I Hate To Break It To You, But College Is Going To Hit You Like A Train

I Hate To Break It To You, But College Is Going To Hit You Like A Train

Don't worry too much though, I'll help you through it.
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I hate to admit it, but I'm literally young, dumb, and broke like Khalid says. Just like the rest of you freshman out there I thought I was overly prepared to move out of the house, and into college. I didn't think I would even break a sweat during the whole process. Little did I know it would be one hell of a stressful day. From not being able to sleep (I was up for a total of 30-some hours), to breaking out in hives, I can proudly say I'm onto day two alone and... I'm still alive.

Now don't let me fool you, back home I was pretty independent compared to everyone else. I liked working, I did my own thing 99% of the time, and I always knew that if anything were to happen I'd totally be able to survive on my own.

College is inevitably going to hit you like a train hitting a solid concrete wall.

Regardless of how prepared you think you are, I promise it will. As always I'm here to help, so here are a few pieces of (rather premature and pristine) advice that I can give you.

Get familiar with campus BEFORE move in day. If I would've done this, I wouldn't have spent an hour looking for my dorm. Seriously, this will help tremendously.

Next thing is, know what your dorm will look like beforehand. It will be so much easier on move in day and while you're shopping for the things you need.

You guys should also know this... communicate with your roommate! You can save so much time, money, conflict and confusion if you do.

Figure out how your meal plan works so you aren't dumbfounded while trying to eat somewhere. Bring some of your favorite knick knacks to make your dorm feel more like home, this will help with homesickness. Lastly, do not forget to bring stuff to snack on. I know it seems like a given, but you don't want to end up young, dumb, broke and hungry.

Before I got here, I was so unprepared it's crazy. After the first day of unpacking, scheduling classes, searching for places to eat, and finally laying down in bed, I still wasn't at ease. I was anxious (and hot because there isn't any freaking air conditioning in my dorm), so I went on a walk. I walked through the entire campus and even off campus.

I saw tons of people out having a blast, I saw all the stores, all the places to eat, and everything else that Bowling Green State University has to offer. After that, it felt like there was a huge weight lifted off of my chest. I felt a little more at home. I wasn't so scared anymore. I figured out that within due time, this place was going to become home and I am beyond excited for that.

With all of that being said, don't worry.

If I can do it, I promise you can do it. You've got this. It's quite scary at first, but after your nerves calm down due to the shock of change... it's going to become home. I've realized that you and I are gonna make friends, we're going to figure it out and find our way. We got thrown into adulthood with slim to no time to adjust, but someday we will look back at college and reminisce about how marvelous these times were. Nonetheless, just take a chill pill and wait it out... we're about to experience some of the most amazing times we have ever had.

Cover Image Credit: Macey Mullins

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4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

Increasing Evidence Points to Music as a Potential Solution to the Mental Health Problem.

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Okay, You caught me!

I am NOT just talking about everybody's favorite actor-turned-rapper— or second, if you've seen Childish Gambino's "This is America" music video. Unfortunately, current research hasn't explored specific genres and artists. However, studies HAVE provided significant evidence in possibilities for music to treat mental health disorders. Now, before you say something that your parents would not be proud of, ask yourself if you can really blame me for wanting to get your attention. This is an urgent matter concerning each one of us. If we all face the truth, we could very well reach one step closer to solving one of society's biggest problems: Mental Health.

The Problem:

As our nation continues to bleed from tragedies like the horrific shooting that shattered the lives of 70 families whose loved ones just wanted to watch the "Dark Knight Rises" during its first hours of release, as well as the traumatic loss of seventeen misfortunate innocents to the complications of mental health disorders in the dear city of Parkland— a city mere hours from our very own community— it's impossible to deny the existence of mental illness. As many of us can already vouch, mental illness is much more common than what most would think: over 19 million adults in America suffer from a mental health disorder. Picture that: a population slightly less than that of Florida is plagued by hopelessness, isolation, and utter despair.

Disease in the form of depression holds millions of people prisoner, as anxieties instill crippling desperation and too many struggles with finding peace. This can be you. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your friend, your roommate, your fraternity brother, your sorority sister, your lab partner, or just your classmate that sits in the corner of the lecture hall with a head buried into a notebook that camouflages all emotion.

I hope we— the UCF community— understand the gravity of the problem, but it's clear that some still see mental illness as a disease that affects only a handful of "misfits" who "terrorize" our streets, while the numbers reveal more to the issue. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental health disorder. The problem is so serious that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds. While many continue to ask for more antidepressants and even the occasional "proper spanking," recent studies indicate increases in occurrence, such as one in depression from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. So, clearly, none of that is working.

The Evidence:

If we really want to create a world where our children are free from the chains of mental illness, we need to think outside the box. Doctors and scientists won't really talk about this since it's still a growing field of research, but music has strong potential. We don't have any options at the moment, which means we need to change our mindset about music and to continue to explore its medicinal benefits. If you're still skeptical because of the title, then please consider these 4 pieces of solid evidence backed by scientific research:

1. Music has been proven to improve disorders like Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute of Health— the country's largest research agency— saw an improvement in the daily function of patients with Parkinson's Disease. This makes patients shake uncontrollably, which often prevents them from complete functionality. The disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine— a chemical your neurons, or brain cells, release; since music treats this shortage, there's an obvious ability to increase dopamine levels. As numerous studies connect dopamine shortages to mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and ADHD, someone could possibly use music's proven ability to increase dopamine levels to treat said problems.

2. Listening to the music has the potential to activate your brain's "reward center."

In 2013, Valorie Salimpoor and fellow researchers conducted a study that connected subjects' pleasure towards music to a specific part of the brain. This key structure, the nucleus accumbens, is the body's "reward center," which means all of you have experienced its magical powers. In fact, any time the brain detects a rewarding sensation— drinking ice-cold water after a five-mile run in sunny, humid Florida, eating that Taco Bell chalupa after a long happy hour at Knight's Library, and even consuming recreational drugs— this structure releases more of that fantastic dopamine. So, with further research into specifics, doctors may soon be prescribing your daily dose of tunes for your own health.

3. Listening to Music may be more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medication.

In 2013, Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin— two accomplished doctors in psychology— reviewed a study wherein patients waiting to undergo surgery were given either anti-anxiety medications or music to listen to. The study took into account cortisol levels, which are used daily by healthcare professionals to gauge patient levels. This "stress hormone" was actually found to be lower in patients who listened to classical music rather those who took the recommended dose of prescription drugs. Sit there and think about that for a second: these patients actually felt more relaxed with something as simple as MUSIC than with chemicals that are made specifically to force patients into relaxation before surgery. Why pop a Xanax when you can just listen to Beethoven?

4. Music may release the chemicals that help you naturally relax and feel love.

Further studies continue to justify music's place in the medical world as results demonstrate increases in substances such as prolactin— a hormone that produces a relaxing sensation— as well as oxytocin— the substance that promotes warmth and happiness during a hug between mother and child. So this study basically showed us that music has the potential to actually make you feel the way you did when Mom or Dad would embrace you with the warmest hug you've ever felt.

The Future:

The evidence I present you with today is ultimately just a collection of individual situations where specific people found specific results. There are a lot of variables when it comes to any research study; therefore, data is never truly certain. We should take these findings as strong suggestions to a possible solution, but we must remember the possibility of failure in our search.

The neurochemistry behind the music and its medicinal properties is just beginning to unfold before the scientific community. In fact, extremely qualified scientists from the National Institute of Health— the organization that basically runs any important medical study in the United States— continue to remind us of the subject's youth with the constant use of "potential" behind any and all of their findings. Therefore, it's our responsibility as a community to look into this— not just that of the scientists at the National Institute of Health.

We're all surrounded by music. It's at the bars. It's in our ears during all-night sessions at the UCF library. It's keeping us awake through East Colonial traffic at 7:00 AM while hordes of students focus on their cell phone screens instead of the paved roads ahead. It's in the shoes we wear, the actions we take, and the words we say. IF YOU'RE READING THIS: it's accessible to you. So, don't be shy, and try to play with your Spotify account, or even just on YouTube, and gauge the power of music. As more and more of us see the light, we can promote the movement and carry on as more research comes out to support us.

Drop the bars, drop those addictive pills that destroy your body slowly, and pick up your headphones and press PLAY.

Just relax, close your eyes, smile, and live.

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi

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Lower Your Expectations To Never Feel Disappointed Again

You won’t be disappointed if you didn’t expect much in the first place.
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Imagine you’re throwing your best friend a surprise party. You’ve planned the dessert menu for weeks, spent hundreds on the decorations, and invited everyone you knew to come celebrate with you two. In the end, your wallet is empty, the decorations look tacky, and only a couple of people show up. Your best friend is touched by the lengths you went to in order to plan a party for her, but you’re upset that the dream surprise party you had imagined didn’t go as planned.

Why’re you disappointed? Because you had high expectations.

Having high expectations is almost inevitable for every college student. We bust our butts to get good grades, apply for countless internships and programs, hope for a career that is both high-paying and enjoyable, try to find a potential partner who has similar interests and understands us, and strive for the ideal college experience that we see so often on television. The point is, achieving all of this (unless you’re extremely lucky) is impossible. Disappointment is going to follow you throughout your college experience, and likely your entire life. The only way to avoid it is to lower your expectations.

Imagine the same scenario about your best friend’s surprise party, but this time without expecting too much. You still prepare an elaborate dessert menu, put up expensive decorations, and invite all the people you know, but deep down you believe that regardless of what happens you know the two of you can have a good time. Even if things don’t work out, the two of you can always end the night by going to a nearby club or a trusted restaurant. Without the looming presence of high expectations, you’re excited to celebrate your friend and can have a good time no matter what crappy stuff life throws in the way. Having low expectations is the perfect way to move on when life inevitably doesn’t go your way.

Yet, having low expectations is a tricky road: studies have shown that optimists do better in all career fields (except law), and it’s easy to fall prey to a self-fulfilling prophecy, or when a negative mindset influences events to happen as negatively as expected. Still, you don’t have to be a pessimist in order to have low expectations. Instead, view low expectations as a chance to be pleasantly surprised when things do go perfectly. It’s a lot easier to be satisfied when every little thing exceeds your expectations.

Cover Image Credit: Hindustan Times

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