College Tips

11 Life Lessons I Learned In My 3rd Semester Of College That I Wish I Had Known In My 1st And 2nd

It's been more of a learning journey than I'd like to admit, but I'm glad I know these things now.

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The first year of college is rough—you're on your own for the first time, school just got stupidly hard, and you have no idea what you're doing. Once sophomore year hits though, you're pretty much an expert—you've probably settled into your major, joined a few clubs you're passionate about, and finally figured out how to handle this whole "life" thing. While reflecting on the past year and a half of our lives, my friends and I compiled a list of the core things we wish we had known before now.

1. Befriend people who intimidate you 

Mean Girls

My first two semesters of college, I spent a lot of time being jealous of my peers who seemed to have it all together and were doing "better" than me. Once I actually became friends with some of these people, I realized that they're also just people and have struggles just like I do. I also found that by surrounding myself with equally (or more) motivated people, I was able to accomplish so much more.

2. Learn to say no every once in a while 

No

The opportunities on a college campus are just about endless, so it's easy to get caught up with so many things to do that you don't have time for what you actually want to do. Learning how to say no (and not feeling guilty about it) has helped me focus my energy and time on what matters most to me.

3. Mental health is so important 

Meditate

'Nuff said.

4. Stop telling yourself you can't be good at things 

Help

About halfway through the semester, I started running for the simple reason that I've always told myself it was something I couldn't do. After training for and finishing a 5K, I've proven myself wrong and gained a confidence that has transferred over into all aspects of my life.

5. You need all different types of people in your life 

Hug

It's important to have a balance of friends and family in your circle. You need some who you can laugh with, some who you can cry with, and some who nudge you out of your comfort zone.

6. Romantic relationships do not, and should not, define you as a person 

Patience

Over the years, I've been very insecure about my (non-existent) dating life. I've felt that I'm "less than" for having an S.O. This semester, I learned that having a strong support system is much more valuable than a strong romantic relationship. The right person will come along eventually.

7. Stepping out of your comfort zone usually works out well 

Comfort Zone

I have a lot of fear when it comes to meeting and talking to new people. I don't like to do things alone. This semester, I finally stepped out of my comfort zone in this regard by trying things by myself without a friend with me, and honestly, I had a blast.

8. Enjoy your alone time 

Roommates can become instant best friends. However, their presence automatically means you lose a large chunk of your alone time. When you get a free moment to yourself, take advantage of it. Your mental health will thank you.

9. Take part in events, no matter how cheesy they may seem 

Yes, colleges can be corny with some of their more wholesome activities. These events will only be available to you for a short portion of your life. I've found that sometimes you can make better memories at things like that than you can at a bar.

10.  Try things, even if you don't think you're good enough to keep up 

Try

So maybe you were the star in high school. Maybe you weren't. Either way, you shouldn't stop yourself from trying out for sports or activities in college because you think you "aren't good enough." No matter how big your college is, there's no way you'll know whether or not you can do something until you actually try to do it. More times than not, something will work out in your favor.

11.  Take advantage of the ridiculous amount of opportunities available to you. 

Do it

Your college years are going to be full of opportunities—both academic and social. You have every chance and every tool to succeed, it just comes down to actually taking the leap and making those opportunities work out for you.

Even though all of these things would have been nice to know in the past, I think that not knowing them made us into stronger human beings overall as we've learned and grown from our mistakes. So don't be afraid to fall into these traps yourself–sometimes, the best way to learn is to fall a few times before you can get up and stay up.

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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The One Thing Everyone Should Do Before They Graduate

Why I wish everyone could have shared in my end of school adventure.

Lswitka
Lswitka
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The end of freshman year was filled with the abundant stress of final exams, teary-eyed goodbyes, and last looks at my dorm room on South Campus. The academic year was overwhelmingly busy, and I tried my best to soak in every single moment as a first-year college student. But as I'm sure many of you can understand, it's not always possible to make time for the adventures we so desperately desire. I found myself saying "I want to do that!" all year long, and here it was the last week of the year and my bucket list had barely been touched. All those Philadelphia excursions, dreamy coffee shop dates, and campus explorations that I looked forward to never ended up panning out…

… until last Thursday night.

With about half the freshman class moved out of South Campus, everything felt a little strange. There was barely a dinner rush at all in Donahue Dining Hall, and my room looked so empty it almost made me sad. Naturally, I called up a couple of friends. Within minutes, we met in the lounge, and we were off for our adventure.

Every single day on the way to labs in Mendel Hall, I walked past the beloved Falvey Fountain. It had become such a consistent part of my routine that walking past it felt like it was a necessary daily occurrence. But this time, we didn't walk past. In fact, we stopped dead in our tracks and admired its color changing beauty for a brief moment.

And then we dove in!

Yes, we jumped right into the fountain. First the daring adventurer of the group, then his sidekick, then the skeptic, and finally myself. This was definitely not allowed, but no one was around, and more importantly, no one cared. Being knee deep was freezing, but the adrenaline rush was too much to suppress. So we submerged further, dunking each other and splashing the icy water literally everywhere. My wet hair made way for the most epic hair flip of all time, and we all laughed joyously.

All the stress of looming final grades and the completion of projects, the bittersweet goodbyes to our newfound families, and the hassles of packing up for the year were washed away in that fountain, drowned in the euphoria of the moment. We were officially baptized in summer as it dubbed us the kings and queens of adventure.

Afterward, we wrung out our soaking clothes and snapped a quick pic of our drenched selves. Trying to escape the scene hastily, I dropped my bag of M&M;'s. They spilled everywhere, leaving streams of melty chocolate and food coloring running through the aftermath of our fountain dive. The scene looked like a bit of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory had exploded from the fountain and into the night.

I am far from kidding when I say that adventure is a must for everyone, at any stage of life. Whether it's fountain diving at Nova, or sky diving in New Mexico, something about us as human beings needs the unusual, exciting, and even hazardous experiences. This one was particularly cleansing and absolutely unforgettable.

So I implore you: go forth this summer and be adventurous! Explore hidden places, try new eats, shuffle a stranger's playlist, introduce yourself to someone on a whim, or just get in the car and drive with no destination in mind. This summer is for the bold; this summer's for you.

Happy adventuring!

Lswitka
Lswitka

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