My Biggest Takeaways From The First Semester Of College, Good AND Bad

My Biggest Takeaways From The First Semester Of College, Good AND Bad

It's always good to look back and reflect on the good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly. Here's a look into my third semester in college.


First semester of sophomore year was definitely interesting.

There were many ups and downs. Many adult life moments.

Let's start with the good.

I got to cover my favorite sport for a student organization I am proud to be a part of and even got to conduct my first interview in Spanish! It might not seem like a big deal for many of you, but it was the first step for me towards achieving my dream of professionally covering the sport in a Spanish-speaking country in the future.

Not only did I stay busy covering a collegiate sport, but I also got three jobs. So, I had never worked a day before in my life, not because I didn't want to, but because my parents didn't allow me to. They have always wanted me to focus on my studies and now thanks to on-campus jobs, I get to focus on my academics and earn some money.

Now, this is more on a personal matter, I got to meet my favorite hockey player! THAT is probably my favorite thing because I got to see the kind of sweetheart he is with his fans and family, which probably just makes him even more of my favorite. If you guys want to read more about me meeting him, I did write an article about it.

Another personal achievement was the control I had over my anxiety. Last school year was such a tough year for me, and my anxiety was constantly deuterating my mental health. However, I made sure to care more for myself, which helped control my anxiety. I'm not saying that it went completely away and that I got rid of it, but I got a better grip at it.

Oof, here comes the bad and the ugly.

The most obvious one was of only seeing my family twice this semester and only going back home once. I'm extremely family oriented, so being away from my family was especially tough. It gets worse when things aren't so great at home either. I won't get into it, but it was definitely a tough change from being able to see my family at least once a month last school year.

I learned the importance of time management. And I learned it the hard way. I sign up and say "yes" to basically anything and everything if it means getting involved or having fun. However, it's hard to do that while balancing three jobs and like 20 credits. I have always been bad at time management, but it never got to be this bad.

The real ugly would probably be how hard the reality of adult life hit me. Having to pay bills, do your own maintenance, etc. All of the things I was used to having my parents do, I suddenly had to do and yes, it stressed me out beyond belief. I swear I lost count of the number of times I called my parents in tears.

However, this semester has definitely taught me a lot more than I expected.

It taught me about myself. About growing up. About happiness.

And while the bad and the ugly made me feel horrible, they helped toughen me up for the next semesters ahead. We only have two and a half years left of this.

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So, You Want To Be A Nurse?

You're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.


To the college freshman who just decided on nursing,

I know why you want to be a nurse.

Nurses are important. Nursing seems fun and exciting, and you don't think you'll ever be bored. The media glorifies navy blue scrubs and stethoscopes draped around your neck, and you can't go anywhere without hearing about the guaranteed job placement. You passed AP biology and can name every single bone in the human body. Blood, urine, feces, salvia -- you can handle all of it with a straight face. So, you think that's what being a nurse is all about, right? Wrong.

You can search but you won't find the true meaning of becoming a nurse until you are in the depths of nursing school and the only thing getting you through is knowing that in a few months, you'll be able to sign the letters "BSN" after your name...

You can know every nursing intervention, but you won't find the true meaning of nursing until you sit beside an elderly patient and know that nothing in this world can save her, and all there's left for you to do is hold her hand and keep her comfortable until she dies.

You'll hear that one of our biggest jobs is being an advocate for our patients, but you won't understand until one day, in the middle of your routine physical assessment, you find the hidden, multi-colored bruises on the 3-year-old that won't even look you in the eyes. Your heart will drop to your feet and you'll swear that you will not sleep until you know that he is safe.

You'll learn that we love people when they're vulnerable, but you won't learn that until you have to give a bed bath to the middle-aged man who just had a stroke and can't bathe himself. You'll try to hide how awkward you feel because you're young enough to be his child, but as you try to make him feel as comfortable as possible, you'll learn more about dignity at that moment than some people learn in an entire lifetime.

Every class will teach you about empathy, but you won't truly feel empathy until you have to care for your first prisoner in the hospital. The guards surrounding his room will scare the life out of you, and you'll spend your day knowing that he could've raped, murdered, or hurt people. But, you'll walk into that room, put your fears aside, and remind yourself that he is a human being still, and it's your job to care, regardless of what he did.

Each nurse you meet will beam with pride when they tell you that we've won "Most Trusted Profession" for seventeen years in a row, but you won't feel that trustworthy. In fact, you're going to feel like you know nothing sometimes. But when you have to hold the sobbing, single mother who just received a positive breast cancer diagnosis, you'll feel it. Amid her sobs of wondering what she will do with her kids and how she's ever going to pay for treatment, she will look at you like you have all of the answers that she needs, and you'll learn why we've won that award so many times.

You'll read on Facebook about the nurses who forget to eat and pee during their 12-hour shifts and swear that you won't forget about those things. But one day you'll leave the hospital after an entire shift of trying to get your dying patient to eat anything and you'll realize that you haven't had food since 6:30 A.M. and you, too, will be one of those nurses who put everything else above themselves.

Too often we think of nursing as the medicine and the procedures and the IV pumps. We think of the shots and the bedpans and the baths. We think all the lab values and the blood levels that we have to memorize. We think it's all about the organs and the diseases. We think of the hospitals and the weekends and the holidays that we have to miss.

But, you're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion, and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

So, you think you want to be a nurse?

Go for it. Study. Cry. Learn everything. Stay up late. Miss out on things. Give it absolutely everything that you have.

Because I promise you that the decision to dedicate your life to saving others is worth every sleepless night, failed test, or bad day that you're going to encounter during these next four years. Just keep holding on.


The nursing student with just one year left.

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12 Things Only People Under 30 Fully Understand

Only young millennials and Gen Z will know


Being a young adult in 2019 is full of a lot of random stuff that our parents and grandparents didn't have. We have more opportunities, different lifestyles, and just really weird stuff we didn't normal.

1. Our obsession with avocados

A super food with a huge place in our hearts.

2. College debt

An actual representation of me giving colleges my money, with no questions asked.

3. Buying jeans with wholes in them.

4. Memes

The hero we needed, but don't deserve

5. Gifs

A sort of sibling to the meme, but powerful in its own right.

6. Spending five dollars on coffee

Not a want, but a need

7. YouTube/Instagram influencers

They make the world go round.

8. Mason jars as cups, decorations basically anything that isn’t for their intended purpose.

So versatile

9. Our love of succulents

Why have kids when you could have ten cute succulents that don't talk back.

10. Renting instead of buying

Besides have like no actual financial stability, we prefer to live less conventional lives than our predecessors.

11. Our imminent downfall as a society

We never grew up in a time of prosperity, and also know the earth may be dying unless we make a significant change to how we treat it. I guess that’s what happens after we treat it like shit.

12. Being non-binary or gender fluid

A new concept where people don't have to conform to gender norms or even acknowledge them.


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