Advice For ALL Incoming College Freshmen

Advice For ALL Incoming College Freshmen

Call your mom!
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Some of you may have been waiting for the day you have all your things packed up and be ready to start your new journey in a completely new home. Some of you may have been putting this day on hold hoping it wouldn’t come so soon. Some of you say, “I’m ready to do this whole college thing,” when in reality you’re terrified. All of you at this point have one thing in common at least: you have no clue what the journey ahead of you holds. While I, a college sophomore can’t prepare you for every little thing your upcoming year might entail I can tell you a few things that I learned my first year, and they just might help you out.

It’s okay to feel alone the first couple of weeks

Trust me I thought I was ready to dive into meeting new people and put myself out there right away, but in reality, I was terrified and spent my first week pretty much locked away in my room. Meeting new people in college can be hard and it is indeed scary at first, just remind yourself that everyone is in the same boat, others are probably dying to meet you, they’re just scared themselves. Don’t be afraid to eat in the cafeteria and ask others to join you, don’t be afraid to go check out someone’s dorm, who you just met, you never know who could end up being a great friend in the future.

Leave the things that need to be kept in the past, in the past

It can be hard to adjust to a new environment with new people and the want for your old space/people in your life will be there, however, change is indeed good. Sure, there are people who you will never let go of, let those be family members and your best friends. However, if you’re hung up on a short relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend from high school and you continue to question, “Is this going to work” maybe it’s time to put an end to it. There are so many more people you will meet in the next four years that could be so much better for you, don’t be afraid to let go when you feel like you need to.

Be yourself always

Don’t try to be “the cool guy” or the life of the party if that isn’t you. One of the worst things you can do is pretend to be someone you are not. If you just be yourself it will be much easier to bond with other people similar to you. It can be hard to be your true self around complete strangers but everyone is feeling the same way and they’re probably just as eager as you are to find friends. It’s okay if you’re not the same person you were in high school, in fact, this is the time for you to reinvent yourself if you didn’t like that person, but remember to always remain to your true self for your people back home.

Never forget to check in with your people from home

In college, it seems like days go by so fast and there is so much going on that sometimes it’s hard to keep your friends from home and keep family members updated on your life. When times get tough just know these are the people who have either been through it all, or are right along with you experiencing it. They are also the best people to either give you advice or just to listen about your problems all because they care about you.

Get involved

Sure, this isn’t high school anymore, it is much more difficult to be a multisport athlete and be in five different clubs while tackling on school. However, the more you get involved the more people you will meet and the better person you will be. In high school clubs and sports came easy, you were given opportunities to get involved thrown at you, that’s not the case in college. If you want to get involved, build your resume you need to put yourself out there. You need to check in with your emails, go to involvement fairs on campus, talk to the head of student orgs. Sure, this all seems boring and “Uncool” but chances are there are tons of clubs that could interest you that you may not even know about.

Stay active

The odds of eat healthy in college is very low, so working out every now and then is a must. If you participated in a high school sport your body is going to get a rude awakening because motivation in college is at an all-time low. You have to walk to the gym just to work out? That’s a workout itself, or at least that’s what I used to think. You have to get in some sort of rhythm of working out at least once a week because the amount of downtime you have, and the fact that your gym membership is free is no excuse to not workout. Staying motivated to working out will keep you motivated in the long run, your brain and your body work together if you let one down there goes the other. Find a workout buddy and a good playlist and find the workout that works for you.

Learn how to take good notes quick

If high school classes were easy for you like mine, it’s probably because it didn’t require much more than sitting and listening, this isn’t the case in college. Be prepared to face large lectures with a thick notebook and a handful of pens because note taking is a must. If you’re lucky your professor puts the slides up online but this is very unlikely, plus writing down information you hear helps you retain it better. Write down the main points and categorize what needs to be, this will help you much later when you’re preparing for a test and have notes to look back on.

Pack lots of comfy clothes

Sure, it is fun to dress nicely the first couple of weeks of classes because you’re trying to meet new people and present yourself in a nice way, but no one cares anymore. In fact, people care more about just making it to class and on time rather than what they show up looking like to class. Second semester will come and all motivation to try looking good will all be gone and you’ll think back to this article when I say, “I told you so.”

Stay civil with the people you live with

It’s not always that you love the roomie that you picked out from your school's Facebook page who you thought you would be “best friends” with remains the same person you thought you would be living with. Living with someone really brings out people’s true colors, which can be fine if your roommate reminds you to pick your clothes off your floor and do your laundry and motivates you to do your homework, but there are roommates who are the exact opposite of that. Your roommate can make or break your first year, but I would say the only way they break your experience is if you let them. Be friends with your roommate when you have to even if you don’t want to be. Chances are they will respect you a lot more if you are honest and nice to them. If something they do bothers you just tell them because chances are they probably have no Idea that their problem is even a problem for you. Invite them to things outside of the room and bring other people into the mix, this way no one is feeling left out and it’s an opportunity to meet new people too. Overall your year will be a lot smoother if you and your roommate communicate but will be the best year if you’re friends.

Call your mom

If you’re bored, you seem to have nothing to do, or if you’re extremely busy and need a break call your mom. If you’re in bed hungover and don’t know how to make the pain go away, call your mom. If you forget which laundry detergent works best for your white load, call your mom. You might think you’re all high and mighty living on your own and don’t want to break your ego but calling your mom will do nothing but good. Your mom is always going to be waiting for your call no matter what the topic of conversation is. In her eyes, you’ll always be her baby and she loves to hear from you.

Have fun

This is probably the most important part of college. It’s strange getting thrown out into the real world, living on your own at just 19 but how amazing is that? Here’s a quick news flash, you really don’t have to have your whole life figured out at this point. You don’t even have to know your major (because chances are they will probably change). All you have to know is how to have fun (with an exception of passing exams, that’s good too.) Don’t worry about the internships or jobs and careers you need to get started on you have your whole life to do that. At least for your freshman year just have fun. You don’t need a job you have enough stress on your hands. Go out. Explore your new city. Take lots of pictures. Do what’s going to make you happy on your own you have so much freedom and you will never have this much freedom again.

Cover Image Credit: Sierra Gardner

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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.

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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.

Sincerely,

The nursing student with just one year left.

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The 7 Best Pieces Of Advice I Have Been Given About Life

Some of the best advice I have been given over the years...

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There isn't a central theme among these pieces of advice or sayings. They are all just random things I have been told over the course of my life–especially in the last week. I find these 7 to be particularly helpful in various situations, and try to keep them in mind when I am in over my head.

1. "Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself because there is nobody who is going to help you more than you."

You are the #1 person who can help your own case. No one knows you as you do, therefore no one will be able to help you more than you can help yourself. A lot of things are mental, so once you can convince yourself that you deserve something (whatever it may be) you can convince anyone. Another saying goes along with this, on the flip side: "No one can diminish you but yourself." You are in control of your own self-perception, and you are very much capable of being your own worst enemy.

2. "Stand behind your reputation because you can never get it back."

My mom sent this to me the other day. Be who you are, and do it proudly. Especially with meeting people for the first time, you can never have a second chance at a first impression. That being said, if people view you in a bad light, figure out why that is and fix it. You may not be able to change someones initial thoughts of you, but you can change the way they view you after that.

3. "The best things in life happen unexpectedly."

"Life is what happens when you're busy making plans," also goes along with this. Trying to plan out every little detail of your life is only going to lead to disappointment. Sometimes you find the best things/what you're looking for when you're not actually looking. Just go through the motions and things will work out the way they are supposed to.

4. "Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small."

It's important to celebrate the little things. Did you go to class today? Good for you. Did you decide to drink water instead of a soda? That's awesome. How are you going to work up to doing bigger and better things if you don't have anywhere to start?

5. "Whatever you're stressing about now probably won't matter in five years."

As someone who is often eaten away by their own worry and anxiety, this is a mantra that I try to constantly remind myself. While it may seem like a big deal now, you need to keep in mind the bigger picture. Will it matter in 5 hours? 5 days? 5 months? And so on. If the answer is no to ANY of these questions, it's probably not worth beating yourself up over.

6. "Stop being the 'go to' person for someone you can't go to."

Someone tweeted that their pastor said this to them and the tweet went viral. A friend of mine sent it to me, and it really made me think. Something I have struggled with over the years is making excuses for people who don't show up for me when I am constantly there for them. This is a helpful reminder that if they aren't contributing to you and your life, you shouldn't have to bend over backward to help them out and be in their lives.

7. "Two wrongs don't make a right."

While this is often a saying that parents use on their young children, it is applicable to pretty much any stage of life. My parents, especially my dad, have constantly said this, whether it was in reference to fighting with my siblings or dealing with people at school. Even as a 20-year-old, I find myself saying this when I hear about arguments and problems people are having. Everyone wants to get even, to best those who hurt them. While it's important to stick up for yourself, it is also important to be the bigger person and not stoop to their level (and whatever else your parents told you in these situations).

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