What I Wish I Knew Before My First Semester At FSU

What I Wish I Knew Before My First Semester At FSU

College is a rollercoaster, be prepared!

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During the summer before my senior year of high school, my friends and I spent hours romanticizing about all the excitement and change that would come during our first year of college. Little did we know that although college is full of new experiences and personal growth, it can come with some pretty difficult challenges.

Growing up, I was used to moving around a lot, as I spent half my life on a completely different continent. When it came to choosing colleges to apply to, the idea of going somewhere far away from home didn't seem like such a big deal. I had become pretty independent, or at least I thought I was. But when I actually came to college, I realized that living on my own was not all unicorns and rainbows.

Before I embarked on my college journey, I wish I knew that living far away from my family would be hard. Not seeing my mom and dad every day, and more importantly, my dog, resulted in endless daily FaceTime calls. Not gonna lie, I shed quite a few tears from missing my pupper. Although being 13 hours away from my family and friends was an adjustment, it forced me to become truly independent. I didn't know anyone when I came to college and quickly had to learn to take care of myself. Taking care of myself meant doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, and most importantly, becoming used to the idea of being lonely.

College taught me that true independence often goes hand in hand with being comfortable in your loneliness. Loneliness is not always a bad thing, although it can often seem that way. Going to a big state school means that most people I met knew at least someone from their high school, and I felt deserted and left out. For the first few weeks, I spent a lot of time by myself. I wish I would have known that being by yourself is actually rewarding, and teaches you a lot about self-love and self-reflection. However, I also wish I knew that loneliness doesn't last forever. I had only been at college for two weeks, and the feelings of missing my friends and family felt pretty overwhelming. Needless to say, I was ready to drop out before classes had even started.

Looking back at it, I wish I would have been more patient. In the beginning, I often found myself comparing my college experience to that of my friends. I scrutinized myself for not having as many friends, and for not loving college as much as they seemed to. Everyone's college experience is different, and I wish I would have been kinder to myself. I also wish I would have been more positive. Things may seem tough at the moment, but taking a step back and separating myself from the situation has taught me that things are often better than they seem. Even if you don't end up loving your college experience as much as you thought you would remember to appreciate your situation. Not everyone has the ability to go to college, so even if you feel like you're not living up to the college hype, try to stay humble.

Reflecting on what I learned from my first semester at college has made me extremely grateful. Not only have I experienced immense personal growth, but I have also made some memories that I will cherish forever. I have learned that spending time with my close friends, embarking on new experiences, and being kind to myself is most important. I also learned that after I stopped comparing my college rollercoaster to everyone else's, I started to actually enjoy the ride!

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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Best Necessities For Finals Week

The end of the semester is rapidly approaching--use these items to better prepare you for hell week.

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There are 3 weeks left of classes, and, before we know it, USC will be fully-immersed in finals. Here are a few study grind MUSTS that will make your finals week as painless as pulling constant all-nighters can be.

1. Blue Light Glasses 

Quizlets. Study Guides. Emails. Blackboard. Slideshows.

All these things require a single thing: computers. All computers emit a type of light often referred to as "blue light." This light can strain our eyes, and studies by Harvard University have found that blue light disrupts our circadian rhythms which can make sleeping extremely difficult.

Blue light glasses block out blue-light rays. I bought my own pair from Amazon for $16.95, and they have been a total lifesaver. If you want to see if blue light glasses are a right fit for you, check out this link!

2. Momentum (google chrome extension!) 

This extension for Google Chrome is not only aesthetically appealing, but it also can help keep you on track! I use my Momentum homescreen's "to-do" function--a list that allows you to type out what you need to accomplish and to strike out things you have completed. This list keeps me on track and focused.

Other items that might help include sticky notes or planners; really, anything that will help you make lists and check items off.

3. Yerba Mate, Coffee, or Tea

Any caffeinated beverage is a necessity for long study nights. Make sure that you are smart about the amount of caffeine you are consuming--drinking too much can make your heart painfully race or your stomach hurt. Dilute the amount of caffeine you are drinking with some water to achieve the ultimate productive peak.

4. Good Music

I tend to listen to lo-fi study beats or acoustic music when I need to study. Find the music that pumps you up while getting you focused at the same time. Another recent study discovery includes Spotify's "All Out '00s" playlist which is full of the best throwback tunes.

.5. Quick Workout 

Obviously the mental grind is important, but so is your physical grind too! I recommend doing a fast HIIT workout or some yoga stretches if you are feeling stiff. Regardless, get out and get active.

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