10 Things All College Students Know Too Well

10 Things All College Students Know Too Well

No matter where you go, there are some universal laws about the college experience.

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There are a wide variety of colleges to choose from: public or private; big school, small school, or mid-sized school; community college or four-year university; close to home or far away... the list is endless in the number of decisions you have to make to choose the school that's the right fit for you. Regardless of where you go, however, there are some universal rules that govern the college experience.

When I compare my college experience at Butler with friends and family that go to other schools, we often focus on the differences. Like "oh your class as 200+ people in it... that's nice, my biggest class has about 20 people in it." Or "why would you waste your Saturday at a sporting event, isn't it boring to watch your team lose..." To which I respond, "Umm no. We're actually pretty good at some sports. The games are really fun." And so on.

But some of the best moments are when we're able to bond over *similar* experiences. It's nice to feel like you're not alone navigating life on your own for the first time. It's nice to know that once you enter the workplace with people from all different universities, you will have even the smallest amount of similar background experience. Our differences may make us unique and help us choose the university that we do, but it's the common experiences that will be talking points in the future. So regardless of where you're at, here are 10 truths that all college students - regardless of university - know all too well.

1. 8 a.m. classes suck. No matter where you are.

It doesn't matter if the class has 100 people in it or 10. I don't care. I do *not* want to get up before 7:30 a.m. on any day. Ever. I don't care if it prepares me for the real world. Give me four years of sleep.

2. Career advisors will warn you about the terrifying job market.

Most schools have some sort of career services department that helps with resumés, job and internship searches, interviews, and more. Regardless of what you go on to see them for - or what school it is - you're going to walk away fearing for your ability to use your degree after graduation. This may not be their intent, but it's the message that most students walk away with.

3. Coffee is fuel. Coffee is success. Coffee is life. 

If you don't drink coffee (or some other highly caffeinated beverage) before you get to college, you're going to start now. By the end of your first semester, you might have spent more at Starbucks than you have on gas.

4. Dining hall food never holds up its end of the bargain.

There are two alternative outcomes to eating in college.

1. The freshman 15: aka, you ate your way through all the desserts at the dining hall or constantly ordered fast food because the actual food provided in your meal plan sucked

2. You go home at Thanksgiving to have your grandma stuff you with food because "you haven't been eating enough" because you, in fact, have not been eating enough because again, the food sucked.

Needs less to say the banquets at Hogwarts got my hopes a little too high.

5. You start the semester proudly going to the gym, but the crowd (and likely you) don't make it past week 3. 

Start of winter semester, and we all think this is going to be a "new year, new me" situation. In reality, like all the other New Years Resolutions that we make: we don't keep it. We realize we most likely have to walk OUTSIDE to get to the gym. That's a tad unappealing in the dark, in the snow, in the cold. Not fun. Hence, the optimism felt week 1 ends up being Netflix or homework time week 3.

6. Fire alarms only happen at the *most* inconvenient times. 

How does someone know to burn their food at the exact time I'm taking a shower. Or on the phone. Or in the middle of an exam. It's amazing. Or worse, there is a prescheduled drill that no one warned me about, and I'm still stuck in the shower, or in an exam, or sleeping. Awesome. Yes. I want to rush my way around my apartment at this weird hour of the day to get ready before the police come and yell at me to get out of the apartment. Because the flashing lights and blaring noise weren't enough of a clue.

7. Professors are weird people. 

Some of them are lovely. Some of them come off as a bit more distant. The types of professors employed by different schools probably do have different personality types; however, everyone has a weird professor. I mean, to dedicate your life to studying one specific thing, often even a specialized topic within that one thing, requires a certain personality type. And while normally nice, things professors say often come off as more than a little strange.

8. Dogs. Are. Awesome. 

Nothing will brighten a college students day than telling them they can pet your dog. Nothing brightens my day more than getting to pet a dog. Dogs bring joy. Period.

9. Parking is a nightmare. 

Someone will probably tell me this isn't a universal law because some schools can't have cars at all. Yea, that's still a nightmare. Your car is parked at your house. You are dependent on other people to come move you from point A to point B. Not awesome. And if you're at a school lucky enough to have a car, it's likely you've paid an arm and a leg to park it there, its nearly impossible to find a parking spot 90% of the time, you've been ticketed at least twice, and/or your parking spot is driving distance away from your usual residence.

10. Netflix is the best thing ever, but also the biggest impediment to getting stuff done. 

Streaming TV is a college students bread and butter. It's sometimes the only thing that gets us through the day. But it is also, unfortunately, the biggest excuse for procrastination available. It's literally more work to stand up and tell the binge-session to stop playing than to let it continue on to another episode. It can stream anywhere you have internet, which considering you're on a college campus, should be everywhere. And as much as you think you can, you are NOT doing your best work while watching re-runs of Greys.

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Why Nursing School Friends Are So Vital

Pun intended.

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When I started nursing school, I knew it would be difficult. I wasn't naive. I heard the stories. I knew what I was getting into…to a certain degree.

It was everything I thought it would be and more. The highs were higher and the lows were lower. The thing you realize quickly in nursing is that it's not something you can achieve on your own. You have to have a support system. It's how you survive. It can feel like you're on your own because you have to perform the skills and make the grades, but really, there are so many friends standing behind you pushing you through.

I've seen it over and over again. I've been a part of it, witnessed it and had help myself. The truth is, even the most intelligent students need help in some sort of way. It might be hard to realize it when you're so inwardly focused, but when you look around you, everyone is walking the same path. They just have different strengths and weaknesses. It's an incredible thing when others use their personal strengths to offset your weaknesses. Nursing friends see in you what you don't see in yourself. Nursing friends share your passions, sleepless nights, early mornings, stress, panic attacks, victories, and failures. Nursing friends are your own personal cheerleaders.

It's no secret that we deal with some pretty gross stuff. Who else can you count on when you're walking down the unit trying to find an extra pair of hands to help you change the clothes of a morbidly obese patient who's covered from shoulders to ankles in their stool? Your nursing buds.

What about when your patient goes into v-fib (ventricular fibrillation), and you need someone to relief on chest compressions? Your rock star nurse friends are there to lend a hand or two.

Or what about when you are scrubbing into a C-section for the first time and you're kind of, sort of, secretly concerned you might get queasy or faint? Your nursing squad will remind you how tough you are. They'll assist you as quickly as possible and when you are finished washing your hands a thousand times, they'll make you laugh or smile. They'll always be there to help you with dignity, support, love, and encouragement.

Your nursing friends know which supply closet you go hide in when you are about to lose it or when class is so long it's giving you a headache so they pass you some Tylenol. Nursing friends are the backbone of your nursing school experience. I always love it that whenever I need hand sanitizer, Tylenol/Advil/Motrin or even a Band-Aid, someone always has it.

Even if you don't talk every day, or you take different class times, there is always someone waving hello or asking how you're holding up. You are all so different, but at the same time, you feel like you're surrounded by so many who are just like you. They care as much as you do. They love as much as you do. And the best part? They just love you. Even on your worst days. There will be times when you trip up on the easy stuff you know that you know, but they'll be there with open arms telling you about when they were in the same place. They are the ones who “fight in the trenches" with you. They'll carry you when you can't keep going, and you'll do the same. No woman or man left behind.

Nursing friends are incredible lifelong blessings. So, remember to thank them every once in a while. Keep cheering each other on, keep fighting together and keep reminding each other that the end goal is closer than it seems.

Cover Image Credit: Maddy Cagle

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To The College Girl Who Doesn't Know Where She Fits In

I'm right there with you, but we will find our place. I promise.

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Finding my place in this great big world hasn't been easy in the slightest. In fact, I am still growing and trying to see where exactly I belong. Coming to college seemed like it would be the perfect time to discover where I fit in, but it's still extremely difficult to find my place. With everything being on my time now, it's hard to find the groups, organizations, or friends that I mesh with the most. While I have friends, both old and new, part of me still doesn't see the bigger picture. Where do I truly fit in?

To you, the person reading this who may feel the exact same way, this is normal.

Not knowing exactly which direction your life is going toward, on top of feeling like you don't quite fit in anywhere yet, sucks to no end. I never really understood why people expressed feeling so lonely in college, but the truth is that it does happen. More time on your hands leads to more time alone with your thoughts, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. Sometimes you really just want to be home because at least you fit in there. Sometimes you just want to be alone in your room because it feels better that way. Sometimes you feel so alone surrounded by so many loving people who care about you. And that's okay. You're allowed to feel, but don't let those feelings dictate everything you do. Don't fall victim to your thoughts, don't let the loneliness swallow you whole. Because you're not alone.

You don't have to find your place right away. Give it time and I swear it will happen.

I'm a firm believer that everything falls into place just as it should. Not knowing how things are going to work out is scary at times, but it always happens for the best. Go looking for things that interest you, do what makes you incredibly happy, and live without regret. People who see the light in your heart will radiate toward you. We will find our place, and we will look back and wonder why we ever spent so much time worrying about where we fit in. Open your mind to new opportunities and allow yourself to let others in. You have so much talent and worth to offer the world, and it's only a matter of time before you find that one group that recognizes what you have to give.

Express yourself to someone, anyone. I promise there is at least one person willing to listen.

Let people in. Talking out your emotions and thoughts truly does wonders and will help you feel a million times better. It could be a stranger, friend, relative, anyone you think will listen. Let them know that you don't feel as though you have a place in your new surroundings yet. Confessing your worries doesn't make you weak, it shows your strength. Becoming part of something new is scary yet exciting, so it's okay to be slightly worried about the unknown. Trial and error is a good test for most things, so allow yourself a chance to test the waters.

I know not feeling part of anything is brutal on your mental state right now, but I promise there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to open your heart to new experiences.

Sincerely,

The girl who's in the exact same boat.

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