As I Finish My Sophomore Year Of College I've Learned That Everything Is Different Now

As I Finish My Sophomore Year Of College I've Learned That Everything Is Different Now

You live and you learn.


In my freshman year of college, I remember feeling so shy and cautious about everything. I was finally in college, the place I've wanted to go to since I was in middle school. I didn't want to mess anything up. I pushed myself to get up for classes and reminded myself of how important it was to get the best grades I could achieve.

Flash forward to me a year and a half later, skipping a 12:30 P.M. class to take a nap. No, I haven't become a slacker. In fact, my grades are still looking pretty great. My entire life, I've always been an A and B student and I still am in college. However, the way I went about getting my grades when I was in high school versus now is pretty different. In high school, I stayed up super late to do homework and when I would give up, I'd cheat. So hard. I would go past the first page of Google trying to find the homework document anywhere I possibly could. College has taught me that you can't necessarily get away with doing that anymore, but I've accepted that. I've realized that when you put enough planning and enough of your time and effort into your work, you'll feel more deserving of your grade. It's a pretty satisfying feeling.

I learned that mistakes will be made and that's okay. In high school, anytime you made a mistake, it felt like the end of the world because high school was just full of drama. Everything was taken to heart and all actions were rash and impulsive. I've messed up more than I'd like to admit, but I know for a fact that I've learned a lesson with every mistake I've made. Making all the mistakes I have, it's allowed me to become a more compassionate and understanding person. I know now that sometimes, you just gotta take the time to really think through your actions and their results. It's basic but it's something many people are still learning. You have to make mistakes to learn from them, and it's not the end of the world.

College has also taught me to put my mental health first. In high school, it really does feel like high school is all there ever will be. It feels like high school determined the rest of my life for me, and I know now that it doesn't and it never really did. There were so many times that the crushing weight of trying to graduate with the perfect GPA and trying to be the perfect student would just take me under. There were endless nights of stress and no sleep and crying and uncertainty; I thought I would be nothing if I were not the perfect student, or at least close to it. Now, I still stay up trying to make sure I get the good grades on my assignments but I'm learning not to let attaining certain grades suffocate me. If I'm exhausted or mentally drained from school, I allow myself to skip a class every now and then to sleep and get a peace of mind. Mental health days are definitely required as a college student.

I've learned that school truly isn't everything. It's hard to believe that because we've done 12 years of regular schooling our entire lives, and then some more for those who decide to go to college. School has been all we've ever known so how can it not be everything? Well, it's not just for the plain old reason that it isn't. Oftentimes, we are so caught up in schoolwork that we forget there's so much more out there in the world. There are moments you don't realize you miss out on. You miss out on meeting someone and going on dates. You miss out on the perfect sunset outside your dorm. You miss out on a fun night of just walking around campus with your friends and laughing all night. School isn't everything, but living your life is.

I hate to be cliche and say, "Hey, live life to the fullest or you'll regret it," but it's true. You miss out on so many moments of your life because of something that will only result in a piece of paper awarding your mastery of a major has taken over your time. Of course, college is all about balance. Find the time to do your essay due on Friday but also find the time to watch a movie with your best friend or make some new friends. Find the time to do something crazy and unexpected that will leave you more thrilled than ever.

It never feels like there's enough time in the day, let alone in life, and that's why college always seems to fly by. I don't want to look back at my college days and say, "I wish I had gone to the lake with my friends that time" or "I wish I had said yes to a date with that cute junior." I want to look back and say, "I can't believe I dived into the lake in the middle of the night with my college friends." College, so far, has taught me this important message: a life full of 'I wish' is not a life well lived. Don't get so caught up in the stress of it all. Live a life that you can smile at when you're old and pensive.

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My Freckles Are Not A Beauty Trend For You To Appropriate And Immitate

Those with faces full of freckles can't wipe them off like you can after a photo shoot.


While it is fun to use makeup to express yourself, one can argue unless you are in costume, it should be used to enhance your features, not create new ones. The trend of artificial freckles puts a nasty taste in my mouth reminiscent to the feeling I get when I see a Caucasian woman apply such dark foundation to her face that she appears to be donning blackface.

To someone who has a face full of freckles, it is offensive to see you paint on freckles as if they were not permanent features of other people's skin that they cannot remove with a makeup wipe. I remember asking my cousin at 5 years old if I could surgically remove my freckles and crying when she broke to me that I'd be stuck with what she called giraffe spots my whole life.

I'm not alone in feeling self-conscious about my freckles. The face is the fulcrum of the identity, and it can feel like my facial identity is like a haphazard splash of orange/brown debris. Another against the fake freckles movement retorts: "you'll soon regret them when people begin to describe you as a polka-dot-skinned troll or a cinnamon-toast-faced goblin. Also, when your eyebags start to sag in middle-age, that 'cute' skin art will probably deteriorate into something more closely resembling oblong blackheads. Sincerely, A Freckled Person"

One woman recalls her struggle with accepting the patterns of her skin from a very young age:

“When I was a young girl, I remember staring at myself in my bathroom mirror and imagining my face without the scattered brown dots that littered my face and body. I dreamed of having the small imperfections removed from my face and obtaining the smooth porcelain skin that I envied. I looked at my bare-faced friends in awe because they had what I wanted and would never know. For some odd reason, I had made myself believe that my freckles made me ugly."

I've come to appreciate the beauty of these sun kisses, and many nowadays have too. However, freckles haven't always been considered cute. There is a history of contempt toward red reader freckled people, just ask Anne Shirley! The dramatic young heroine laments: "Yes, it's red," she said resignedly. "Now you see why I can't be perfectly happy. Nobody could who had red hair. I don't mind the other things so much — the freckles and the green eyes and my skinniness. I can imagine them away. I can imagine that I have a beautiful rose-leaf complexion and lovely starry violet eyes. But I cannot imagine that red hair away. I do my best. I think to myself, "Now my hair is a glorious black, black as the raven's wing." But all the time I know it is just plain red, and it breaks my heart. It will be my lifelong sorrow." (Montgomery).

Historically, freckles on ones face have been seen as dirty or imperfect. It's easy to forget that Irish features such as red hair and freckles have been subject to hateful discrimination for centuries. In some places, the word ginger is even used as a slur.

I am not a red-headed stepchild for you to beat — or for you to appropriate.

My facial texture is not a toy for you to play with.

It is rude and inconsiderate to pock your face for a selfie while those with randomly splashed spots get someone once a week trying to rub off the "dirt speck" on their face.

Greg Stevens has a theory to why there is anti-red prejudice

“Skin tone is another one of those well-studied features that has been shown to consistently have an impact on people's assessment of physical beauty: Those with clear, evenly-colored skin are widely regarded as being more attractive than people with patchy, blotchy, or freckled skin.
Nowhere is this more obvious than when looking at professional photos of redheaded models and celebrities. Even those "hot redheads" that flaunt the redness of their hair usually are made-up on magazine covers to have almost unnaturally even skin tones. Moreover, there is a reasonable theory to explain why the bias against freckles might be more than just a cultural prejudice. Not to be too blunt about it, but freckles are cancer factories."

By that, the author means freckles can be early indicators of sun damage or skin cancer. This illusion that freckles indicate deficiency may also play in negative connotations toward a person with freckles

While I acknowledge the intention of people with clear skin who paint freckles on their face isn't to offend — rather it is to appreciate freckles as a beauty statement — the effect is still offensive. If you are thinking about trying this freckle fad, you should put down your fine tipped brush and consider what it would be like if you couldn't wipe away the spots.


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As College Comes To A Close

I graduate college in a few days, here's a reflection on my time here.


I graduate from college this year. It seems like only yesterday I was just graduating high school and becoming a writer for the Odyssey. I recall the end of high school is a crazy time because I was drowning in Precalculus and AP English work.

I always wonder why I waited to do all my most complex classes in my senior year. Thinking back, it was insane, but nowadays, I realize that it's proof that I can take any workload that comes my way.

It was truly the craziest time because I barely had the energy to do art or anything I wanted. I only had work on my mind because I had come so far and it was pointless to just drop out if I was so close to the finish line.

I had some of the most difficult nights just attempting to find a balance between school and leisure, but I found a way through. It was all part of the process.

So, the end of school comes. I graduate, high honors and with a SHH cord for taking Spanish for four years. The requirement is only two, but I stuck with it for the duration of high school since I always did really well with it.

The summer arrives. I start getting back into my art and spinning vinyl. I have time to finally get back to me. I have the proper time to slow down and recharge and make up for lost time.

Eventually, August is here. The first day of college. My vivid recollection of my first day was that I got right into doing the first assignments for class very easily since I did online school from 5th grade to 12th grade.

The first days were interesting because I was still finding a balance of how to complete all my work in a timely manner without ever missing a deadline. I managed to maneuver my schedule so I could work from Monday to Friday, and I could have my weekends free, so I could have time for art and spinning vinyl.

My basic theory there is that I work all week and I earn my weekends. I'm on the computer all week, so I get a little bit of free time and time away from technology since I'm on it all the time anyway.

I've had all different classes, and a lot of music has been the soundtrack to surviving the workload. I've rediscovered a lot of music and I've found a lot of new stuff as well.

The most insane college class that I'll never forget is Financial Accounting I because, I've never had to do so much work in one course. This course had so many steps to completing lessons that I still can't process how I made it through. That class was intense to the point of me working from 8 AM to 5 PM and then from 7 PM to midnight, every night.

I felt that was the time when I was spiraling out of control, because it was just insane. Then, March 2018 happened. The Nor'Easter storms which kept us out of our house for about a month and we had to relocate to a motel due to the electric being out since the power grid was down for days on end.

Things got better. We got back home eventually, and I've been doing good.

I've been staying up on my work, and getting things in order.

I started college, a few months after high school, a little uncertain of where it would take me. College was an interesting concept, but there's always a fear of if it can really be applied.

So, I'm a writer for the Odyssey Online and a college student, at the time.

Today, I'm an artist, writer, photographer, vinyl enthusiast, and I run my own music blog.

At the start of college, I didn't know what was gonna happen. Surely, I was gonna study and get a degree, but so much more happened. I found myself to another degree. I found more awesome bands on vinyl. I took another gazillion photos. I took a massive amount of portraits and I was my own model. Somehow, all of this tied together, and I graduate and I have all this awesome stuff under my belt.

My next chapter continues with another two year degree, continuing by studying Human Resources. I plan to continue writing for the Odyssey. I plan to keep taking photos and updating my photography blog. I plan to keep writing for Generation Clash, because I'm beyond proud of the fact that it's no longer an idea and officially a reality.

College is a crazy time. It's a time of growth and opportunities and I'm glad I've taken the hint.

So, here's a piece of my journey. Anything worth going for in life is never easy. You have to your strength in the hardest moments. When it gets crazy, remember all your progress, and keep moving forward. You'll never know what comes next unless you keep going. Stay motivated and everything will be okay. Everything that has happened has led to this moment.

Here's to the class of 2019!!

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