Five Things I've Learned About College So Far

5 Things I've Learned About College So Far

The good, the bad, and the Boomer

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First of all, I love college- and more importantly- I love the University of Oklahoma. I would not change my position and I firmly believe I am in the right place. I feel like this list is probably applicable to other colleges, but since I am not currently and have not ever attended another university, I concede that this list may be biased. Regardless, I think these things are important to know and understand, especially if you are about to apply to a college in the near future!

1. College is better than high school… sometimes.

For the vast majority of subjects, I think college beats out high school by a mile. College is much more diverse, offers more opportunities for students to get involved or grow, and what better way to experience college firsthand than live in the dorms? That's definitely an experience for everyone to partake in. I also think that academically, college is better than high school. What I mean by this, is that classes use their content much more efficiently and there is a greater variety of classes that pertain to what you need to know. For me, I think college is much easier than high school. High school taught me that professors were strict, offered no extra credit, and were not lenient at all in expectations. What I've experienced has been quite the opposite! God bless the professors that give out slides and study guides! But, I do miss the consistency of classmates. You get to know someone for the sake of a class participation grade and then they peace out after four-and-a-half months. Nothing brings people together like struggling to study for the SAT for a year.

2. College challenges what you believe.

For those who come from a religious background, prepare to step foot outside your bubble. Again, this experience may be unique to some, but I know that I grew up in a conservative, Christian town that rarely required me to defend what I believe and challenged my activity. I have met countless students who grew up with spiritual backgrounds and lost that belief in college due to time and lack of accountability from family. For some, this may be a good thing. This is a time for you to shape and explore what to believe and to strengthen or weaken those ties. It was very important to me that I do not lose the passion and fervor in which I pursued God, and with the diversity on campus, I took a great look at the fundamentals of what I knew to be right.

3. Everything isn't figured out in the first year.

Although it seems like a lot of things have fallen quite nicely into place during my freshman year, there are still a lot of things I have yet to figure out. I've found a great group of friends that I hope continues to grow until graduation, I've gotten involved with extracurriculars and navigated my way successfully through our busy campus for two semesters. I've learned how to be productive and responsible, and how to keep a small dorm room germ-free. Despite all that I've learned thus far, I know that I still have some areas that I need to grow in. Keeping my eyes up and towards the future is a huge thing; internships and job opportunities are just around the corner so keeping those things in the back of my mind while juggling my personal and spiritual life is definitely going to take some time, probably quite a few years after I graduate, even.

4. Make sure you're in college for the right reasons.

This is applicable to some, not all. As a Christian, my main goal for being in college is to further the ministry and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Making disciples and bearing spiritual fruit is my priority, but that doesn't mean that academics aren't important to me. College is the best field to begin evangelizing, or to continue to evangelize. Aside from religion, there are other ways you can be in college for the wrong reasons. Ladies, if you are in college to get your "MRS" degree (get it?) you need to look somewhere else. Trust me. The same concept applies to young men too. Don't take education (and the expensive fees that accompany it) for granted.

5. Stay out of the bike lanes.

Please just do us all a favor... the paint lines are there for a reason.

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.

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I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

Cover Image Credit: https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/free-college-new-york-state.jpg?quality=85

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Writing Saved My Sanity

Write it all down when you can't talk to anyone.

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I love writing.

I have since elementary school, and I've dreamed of becoming a published author. I started off writing stupid plays in elementary school, then it grew it almost writing a full-blown novel in middle school. I have no idea where that thing went to. It was all notebook paper and bad writing. In high school, my writing was kinda pushed to the side so I could focus on school. When I entered college, I started writing small poems about my now ex-boyfriend.

I was scared to express myself to him sometimes, the intensity of my feelings for him scared me. So instead of telling him, I wrote them down. When I tried to share them with him, he hated it. He thought writing down feelings was weird and creepy. So I didn't share anything else with him. When we finally broke up for good, everything just poured out of me. What I couldn't express verbally, I wrote or typed out.

I always have ideas flowing through my head. They never cease and I wouldn't want them to. Writing gives me an escape, from stress, work, school, or fights. It gives me a place to vent and to be open with everything. This is a reason I love writing for Odyssey, not only has this place brought me amazing friends but revived my love for writing. I'm never without my notebook anymore, I'd get distracted in class by an idea and have to write I think then and there.

I love sharing my more personal writing with close friends, especially my poems as of late. I found that I have a voice for young women who find themselves in a toxic relationship much like mine was. I want to speak out and show them that you can grow from the bullshit. It may take some time, but you will be better.

Writing saved my sanity. It allows me to express myself without having to use my actual voice. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate public speaking. I tend to psych myself out leading up to it. My current projects include writing for Odyssey every week, I'm in the process of trying to continue my short stories, and I'm excited to announce that I'm currently working on my very first poetry book!

Writing has given me so much, and I'm so looking forward to making a career out of something I love so much.

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