My Advice To Incoming College Freshmen

My Advice To Incoming College Freshmen

"Don't blink, you just might miss it."
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It's hard to believe that in just a few short days my freshmen year of college will be over. I blinked and it was Thanksgiving break. I blinked it was winter break and I blinked again and it was finals week of spring semester. College is scary. For the first time in your whole life, you're going to be the boss of you. No one is going to make sure you eat dinner, do your homework, or have clean clothes on. It's all going to be up to you to take of yourself. It'll be your first taste of sweet freedom, but from one newbie to another, let me offer you some advice.

1. Be open to new things.

Take that French class even though you took Spanish for the past 4 years in high school. Sign-up for a kickboxing class. Your friend wants to go eat Vietnamese cuisine? Tag along. College is a time to step out of your comfort zone and do new things, don't be afraid. Embrace it.

2. But also don't do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Don't force it. Don't force friendships, love, memories, fun. Trust your instincts and blow that popsicle stand if you don't get the right vibe. Good times and good people will come around I promise. Don't compromise your feelings to just to fit in. You'll find your people.

3. The first month of school is going to be hell.

I'm not gonna sugarcoat it, the first month of college sucks. It's a big ole' slap to the face when you realize that you have to wash your own clothes, wake your own self up, and cater to your own needs. Mommy and daddy can't spoon feed you anymore. Its hard to get adjusted to a new schedule and classes and a new social life, it's stressful. It does get better, I promise you that.

4. Don't overpack.

You don't need your entire wardrobe, prom dress, or a well-tailored suit . You also don't need 20 notebooks and 3 binders. Throughout the semester you slowly start to add more things as you get busier, don't immediately make a mess out of your room.

5. Call your mom, trust me, she's going to miss you a lot.

Speaking from a personal experience, my mother had a very hard time letting go. Your mom is also going to have a very hard time accepting the fact that you're not that kid in kindergarten anymore, you're a college freshman. Call her, it'll help both of you out. It's a big adjustment for the both of you, don't blow her off.

6. Work hard.

College is not going to be a cake walk. Professor's literally could care less about your grades. They will not spoon feed you and if you want an A, you have to study your butt off. I know. Studying is not something you're used to doing, you could get by in high school without ever touching your book. If you want that A, go get it. Learn good study habits and techniques and go to the library. You will never get actual work done in your dorm.

7. But also let loose

After a long week of school, let loose man. Go out to the frats, the clubs, the house parties, the movies, whatever your source of fun is and have fun. College is all about freedom, take advantage of that. No curfew guys! Go out and meet new people, eating pizza at 2 a.m. with your best friends beats getting a C on a quiz.

8. Your dream will change.

You could walk into your freshmen year a math major but realize you stink at math and become an english major. It's okay. It's okay to change your mind. It's okay to wanna be a different person. That is what college is for, everyday you will learn something new about yourself. By the end of the year, you could've gone from an engineering major to a fashion merchandising major. Find your magic and make something out of it.

9. Ask for help.

Don't get overwhelmed with school, your social life, clubs, Greek life, anything. If you need help, ask for it. Someone is always going to want to help you and listen to you and give you advice. You are not alone in this. No one actually knows what they're doing.

10. You'll either have a really good roommate story, or a really bad one.

Your roommate is someone you will never forget, whether that be good or bad. I was lucky enough to have a roommate who became a great friend of mine. Always remember to respect each others things, ask before you borrow and be respectful. You're sharing a tiny space, keep it clean.

11. Figure out what it means to be yourself.

Don't be afraid to be who you want to be. College is the one time in your life you can completely reinvent yourself. No one cares about who you were in high school. What matters is who you are now, who you wanna be and how you're going to get there.

In my first year I've learned so much about myself, my school, my friends, my family about everything. It goes by faster than you could ever imagine. As Ferris Bueler once said "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Cover Image Credit: 123RF

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hot air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

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My Mom Didn't Want To Take My Sick Sister To The Hospital Because We're Not Here Legally

The rights and protections illegal immigrants have in hospitals

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"I don't think she should go to the hospital," my mom told me as we took my sister to the hospital. "But mom, she is sick and her temperature is at 106 degrees, we need to go" I responded. My mom and I arrived at the hospital 4 minutes later and watched as she was taken through the doors of the emergency room. My mother and I then were told to sit in the waiting area with the other people.

An hour or two later, I had noticed that my mother was still nervous about being in the hospital. "Do you think that they will be looking in the hospitals for people like us?" My mother asked me. I tried to reassure her by saying, "no, we're in what's called a sensitive location, the immigration authorities don't usually search for people like us here at a hospital," however, she continued to remain worried. We sat in the public waiting room for another hour before we heard a doctor called my mother's name.

As my mother left, entering the private area of the hospital, I continued to sit in the waiting room, since they were only allowing one person at a time at the moment; they said something about my sister being susceptible to germs and such, and that they wanted her to have the least exposure possible. In order to calm myself, I started to just observe other people around the room, and just as I began to look out the nearby window, I saw a car that said "Homeland Security" pull up and my hands began to shake.

I immediately went up to the front desk to see if I could be in the same room as my sister in order for the immigration authorities not to see me. My efforts were denied and I was told to go back to my seat, however, the receptionist before I went back to my seat told me to say, "I have the right to remain silent," and pointed her eyes toward the authorities walking through the sliding doors.

My palms began to sweat as they went up to each individual person, asking for their citizenship status, with each answering either, "American" or "Citizen." Then a man came up to me and asked me the same question, "Ma'am, what is your citizenship status?" "I have the right to remain silent," I replied. Then he looked at me for a moment, gave me a glare, then walked up to the front desk. I had a deep sigh of relief as he was at the front desk talking to the receptionist, and grabbed a magazine as fast as I could to not look suspicious.

"I am looking for a family called _____. Are they here at your hospital?" he asked at the front desk. After the receptionist nodded yes, he then demanded that he be guided to the room my family was in. As he was saying this, the hairs on the back of my neck began to stick straight up. What would I do without my mom and sister if they were deported!

"No sir, unless you have a warrant or are a member of the family, I cannot let you into their hospital room," the receptionist responded; she glanced at me while saying this. "Ma'am do you know that it is illegal for anyone to be harboring illegal immigrants," he told her. "Knowingly yes, however, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act states that we medical staff cannot reveal any patient information without patient consent. You cannot even go to that area of the hospital without a warrant," she said.

The officer looked angrily at her when she said this. He then began to go through documents on the front desk itself when she yelled "Stop! Those documents have confidential patient information and you are not allowed to go through them!" "Yes I can!" he shouted, "Without a warrant, you cannot!"

"Well tell me, ma'am, what can I do," he then asked her. "What you can do is to look at information in plain view, such as this," she replied, pointing at a paper that stated the details of a fundraiser at the hospital next week. "You can only look at what you see, such as this paper, but you cannot touch any document in order to see information under it, not a peek," she said confidently.

He looked even more frustrated and was incredibly infuriated with her. He then turned around facing me and shouted, "Everyone in this room, show me some ID that indicates your legal status, or you will be questioned by immigration authorities." The receptionist by the looks of her face had enough of this and yelled, "You do not have to give them anything! You all have the right to not be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures." She then turned to the officer and said "I recommend that you reread our constitution sir, and in fact, California State Law. "Everyone who enters this country is entitled to the rights stated in the Constitution of the United States, regardless of their citizenship status."

The officer looked at her in shock, since he was used to getting his way, and after ordering the other officers to leave, left the hospital. As soon as the car left, everyone got up and cheered for the brave receptionist for her actions. She tried to brush it off because of her feeling embarrassed, yet at the end of the clapping said: "If you guys have any questions regarding your rights in a hospital, I'm your girl."

Soon after everyone sat down again, she called me up to the desk and put her hand on mine. "Everything is going to be alright," she said, "and you can go see your sister now, I'm sure your mother wants you to join her also." I thanked her and ran into the private area of the hospital. However, I looked back one last time and smiled as I saw the receptionist continue her work as if nothing had happened. "I guess not all heroes have to wear capes," I muttered, and then went down another hallway that led to my sister's room.

Further reading to understand your rights:

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