The 13 Phases Of Your Fall Semester, As Told By 'Parks And Rec'

The 13 Phases Of Your Fall Semester, As Told By 'Parks And Rec'

I used to be a Leslie, but college has turned me into a Ron.

Ah, Fall: a time of football games, pumpkin flavored everything and, unfortunately, school starting back up. Don't get me wrong, school can be great and all, but sometimes it makes me want to drown myself in the closest sorority girl's pumpkin spice latte.

From insane professors to late night studies, college can often test your will to survive, or at least your will to graduate. Regardless of how stressful it gets, we often push through to the end. Each semester will take its usual course, and what better way of explaining this incredible journey than by the cast of Parks and Rec?

1. Syllabus week

You usually start off confident, maybe even a little ambitious if you want to get crazy. I think it's something to do with getting new school supplies that makes us feel like we "have it all together."

2. The first weekend of the semester

Now that you've finished your first week of the year, why not celebrate? This is when classes are the easiest so take advantage of this one time of not being completely stressed and have a little fun.

3. First major test/assignment is due

You want to start off on the right foot, right? Not being 100% on how the teacher grades, you try your hardest to get that A.

4. The first "I think I'm going to skip"

You think you've gotten the hang of things and your grades are looking good, so why not skip? Well, considering you or someone else is having to pay for you to be there, you probably shouldn't. So, even though it may seem impossible, try to resist this temptation.

5. The mornings start to get a little harder

Just picture that phone as my alarm clock.

6. When your professors start acting like their class is the only class you take

But why do some professors like to make intro classes as difficult as they possibly can? This is an intro bio exam, not the MCAT.

7. It's is FINALLY Thanksgiving break

^ ^ ^ My response whenever a relative asks how college is going.

At least you get to hoard up on all the Thanksgiving leftovers so you have something to stress eat later.

8. Break is over, so now back to ignoring my problems

Now that break is over and finals week is on the horizon, reality has never hit so hard, but you did JUST get back from break so I'm sure those problems can wait a little longer?

9. Assignments are in full over-drive as professors desperately cram everything in before finals

^ ^ ^ Imagine: Tammy is an overwhelming amount of schoolwork and you are Leslie.

10. Beginning of finals week

This is what the entire semester has been leading up to and YOU GO THIS.

11. Mid finals week

Wow, okay, you def don't "GOT THIS."

12. End of finals week

Because of the lack of sleep and extreme stress you may be a tad loopy, but don't let it distract you! Just push through the next exam or two and then you're done!

13. When you finish your last final

Rolling into Christmas break like ^ ^ ^

Cover Image Credit: NBC Universal

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Getting Straight A's In College Is Not Worth Failing Your Mental Health

A's are nice, but you are more than a letter.


The idea of getting an A on every paper, every exam, every assignment, seems great. It can be known as a reassurance of our hard work and dedication to our 4+ classes we attend every single day.

Losing sleep, skipping meals, forgetting to drink water, skipping out on time with friends and family; these are the things that can occur when your letter of an A is what you are living for.

You are worth more than the grade letter, or the GPA number on your transcript.

Listen, don't get me wrong, getting A's and B's definitely is something to feel accomplished for. It is the approval that you did it, you completed your class, and your hard work paid off.

But honey, get some sleep.

Don't lose yourself, don't forget who you are. Grades are important, but the true measurement of self-worth and accomplishment is that you tried your best.

Trying your best, and working hard for your goals is something that is A-worthy.

Reserve time for yourself, for your sanity, your health, your mental health.

At the end of the day, grades might look nice on a piece of paper, but who you are and how you represent yourself can be even more honorable.


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My Future Career Is More Than A 'Glorified Babysitter' Position, Despite What You May Think

I am an education major and extremely proud of it.


This is a topic that has been on my heart a lot this week. As an Education major, I've heard it all. "Do you know how much teachers make?" Yes. "You ACTUALLY like kids?!?" Yes, I LOVE them. "Why would you do that to yourself?" Because I love it. Because I love being an Education major, I've become extremely passionate about defending it. However, I'm getting tired of feeling like I have to.

This career choice is something that I'm proud of. I know that being a teacher means sacrificing several things. I know that it means sacrificing your financial security. I know that it means sacrificing your ability to not be constantly thinking about 30 other kiddos all of the time. I know that I'll be sacrificing my right to be selfish. If you think about it, everything that a teacher does is utterly selfless. They dedicate their entire college career and teaching career to make sure that YOU understand the material. They spend several chunks of their own money on their classroom to provide an environment that enhances your learning. It's selfless. And it takes a person who recognizes that fact to be a teacher.

Teaching also has many dimensions, that nobody actually thinks about. For example, the class description for one of my classes says that it "Focuses on multicultural and interdisciplinary literature appropriate for middle grades students; implements and evaluates effective multicultural, interdisciplinary instruction through selection, use and development of literature in middle grades classroom" (TAMU catalog). Within this class, I was required to authenticate texts (make sure that they're culturally appropriate), learn about how to build a culturally-diverse classroom library, and how to teach without microaggressions. And these things only scratch the surface of the content that I was required to know for this class. People seem to forget that this is only one aspect of teaching, making sure everyone feels included socially and culturally. So please tell me how "glorified babysitter" fits into this description.

Also, good teachers work extremely hard. A good teacher knows that every child is on a different level and teaches so that each child understands that material. Good teachers present the material in a way that visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners can understand. They use a strategy called differentiation to "instruct a diverse group of students, with diverse learning needs, in the same course, classroom, or learning environment" (Glossary of Education Reform). Also, there will always be special education kiddos who come into the general education classroom for a subject or two, and it's important that good teachers have a lesson prepared specifically for that student that meets their IEP goals. These IEP goals are "Annual goals are statements that identify what knowledge, skills and/or behaviors a student is expected to be able to demonstrate within the period of time beginning with the time the IEP is implemented until the next scheduled review" (

Teachers also have to worry about the kiddos who come from broken, abusive, and low socioeconomic households. One of the biggest things that I have learned so far is that a hungry student is a distracted student. There are several students that go to bed hungry and don't eat a lot over the weekend because their family cannot afford it. It's important to know that if you're going to get a student to listen to you, you've gotta keep some crackers or trail mix with you at all times in case they cannot focus because of their lack of food. With that, the other battle with teaching is handling the parents. Some are wonderful, others... not so much. I haven't had to experience this yet personally, but I'm prepared.

The key ingredient in being a good teacher is not the lesson you prepare, but the relationships that you develop with your students. I have sat through countless classes, and not once have I remembered the material taught word for word, but I have remembered the relationship that I've had with the teacher or professor. Being a teacher means that:

"students want to know that you care before they care about how much you know"

Building a relationship with 30+ kids is hard, but it's possible. You have to know that it's okay to admit your personal struggles and show that you are not a robot. Having a relationship with your kids means apologizing when you realize that you taught or did something wrong. Having a relationship means caring about things that students also care about. If they're concerned about something, it's your job to ask about it. Being a relational teacher means asking yourself: "what can I learn from my students today?"

I cannot wait to be a teacher, which entails a lot more than a "glorified babysitter". I cannot wait to teach the future generation everything that they need to know to be successful. I cannot wait to build really cool relationships with them, and see the graduation invitations from them when they graduate with master's degrees from somewhere. I am excited to love on my students and do something with my life that is worthwhile.

However, I know that I am not the only major who feels like they must defend themselves from the rest of society. What I've learned is that everyone will not understand you or what you love. Our job is to educate them respectfully. Every career choice is valid. Everybody does a different job in this world for a good reason. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and that's a good thing! Someone whose brain is wired to be a car salesman probably would not thrive as a scuba diver. Someone who is extremely good at math should probably not try to pursue a career in teaching collegiate literature. We're all different and we all have different passions. Not everyone will understand, and that's okay. Let's do our part to help them understand.

I am a future teacher, and I'm proud of it.

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