My first semester at UGA was stressful, rewarding, and very memorable. I must say that from my very first day in the heat of August, to the last gloomy and gray day of finals, I learned far more than the history of Latin America and the structural breakdown of Huckleberry Finn. I learned things that boosted my status from clueless, helpless freshman, to seasoned and experienced pro. Now that it's my second semester as a baby Dawg, there are so many things I will do differently.
1) I will not let people get on the bus before me.
Rude. Very rude, I know, but one thing I learned during my first semester of school is that no one is polite when it comes to university transportation. Lines pile up, people shove, tall people have an advantage, and the driver doesn't care if you get stuck in the closing doors. The longer you let people step on before you, the more likely you are to be pushed to the curb to wait for the next bus.
2) I will not buy my books at the UGA Bookstore.
Last semester, I eagerly rushed to the bookstore on the second day of classes to buy all of my books. I spent enough money that it makes me nauseous just thinking about it. Be patient. Unless your professor requires a workbook or access code that only the UGA Bookstore offers, I can guarantee that you can find cheaper versions of your textbooks on Chugg or Amazon.
I also made the mistake of renting my books, because it was cheaper than buying. Big mistake. If you can buy used books, do it! Once your semester is over, you can then resell them to get some of your money back. You'll spend almost as much money renting as you will buying, and once the semester is over, you get nothing back from rentals.
3) I will avoid Tate and MLC.
Yes, Tate has Chick-Fil-A, and yes, MLC has coffee. BUT, the lines are always outrageous. There's so much noise, which makes it impossible not to get distracted while studying. Plus, it is almost impossible to find a place to sit that's private and spacious. I always drug myself to the MLC to get coffee and look for somewhere to sit and study. I usually ended up walking all over the place and then realizing it was already time for my next class.
4) I won't blame others for using "my" study spot.
During my first semester of class I slowly created a list of my favorite study spots on campus. I won't disclose these scared places, because it might attract more traffic, but let's just say they're heavenly. Everyday I made it my routine to take my lunch and laptop to my favorite study area expecting it to be completely empty. I was quickly smacked with the realization that UGA is a public school, and unfortunately, I can't claim a spot. Other people enjoy quiet, pretty spots to relax, too. I have to share, and I can't be stingy or childish when someone makes it to "my" spot first.
5) I won't expect to find good parking.
Everyday I pulled up to my five level parking deck expecting to find a magical, primo spot reserved just for me. I literally spent a good half an hour going back and forth through the lower levels waiting for a miracle, just to find myself on the top level and half an hour short on time. This semester, I will drive straight to the top, accept my destiny, and go about my day.
6) I won't assume that I will make good grades.
UGA was such a news flash to me. In high school, I was a top student and didn't have to kill myself to make decent grades and comprehend material. However, at UGA everyone was a top student in their high school. Everyone is extremely smart, and guess what? The professors know that. They expect the best, they expect hard work, and they expect people to learn. UGA couldn't be the best without making people work for it. My grades my first semester were definitely not something I was proud of. It's time to crack down, study, pay attention, and humble myself enough to realize that I'm in the big leagues now and I am not going to breeze through this. Mr. Degree? I'm going to fight for you, my friend.