An Open Letter To Incoming VCU Freshmen
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Student Life

To the incoming freshman considering taking more classes

Taking more than 15 credits a semester is stressful, but here's my advice to balance your workload.

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To the incoming freshman considering taking more classes
Ahniaelyah Spraggs

To the new Rams reading this,

Congratulations and welcome to the Ram Fam! I am an incoming senior majoring in broadcast journalism and I am going to tell you how I survived junior year. My first year at Virginia Commonwealth University, I met a student that said junior year was his hardest year of college. At the time I was very naive and thought I had things all figured out and needless to say, I did not take his words seriously. While my first semester of junior year was a little stressful, it was nothing compared to spring semester.

Spring semester I signed up for 17 credits and decided to pick up a minor. Despite my mother suggesting that I only take 15 credits, I was very determined to do what was necessary to graduate May 2019. I felt as if I could handle it and didn't think that two credits would make much of a difference. Before leaving for winter break, I also met with my mentor, who suggested that I do something to mentally prepare for the busy semester ahead. But instead, I spent my time relaxing and did not consider my mother's advice to review my syllabuses.

One of the classes I signed up for was a capstone for print majors. I wanted to take this course to write articles that would be published and have some experience as a reporter. I also began writing for the Odyssey, where I write opinionated pieces on issues that affect myself and the VCU community. However, it wasn't long before taking 17 credits became unbearable. I felt as if I did not have much of a social life. I also began having more panic attacks because I was so unprepared.

By April, I dropped my minor and I was completely burnt out. I had no motivation to do anymore work. I began wondering why I was even stressing myself out and considered changing my major. However, it is because of people like biology major Terry Everett, who also co-founded "B The Movement," that I am still at VCU. In April, I met with Everett and expressed my concerns. When he asked what my schedule was, I wanted to run and hide because I did not have a schedule. My routine consisted of doing whatever needed to be done for the day. Everett also talked about how college gives us this false sense that we have all the time in the world when we really don't.

I share my experience with you to say this—you have to have a clear vision of what it is you want to accomplish. I knew I wanted to build my portfolio as a journalist spring semester, but I failed to develop a reasonable plan for how I was going to do so. My plan to work myself to the bone wasn't successful because it did not include any time for self care. Entrepreneur George Lucas once said, "Dreams are extremely important. You can't do it unless you imagine it."

The old adage that all work and play will make you gray doesn't stop when you get to college. Don't just do what's necessary to get your degree in the least amount of time. Make sure you also take time for yourself and plan effectively to make college life easier. Make sure you're also aware of your resources on campus, such as the VCU Campus Learning Center

and University Counseling Services. But most of all, have fun, network and try to experience life off campus when you can.

Sincerely,

A senior who's learned their lesson.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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