To The Slightly Shell-Shocked Introverted College Freshman

To The Slightly Shell-Shocked Introverted College Freshman

I know your nervous, but its fine I promise.

Hey Friend,

You're probably reading this to affirm your overwhelming anxiety, or to search for some advice from a fellow introvert. Well, you're in the right place.

In high school, I happily shared a smile with everyone in my way. Contrastingly, the first thing I learned in college was that not everyone has the same heart as you, unfortunately. Whatever you do, DO NOT let this cause you to close into your shell, because that is exactly what I did. Despite the overwhelming pit in your stomach, you have to let your wings show. Once you allow yourself to expand, you will find that people gravitate toward you, rather than yourself getting so nervous that you sound like a broken toy talking to someone.

Freshman year is terrifying for people like you and me.

And that's OK.

Take this time to become the person you've always looked up to. Stay up late to go to Sonic with the girl that sits next to you in English, or the guy that sits behind you in Bio. Tell the person on the elevator they have nice shoes. When you run into your professor of your 400 student lecture class, introduce yourself. You'll slowly learn to breathe normally near the people around you.

I always have this assumption that my existence is an inconvenience for my peers. I know this may sound really deep, but it is precisely what caused me to become so introverted and overflowing with social anxiety. I take everything personally. When I answer in class, people look at me. I know, you're thinking, "Well, duh." but I just assumed that I was being judged or sounded ignorant. But I promise everyone is just as awkward and as nervous as you. You might have an unpopular opinion, or feel stupid, or totally brain fart and ask a silly question and feel completely and utterly embarrassed when your professor responds with a snappy, witty response. Just know, I've been there, once I expressed my opinion on a law and my professor stared at me and completely stepped on my opinion because it was different than hers. I was flushed and felt like everyone would think I'm an idiot.

Just know, that literally everyone will forget a silly mistake in less than a week, including yourself. You need to embrace the fact that you are a person who appreciates being alone.

When you cancel plans to stay in your dorm with friends, do not feel defeated, feel empowered. Use this time to recharge. Read a book, watch Netflix, if you're a Christian, READ YOUR BIBLE! Your alone time is the best time for some Jesus. When you disconnect from the people you're around all day, you have time to dive into the word of God with an open mind. You will grasp the Gospel in ways you did not know possible. God knitted you in your mother's womb to work for him. We are always told to leap out of our comfort zones, but sometimes, that's so hard. Use this quiet time to realize that you're perfectly normal.

Best Wishes!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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What It's Like To Take A Class With Professor Yuri Urbanovich

My experience taking a class with one of the best professors at UVA.

I have taken multiple classes with Professor Urbanovich during my time at UVA, and he is one of my favorite professors. Not only does he genuinely care about his students, but he also pushes them to learn more than humanly possible in the span of 50 minutes.

Seriously, I have learned more in his classes about Russian history and politics than I could have ever imagined. Professor Urbanovich’s thick Georgian accent and recalls of personal experiences also make his classes more personal, allowing students to understand the nation’s history and politics on a completely different level.

No wonder his classes fill up in a matter of hours when course registration begins!

The best part of Professor Urbanovich’s class is the many repeated quotes that one can uncover during his lectures. I am currently taking a J-term course with Professor Urbanovich and I have noticed that he says some things a lot throughout the course of his lectures, which makes them that much more interesting and fun.

If you’re interested in taking a course with Professor Urbanovich, which I highly recommend, be aware of the fact that Urbanovich will say the following things a lot.

1. My friends...

Professor Urbanovich does not refer to his students as “you guys” or “ my students,” but rather “my friends.” He often starts his lectures with “my friends,” making the class more intimate and welcoming. He welcomes various thoughts and opinions and treats his students in a way that makes it seem like you really are friends with the professor.

I have only taken two classes with him, but he always remembers who I am (a rare occurrence at a large university).

2. It is inconceivable

Professor Urbanovich often says that certain events or occurrences are “inconceivable”, and when he does, you know that the even matters a lot in terms of Russian history. It’s sort of like a marker for the things you should absolutely remember after any given lecture.

Earlier this week, one of his students quoted Urbanovich’s “inconceivable” phrase during a presentation, and the entire class, including the professor, started laughing. It just goes to show how welcoming and fun his classes can be.

3. I mean, can you imagine...

This is something along the lines of “inconceivable”, but it happens on rare occasions, usually when Professor Urbanovich is comparing the US to Russia and explaining how various events that occur in Russia would not be welcomed in the US or any other nation.

For example, the Pussy Riot fiasco that occurred in Russia was a stab at the religious values present in Russia, but we idolize it in the US. If something like this had happened in Israel or any other nation with strong religious values, we would most likely look at it in a different light. I mean, can you imagine…

4. I am so proud of you

Professor Urbanovich values education over number grades, often telling students that he is extremely proud of the work they’ve done and that they will go far in life. He does give exams, homework responses, and various projects, as any professor would, but he often makes students feel accomplished and successful after the completion of any assignment.

His comments on most essays are very constructive and provide guidance toward the development of better writing skills and the creation of more ambitious future projects.

5. Don't throw potatoes at my head

On the first day of my J-Term class, Professor Urbanovich compared our class to a large group of protestors as a joke, saying that we shouldn’t throw potatoes at his head if we did not agree with one of his statements.

Throughout the course of the past two weeks, he has repeated this phrase several times, especially during lectures that might have sparked opposition among students. Professor Urbanovich says this in a joking way of course, and it makes the class seem less intense than it is, almost as if we were not learning 1000+ years of Russian history in the span of 10 days.

Cover Image Credit: UVA

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21 Things To Do On Your 21st Birthday

You’re officially legal! It’s time to celebrate!

You’ve been waiting for this day for, well, 21 years! It’s one of the biggest milestone birthdays there is to look forward to. You probably never thought you’d make it to this point, but now that the day is here, there’s so much to do!

1. Drink!

2. Go out to dinner.

3. Go to the Casino.

4. Go on a winery tour.

5. Drink!

6. See a movie.

7. Drink!

8. Eat wine-flavored ice-cream!

9. Buy something for yourself.

10. Scratch lottery tickets.

11. Drink!

12. Go bowling.

13. Throw a party.

14. Go on a cruise.

15. Drink!

16. Dance.

17. Drink!

18. Go to a club with friends!

19. Celebrate with family.

20. Open presents.

21. Drink!

You’ve waited 21 years to legally have your first sip of alcohol, whether it be wine, beer or some fruity cocktail. The moral of this is it’s time to drink, so indulge yourself.

But drink responsibly!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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