freshmen advice

10 Things to avoid your freshman year of college

Having this list as you enter college will be extremely valuable and beneficial to experiencing the best year of your life!

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Ahhh good ol' freshman year. The best times and the worst times. Going to college six hours from home was the best decision I had ever made for myself, but the transition would have been much smoother had I known the things I know now. You cannot take on this beast by yourself, so allow me to lend a hand and guide you through one of the most exciting and different years of your life thus far. I have compiled a list of 10 key things to avoid your freshman year of college in order to ensure a smooth, happy, and fun first year!

1. Chad from Sigma Why

There is no coincidence I put this as the number one thing to avoid your first year on campus. Nine out of 10 fraternity boys can and will make life messier and harder than it needs to be. Avoid the Brads in this world.

I recommend focusing this year on finding yourself and figuring out your place without adding ignorant sex-crazed boys to the mix. Sure they can be fun to party and spend time with, but if you give them too much of your time you may find yourself in a sticky situation. I promise you will not find your husband at your first fraternity party in college, so focus on yourself and living your best single life without getting involved with a Chad.

2. Accepting questionable solo cups from any male whatsoever

I don't care how hot Chad is, or how cute his friends are. If a boy offers you any open container, either say no thank you or take that cup and put that thing on the floor seconds later. Most college boys are super sketch, and I would only trust your close girls in the get-go. To be safe, stick to beer at parties or simply bring your own drink (unless you're down to wake up next to Chad having no clue what happened the night before).

3. Wasting all your dining dollars within the first two months of school

This one is sad but true. You don't want to be the one kid with zero money left when all your friends are chowing down on La Madeleine and Taco Bell the second month of school. I have too many friends who blew all of their dining dollars in the get-go and have to sit around sad and hungry for the remainder of the semester. Just be smart and frugal, and all will be well!

4. Going to the busiest library when you need to grind out a 15 page paper

At the University of Kentucky, Willy T. is the library of choice by most. It is large and beautiful, but it can be very busy and distracting at times. If you are only going to get one small assignment done and socialize, go for the "fun" library, but if you have to work on 6 hours of anatomy homework and write a 15 page essay, I recommend going to a smaller library on campus. It will be much quieter and 10 times easier to focus and be productive.

5. Skipping class frequently

I'm going to let you in on a secret. Going to every class every single day is, in theory, a great idea, but is it practical all the time? The answer is no. Here is my special recommendation:

1. Attend all your mandatory classes unless you are throwing up everywhere and or actually dying. Having to go to office hours and do a bunch of extra work for not attending out of laziness is big dumb.

2. Skip the less important classes when and if you feel you can. I was able to skip biology most days because our lectures were posted online daily. I also skipped philosophy and linguistics many times for the same reason! Be smart and don't forget exam dates and due dates if you decide to sleep through class for the 15th time.

3. Take your exams on time!!!! It is a hassle to reschedule the exam with your professor, so just take it when you're supposed to. Push through that hangover if needed, you will make it out alive I promise.

6. Avoiding taking the bus. You are never too cool to utilize campus transportation.

First semester I made the mistake of being that person who was "too good" to take the bus. Man was that stupid! Perks of taking the bus include:

1. Getting extra sleep. Wake up late? Hop on the bus and make it just before class starts.

2. Not having to bear scolding heat, blizzards, or monsoons.

3. Enabling the lazy person you are. Eliminate the extra walking you have to do for the day.

7. Stressing over assignment after assignment

My philosophy is stress is a choice when it comes to school. Stress is a natural thing and all of us encounter many stressors on a daily basis, but school is the one thing I believe you CAN control. Make the conscious decision to not allow anything to get to you. If you have a gigantic paper coming up, acknowledge the fact that you are going to have to write it and move on. Get it started and make some progress, and then get on with your life. Letting an assignment dictate your life and happiness is not something I am about, and I am a much happier person now that I accept everything that comes my way and do not allow it to stress me out.

8. Sitting in your dorm when everyone else is out having fun

Freshman year is the time to have fun and say yes as much as possible. Don't be picky about who you spend your time with, just try to experience as many things as possible. Do not limit yourself to the same three people. Expand your group and be as inclusive as possible! If some girls on your hall are going to lunch and invite you, go! If your guy friend from Communications class wants to study with you at the library, go for it! If your sorority sisters want Waffle House at 2 a.m. on a random Wednesday night, join them. Experience. Experience. Experience.

9. Staying in your comfort zone

You are not the same person you were in high school. Think of coming to college as a rebirth and a completely new beginning. If you were super shy in high school, but want to be more outgoing and social in college, do it and don't feel nervous about it. Nobody knows who you were in the past, so work toward creating the version of yourself you aim to become and roll with it

10. Being a douche to everyone

If you want people to like you, the only piece of advice I have is to not be mean to others. Sounds silly, but the people I like least in college are the ones who think they are too good to be nice to others and treat everyone with respect. Please include others and do not allow anyone to feel like an outsider (unless they're a douche bag and rude, let them be alone). If you can be a decent human and nice to everyone, I promise you will make so many friends and truly love your college experience.

Cover Image Credit:

Madison Morgan

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So, You Want To Be A Nurse?

You're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

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To the college freshman who just decided on nursing,

I know why you want to be a nurse.

Nurses are important. Nursing seems fun and exciting, and you don't think you'll ever be bored. The media glorifies navy blue scrubs and stethoscopes draped around your neck, and you can't go anywhere without hearing about the guaranteed job placement. You passed AP biology and can name every single bone in the human body. Blood, urine, feces, salvia -- you can handle all of it with a straight face. So, you think that's what being a nurse is all about, right? Wrong.

You can search but you won't find the true meaning of becoming a nurse until you are in the depths of nursing school and the only thing getting you through is knowing that in a few months, you'll be able to sign the letters "BSN" after your name...

You can know every nursing intervention, but you won't find the true meaning of nursing until you sit beside an elderly patient and know that nothing in this world can save her, and all there's left for you to do is hold her hand and keep her comfortable until she dies.

You'll hear that one of our biggest jobs is being an advocate for our patients, but you won't understand until one day, in the middle of your routine physical assessment, you find the hidden, multi-colored bruises on the 3-year-old that won't even look you in the eyes. Your heart will drop to your feet and you'll swear that you will not sleep until you know that he is safe.

You'll learn that we love people when they're vulnerable, but you won't learn that until you have to give a bed bath to the middle-aged man who just had a stroke and can't bathe himself. You'll try to hide how awkward you feel because you're young enough to be his child, but as you try to make him feel as comfortable as possible, you'll learn more about dignity at that moment than some people learn in an entire lifetime.

Every class will teach you about empathy, but you won't truly feel empathy until you have to care for your first prisoner in the hospital. The guards surrounding his room will scare the life out of you, and you'll spend your day knowing that he could've raped, murdered, or hurt people. But, you'll walk into that room, put your fears aside, and remind yourself that he is a human being still, and it's your job to care, regardless of what he did.

Each nurse you meet will beam with pride when they tell you that we've won "Most Trusted Profession" for seventeen years in a row, but you won't feel that trustworthy. In fact, you're going to feel like you know nothing sometimes. But when you have to hold the sobbing, single mother who just received a positive breast cancer diagnosis, you'll feel it. Amid her sobs of wondering what she will do with her kids and how she's ever going to pay for treatment, she will look at you like you have all of the answers that she needs, and you'll learn why we've won that award so many times.

You'll read on Facebook about the nurses who forget to eat and pee during their 12-hour shifts and swear that you won't forget about those things. But one day you'll leave the hospital after an entire shift of trying to get your dying patient to eat anything and you'll realize that you haven't had food since 6:30 A.M. and you, too, will be one of those nurses who put everything else above themselves.

Too often we think of nursing as the medicine and the procedures and the IV pumps. We think of the shots and the bedpans and the baths. We think all the lab values and the blood levels that we have to memorize. We think it's all about the organs and the diseases. We think of the hospitals and the weekends and the holidays that we have to miss.

But, you're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion, and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

So, you think you want to be a nurse?

Go for it. Study. Cry. Learn everything. Stay up late. Miss out on things. Give it absolutely everything that you have.

Because I promise you that the decision to dedicate your life to saving others is worth every sleepless night, failed test, or bad day that you're going to encounter during these next four years. Just keep holding on.

Sincerely,

The nursing student with just one year left.

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What I Wish I Knew About Life After High School Before I Had To Live It

Life after high school isn't always what you expected it to be.

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So you're about to graduate high school and you think you have it all figured out. You and your best friends are going to stay close throughout college and you're going to take those long road trips in college to see each other. Think again.

Life after high school isn't always what you want it to be. You think you'll miss high school, you'll always be close with your high school besties, and you'll have all this free time in college. That's just not entirely true. I personally do not miss high school. I don't really talk to anyone I went to high school with on a regular basis, and I'm totally OK with that. I have friends in college that I believe will be my lifelong friends whereas my friends in high school didn't make an effort to keep in contact with me after high school.

I haven't had all the free time I've dreamed of in college, because I'm busy with school and meetings. When I'm not doing homework, I'm making sure the rest of my life is in order and all my stuff for school is in line. I'm not the crazy party girl that people think I am because of where I go to school. I'd rather sit in bed and watch Netflix than go out with my friends. I'm not a 4.0 student, but I work so hard in my classes just to make sure that I'm passing. I study a week before tests and still don't always make A's. And that's OK. It's not what I expected during my college years, but it's what's happening, and most of my friends are the same way.

Anne Marie Bonadio

Just know that life in college isn't all easy, breezy, and beautiful like Covergirl. It's hard and you will struggle whether it be in school or with your friends. College isn't always complete freedom. You'll be tied down with school and life and you won't have the free time that you always imagined. You won't always be best friends with your high school friends. You won't be taking those road trips because you won't be able to afford them, and if you're like me, your parents won't let you.

College won't be exactly what you dreamed it'll be, but it'll be some of the best years of your life.

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