Let 2018 Fall Registration Commence

Let 2018 Fall Registration Commence

Apart from finals, course registration is the second most stressful thing a college student must deal with.
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As April 16, 2016 approaches, UT Austin students are scrambling to meet with their advisors about their upcoming Fall 2018 course registration. During this next week and a half, the campus will most likely be packed with stressed students walking in and out of class preparing for their registration time. While college students experience more freedom with which the classes they want to take and how many hours they receive from taking them, we long for the days when someone made our schedule for us.

I've never been more anxious than when registration comes around, and I've gone through this process three times with no hopes of it getting better until the spring of my junior year. My 2016 Fall Freshman registration was probably the easiest one I've had since I've been at UT thanks to my Gateway Scholars program. I was lucky enough to have a couple of my courses reserve a seat for me, but those days are long gone.

Since then I've had to wait and see like all of my other peers if my desired class would still be open after the third day of registration. Many of my friends experienced not being able to get the classes they needed and ended up going through plan A, B, and C before throwing in the towel and taking whatever was last.

For the first time last semester, I too, was like my friends. I had set up four different course schedules in case one or two failed, but I didn't expect ALL of them to fail. Although I wasn't able to get the classes I really wanted, the outcome left me more prepared and determined for this upcoming occasion that feels a lot more like a competition.

I've learned:

1) Strictly meeting with your adviser and doing no additional planning afterwards is going to kick your butt.

2) Make more than three possible course schedules because you never know what this year's registration period will bring.

3) Don't wait 10 minutes after your designated registration period to log in and try to find your courses.

4) Center your schedule around your most needed class (mine would be Reporting:Words because this is the third semester I have yet to get in that class and it's essential to my major).

My fourth lesson is the most important because, in my experience, once you don't get that one essential class, the rest of your self-made course schedule crumbles.

Think of it like avalanche, once one of your classes closes, the rest of your schedule will fall out before you can create a new plan; which is why making multiple schedules is crucial.

I'm thankful for my first two UT class registrations that left my fingernails unscathed and my sanity in tact, but these last two I've done in my Sophomore year now have me preparing myself like I've been chosen to participate in the Hunger Games.

To all of my college peers awaiting the first day of registration, like Effie Trinket said before pulling the first name out of the fish bowl, "May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor."

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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