ready to get out of there and I'm sure you are too; however, in your last months living at home you should take advantage of the luxuries you will not have in a college dorm. The part of college seen in movies is great, the rest of it is incredibly inconvenient. It is better to come to terms with this While you still have plenty of time to prepare and enjoy yourself.

Perhaps one of the most annoying examples is the shower. Enjoy your hot, barefoot showers now because soon enough you will have no water pressure and a drain clogged with other people's hair. Enjoy touching your feet to the floor in the shower and the bathroom because though it seems weird, it's a small thing taken away from you in college when you have to wear shoes everywhere.

Enjoy your last summer with your friends. After this summer, any free time you take is a sacrifice. For example, if you want to go home for the summer after your freshman year and be with your friends, you have to sacrifice an internship. If you sacrifice an internship, you risk falling behind on your resume, and so on. I'm not saying you can't do that, but it is not an easy choice anymore.

Get organized. If you're like me you probably got good grades in high school by relying on your own mind. You think I can remember what I have to do for tomorrow. In college, it is much more difficult to live by memory. There are classes that only meet once or twice a week and meeting and appointments in between that are impossible to mentally keep straight. If you do not yet have an organizational system that works for you, get one.

I do not mean to sound pessimistic about school. College is great and you will meet a lot of people and make a lot of memories that will stick with you for most of your life. I'm just saying be ready.

-A freshman drowning in work

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