5 things I Learned Getting my associate's Degree

5 things I Learned Getting my associate's Degree

Besides what I learned in the classroom.


Last month, I completed my associate's degree at the age of 22. My experience was full of highs and lows, and of course plenty of lessons. Here are ten of them that I thought were the most important to share:

1. Everyone has their own timeline in life.


You might feel like you're older than the other people in your class, especially if your school has the Running Start program and most of your classmates are still in high school. There's no need to be ashamed of going back to school at an older age, or taking longer to complete a degree than the rest of your high school classmates. As much as my mother loves to bring up that it took me five years to finish a two-year degree, I know that if I would have finished it in two years, I would have missed out on so many experiences that made me who I am today. Don't let anyone make you feel ashamed if you don't get out in two years.

2. Get the harder classes out of the way first.


You're going to be tempted to take the easy classes first, because they're fun and you can keep your GPA nice and high. However, nobody wants to be taking four boring and difficult classes in one quarter, knowing if you don't pass one of them you aren't going to graduate and you're going to have to pay for another quarter/delay your plans for after grad. And be sure to take your placement tests as soon as possible so that you can adequately plan your coursework, knowing for sure which classes you're going to need. Don't bet on only taking one math class and then take the placement test right before your last quarter, because you might end up taking an extra quarter for just that one class.

3. Take summer classes.


I know, I know you don't want to take summer classes. But you'll get out so much sooner if you just take one class during the summer quarter. Maybe only take one that's 2-3 credits. Take an online class so that you can still travel. Just do something during the summer so that you can stay on top of your credit game. It'll also help you transition back into taking a fuller load in the fall.

4. It's okay to withdraw from a course.


If you bit off more credits than you can chew, if you know you have no hope of passing this class, or if you realized in your bed at 8:45 a.m. that you made a mistake signing up for a 9 a.m. class, there's no shame in dropping. Even if you miss the deadline to drop without a "W", it's better to get a "W" than to have a D or an F screwing up your GPA forever. You might have to make up the credits during another quarter, but if you can maintain a good GPA then it'll be worth it. You don't want the D or the F following you around if you can help it.

5. Class is better with friends.


Make friends in your classes. If it's a good class, then you'll have that much more fun! If not, then at least you have people to vent to who can share your frustrations. You might not see each other much outside of class, or hang out after the quarter is over, but having friends in a class can make or break it for you. That, and it's basically a built-in study group!

So there you go. If you're working toward an associate's degree of your own, hopefully these tips will help you.

Happy studying!

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.


1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten

Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

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Coping With The Loss Of A Passion

It's hard to get it back once you lose it.


In college, time to focus on passions seems limited. The homework, essays, group projects, and exams are never-ending.

In high school, I took my free time for granted. I was dancing four hours four nights a week, but I wasn't constantly stressed. I had time to focus on my passion, which is dance.

In college, I am a part of an amazing dance club. But I don't get to compete, take technique classes, or be with the team I was with since I was 8 years old. Now, I receive videos of my team from home's amazing performances, and it aches a bit. I am so proud and happy for their growth but jealous that they have more years than I do. It is nearly impossible to find technique classes at college to take with no car, little free time, and barely any money. I miss my team, I miss my dance teachers and choreographers, and I miss competitions, but most of all, I miss the person I was when I had the opportunity to pursue my passion several hours a week.

My passion will always be there, and I do get to pursue dance on a smaller scale with some amazing dancers in college, but I am coping with the fact that I will never do another competition with my team again, I will never be able to dance with them again, and I will never be able to learn from my dance teachers again. It's a hard loss, one that I think about every day.

To anyone who still has the opportunities to pursue their passions to the fullest extent, you are lucky. Not everyone gets the chance to keep up with their sport, passion, or activity that they dedicated all of their time to in high school. Don't take a single second of it for granted, and remember why you are doing what you are doing. Take time to reflect on why you love it so much, how it makes you feel, and how you can express yourself during it. Whatever this passion or activity is, make every second count.

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