16 Things I Learned Freshman Year That Had ~Nothing~ To Do With My College Professors

16 Things I Learned Freshman Year That Had ~Nothing~ To Do With My College Professors

You can "go out" but don't make it your weekend plans for the next two semesters.
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Just like every other college freshman, I have learned a lot.

All of us have been through a lot this past year, but I think I have been so enlightened by those around me that I should share anyway. Throughout this year, I have made mistakes, friends, memories, and great decisions. This is a time for me to tell yall how great my year has been and let you know that college ain't no thang but a chikin wang.


It's ganna be stressful, but, gosh, it's so fun. Its what you make it, honestly. Study hard. And in the midst of everything:

Find your niche. Spend time with friends. Spend time doing the things you love.

This year, I made a ton of friends that I love with all my heart. They are always there for me and hopefully, some of them will be life-long. I have met so many people who are completely different from me, but somehow we find something in common.

1. Your town is your home, get to know it.

You live in a bright and shiny place! There are new things on every corner. There are gardens and zoos and Mexican restaurants to explore! Just go out and drive around without any form of GPS. Go to nature trails or weird supermarkets and just walk around. Go to the farmers market. Go see natural landmarks. Learn about your community.

2. Spend time cleaning your room/apartment every once in a while.

You live in a tiny area with multiple people. From experience, sweeping your floor every now and then makes a HUGE difference in how your room feels. Sometimes I just take my rug out to the hallway and shake it out. Every little thing counts and makes your tiny space way more livable.

3. Learn patience with the people around you.

You can pick your nose, you can pick your friends, but you cant pick your friend's nose... or the people you see on a daily basis.

4. If you have a faith/religion/belief/ideology, let it grow stronger.

Look, the last thing you think you will want is to go to political meetings and worship, but going to learn more about the things that are already a part of your life just makes you feel better. Take it from me: It really just gives you a moment to sit and think, even if you're not thinking of anything in particular.

5. Get over the whole "judging" people by their style, appearance, and beliefs.

Only someone with no time on their hands decides to observe others attributes the way some high schoolers do. Guess what: you're in college. Not only do you not have time to judge people, you barely even have time to judge yourself. Trust me, the day you stop worrying about others is the day you're 100% happier and easier to be around. Find your XL t-shirts and sweatpants.

6. You can "go out" but don't make it your weekend plans for the next two semesters.

Your first year should be one you remember. Sure its fun to go out every once in a while, or maybe even every other week, but there are actually a lot of really cool stuff going on around you. If you're in a college town, there are probably some really great bands or food places out there to explore that are cheaper than having a $5 minimum at a bar where shots are $4.

7. Every sports game is worth going to.

HEAR ME OUT... Nothing is better than football, but that doesn't mean a baseball game with your closest friends isn't super fun. Go to everything: gymnastics meets, basketball games, lacrosse tournaments, anything. They usually give out tons of free stuff and have a ton of cute puppies and kids. Plus, you gotta show the other sports some school pride.

8. "Dating" isn't your goal.

I have seen so many people come to college and go wild. There are thousands of new boys/girls, but they are all the same as the high school kids. Your objective shouldn't be "dating", it should be relationships -- not even necessarily romantic ones. Make friends and enjoy people before diving into a commitment without really knowing them first. We get to college and get so excited to date, but I think we're all too caught up in the temporary excitement that we overlook the importance of having a relationship (aka solid friendship) with the person we are dating. I speak from experience (my boyfriend is my best friend -- hey, Daniel).

9. Sleep.

JK, sleep is for the weak.

10. Remember "you" time and hygiene.

Hey, you're still human. Sometimes you gotta take a nice long shower, shave, and do a face mask. Boys, I am talking to you too. You will feel so much better.

11. Go see live music as much as possible.

Take a break from a long week and go out to see some good bands. Get into some new types of music and expand your tastes. If anything, this is one of the best things I have done this year.

12. You can never "do too much."

Look, it might just be my obsessive control freak nature, but you cant be in too many clubs or have too many hobbies. Join whatever you want. Even if you have never even heard of something, you should try it out. This past year I did an internship through my University's sustainability office and it was life-changing. I got the opportunity to plan university events and travel to fun places. You should definitely be involved at your school!

13. Study hard.

This shouldn't be so far down the list, but it is. You are going to school to study, so obviously, that's what you're going to do.

Suprise, surprise... you don't actually know how to study until you study 15 hours for a test and still make below an 80. Its a bad awful terrible sickening crappy indescribable feeling. Learn your study habits because itll save you some time.

14. A test is a test is a test.

SUPRISE PART 2... its one test. It won't ruin your life or your career. I bet your employers will never look to see what your POLS 2010 grade was, ok?

15. Your friends in your dorm/apartment should be your besties.

Beyond your roommate, make a huge effort to meet the people in your dorm. You live with them and it is super convenient to know all 160 people in your living space when you're in need of a friendly face or helping hand. My dorm-mates are my favorite people at school. They're my go-to people when I want to chill, go grocery shopping, or rant to. S/O to my Lipscombers <3

16. You will learn to love your school.

It doesn't matter how much you do not care about the college before you go, you will learn school pride. As soon as you start taking out loans and paying dumb fees, school pride is imminent. As a kid from Indiana, I NEVER cared about Georgia's strange fascination with the "Dawgs" until I saw that fat housing deposit roll on out of my bank account. You will be so obsessed with your school (hopefully -- they have a lot of your money), that people will call you "a loud obnoxious Georgia fan", too.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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