Freshman Year First Semester Was A Whirlwind, But Oh How You Learn

Freshman Year First Semester Was A Whirlwind, But Oh How You Learn

"Welcome to the real world! It sucks. You're gonna love it!"
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The last four months of my life have been a complete whirlwind. I left my small town of two stoplights, a FasMart, and a Bojangles, said goodbye to my best friends and moved to a completely new place where I knew very few people.

On top of that, I was greeted by these two overly excited college students who called themselves "FrOGs" (Side note: my hall had the best FrOGs ever). I have come a long way since move-in day, and, even though I have a long way to go (because I am still just a freshie after all), I feel that I have had a lot of personal growth and have learned so many things, aside from what I learned while listening to professors in giant lecture halls.

Sleep is important.

Looking back on high school, I have absolutely no idea how I survived. From waking up to be at school by 7 a.m., and doing sports and extracurricular activities in addition to 8-hour school days, I am convinced my nonexistent sleep schedule took years off my life. Now, I get more sleep than I have in years, and, I will admit, I sometimes had trouble waking up for my 10 a.m. class this semester. I have also learned that sometimes getting plenty of sleep is more helpful than staying up all night studying.

I am so thankful that I have more time to sleep because I feel much healthier than I ever have before.

Being healthy isn't always easy.

I was very active in high school; from cross country and track, and many hours of dance, I had no choice but to stay in shape. Now, I am not on any sports teams, so finding time to stay in shape is my own responsibility. Also, thanks to JMU Dining, I could eat pizza, chicken nuggets, and dessert every single day if I wanted to (in love with chicken nugget Thursdays) I've learned that you must limit yourself, have self-control, and be conscious of whether your diet is balanced and healthy.

In addition to physical health, mental health is also important. There are so many things to do and ways to get involved in addition to your classes and workload here at JMU. However, it is SO important not to get too over-scheduled, because it is very important to take time for yourself to keep a healthy mindset and lifestyle.

Most professors aren't as intimidating as everyone says.

Before I came to college, I had an expectation of professors to be very difficult to work with, and mostly unconcerned with the success of their students. While much more responsibility is put on college students than high school students, and I didn't exactly 'love' all of my professors, I have overall had a better experience than I expected. Most of my professors have been kind, caring and supportive of their students, and as students, we need to remember that they are human, too.

Adulting is hard.

This semester, I have:

Changed my major

Applied and been hired to a job

Signed a lease and paid a deposit to live in a house next year

College is hard, not only because of the workload but because there are SO many things to do on top of that. We are expected to have a good GPA, while also being involved at our school to build our resume, learning how to live on our own, and, all the while, figuring out how we are going to pay for all of this (#broke). Adulting. Is. Hard.

College is where best friends are found.

While my best friends at home are still a very important of my life (doesn't everyone have that best friend from home that they call and talk to for hours?), I have made some wonderful friendships with people who were complete strangers just a few short months ago, and I know these people are going to be friends for life. Taking on all of the challenges that college brings is truly a bonding experience.

JMU really is the Happiest Place on Earth.

From throwing streamers at football games, to enjoying sometimes a little too much food at E-hall brunch, to taking lots of workout classes at UREC, to simply staring in awe at the beautiful mountainous views that surround our campus, I have made so many happy memories at JMU, and I can't wait for many more.

Go Dukes!

Cover Image Credit: Dakotah Smith

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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To The High School Graduating Seniors

I know you're ready, but be ready.

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Seniors,

I am not going to say anything about senioritis because I was ready to get out of there and I'm sure you are too; however, in your last months living at home you should take advantage of the luxuries you will not have in a college dorm. The part of college seen in movies is great, the rest of it is incredibly inconvenient. It is better to come to terms with this While you still have plenty of time to prepare and enjoy yourself.

Perhaps one of the most annoying examples is the shower. Enjoy your hot, barefoot showers now because soon enough you will have no water pressure and a drain clogged with other people's hair. Enjoy touching your feet to the floor in the shower and the bathroom because though it seems weird, it's a small thing taken away from you in college when you have to wear shoes everywhere.

Enjoy your last summer with your friends. After this summer, any free time you take is a sacrifice. For example, if you want to go home for the summer after your freshman year and be with your friends, you have to sacrifice an internship. If you sacrifice an internship, you risk falling behind on your resume, and so on. I'm not saying you can't do that, but it is not an easy choice anymore.

Get organized. If you're like me you probably got good grades in high school by relying on your own mind. You think I can remember what I have to do for tomorrow. In college, it is much more difficult to live by memory. There are classes that only meet once or twice a week and meeting and appointments in between that are impossible to mentally keep straight. If you do not yet have an organizational system that works for you, get one.

I do not mean to sound pessimistic about school. College is great and you will meet a lot of people and make a lot of memories that will stick with you for most of your life. I'm just saying be ready.

-A freshman drowning in work

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