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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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything

I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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3 Things i learned at pride in NYC

The people, the flags, and the glitter are even more magical in person.


On Sunday, June 24th, my girlfriend, my best friend and I, all hopped on a train to the World Trade Center in New York City. After a short subway ride, we arrived at 16th Street, where the parade festivities began. Dressed in our decked out rainbow attire, we entered a vibrant crowd of flag wielding, self-loving having, beautiful people. Pride is something the LGBTQIA+ community knows how to celebrate well. Lesbihonest, I think its safe to say that the LGBTQ+ community essentially created loving yourself, along with embracing those around you, whether you know them or not. While at Pride, I learned a few things about myself, about how to love others, and what it means to be apart of a community.

1. Love thy neighbor


Because pride is such an important event to the LGBTQIA+ community, the number of people that attend each year is increasing by the thousands. There were an expected 48,000 people this year and when you're amerced in such a large crowd keeping your cool is super important. I learned that in most cases, giving love will result in receiving it, especially in 84-degree weather. So when I was making my way through energetic crowds, I used my p's and q's and was met with the same energy from strangers.

2. At pride, the dress code is no dress code


If you're in the mood to wear your birthday suit, glitter, or witty t-shirt and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community as a member or as an ally, pride is the place to be! The extravagant outfits and expression of self-pride through clothes and even lack of clothes made me feel extremely comfortable in my own outfit. I think we all have had our share of being uncomfortable in our skin or clothes, but being around thousands of people dressed in whatever made them most comfortable that day was a beautiful experience.

3. Pride is not solely about the LGBTIA+ community


Heritage of Pride, the nonprofit organization that organizes New York City's LGBT pride events each year, strives to work towards creating a future that consists of equal rights for all under the law. The march is an annual civil rights demonstration that brings awareness to the fight against aids, the Black Lives Matter movement and memorializes those who have lost their lives to illness, violence and neglect. This year over 450 different organizations participated in the march and about 110 floats were shown, each float bringing awareness to different organizations.

As an Afro-Latina, lesbian, I felt very represented and extremely grateful to participate in a civil rights event such as pride. The opportunity to educate myself and even feel more comfortable in my own skin, and enjoy myself with the people I love most, is something I will truly cherish. Hopefully, my experiences and knowledge will expand next year at the 2019 NYC pride!

Cover Image Credit:

Em Goss

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