How Many Extracurriculars You Have Doesn't Matter, Your Passion Does

How Many Extracurriculars You Have Doesn't Matter, Your Passion Does

I didn't know how important my interests were until I realized that they paved the way to my future.
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I've written quite a few pieces about how I'll always long to return to the good old days of my freshman year, but I don't think I've ever stopped to "give" my younger self a helpful word or two. I think this may have to do with the fact that I believe that life goes on, but now that I've actually stopped to look back at the past year, there's one advice I had known sooner.

"Don't convince yourself not to be active outside of school because it's freshman year. It's important to start building your status early," people would say.

I'll admit that I'd always thrown those words in the back of my head with the rest of generic advice found on motivational calendars or in fortune cookies, so it really only hit me during the end of ninth grade how little I had progressed outside of school compared to some of my friends. Academically, I felt proud of where I stood, but my extracurricular category seemed to be, well... lacking. I listed out in my head how many clubs and activities I was involved in, and it seemed to be a comfortable number for me. But going back to how much my friends were doing, I suddenly felt that I wasn't up to their level.

Another side piece of advice: don't compare yourself to others. This method of comparing myself to people with completely different lives proved ineffective in motivating myself to do better because I was shutting myself down more than I was being encouraging in my pursuit of joining more extracurricular activities. There's a fine art to figuring out what's best for your future, and in this case, the number of clubs I was in meant nothing compared to how far I'd come in what I was currently doing.

I remember joining Odyssey for this very reason. A close friend had mentioned applying to the team, and the fact that she is an inspiration to me convinced me that maybe Odyssey was a good idea on my journey to finding more outside hobbies. My love for writing, which I had kept to myself for a few years, finally branched out once again and has made me feel happier in general.

So now that I have the chance to reflect on the one year I've been with Odyssey, I realize that yes, it's obviously important to start joining clubs early, but that's because continuity is key, not quantity of activities. Colleges like seeing you take on leadership positions in specialized areas of interest, not just joining a bunch of clubs across the board just to stand out in the extracurricular area.

I wish my younger self knew that knowing what you take an interest in is important, but I want to remember now that the key to success is working hard for what you love. My achievements are a direct representation of who I am, and it's nice to see how far you can come when you do what you love.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash // Ian Schneider

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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4 Reasons You Should Never Trust "Rate My Professor" When you're Choosing classes

Not all ratings are made with good intentions.

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It's no secret that many college students rely on "Rate My Professor" when picking their course load for the semester. However, after doing some research on classes I've taken and professors I've had...I'm not convinced it's the best option for course consultation.

Every college student is different. Especially at such a massive and eclectic school like the University of Central Florida. Our diversity here is what sets us apart and makes us so special as a university, but it also leaves a lot of room for interpretation. After browsing a variety of comments and ratings, I think it's safe to say that the fate of a course lies in the eye of the beholder.

Here are 4 reasons I believe that "Rate My Professor" isn't worth relying on come enrollment time.

1. Getting a bad grade in a course doesn't mean the professor was terrible.

I've had my fair share of questionable final grades. However, I think it's more of my responsibility than the professor's, and I don't think it's fair to blame the curriculum or final outcome on one person. There are some courses that are improperly planned and assessed, but others are just difficult, and that doesn't mean it's a bad course. I suggest students push their limits and take the time to tackle tough classes head-on, rather than blaming the instructor.

2. Language barriers don't make a professor bad.

A common comment I see on sites like "Rate My Professor" is that the instructor had a heavy accent, therefore making the course impossible to pass. While this may be true in some cases, I don't think this is a factor that should completely dismiss a highly qualified professor. There are many foreign professors at UCF that have a lot to offer students, it may just take a little more effort and patience to pass the class.

3. All college courses involve a heavy time commitment.

Another common complaint I read online is that some courses are too time-consuming. However, college isn't designed to be easy. College is what distinguishes good, hardworking students from the rest of the bunch, and students should expect to allow a decent amount of time for each course in order to be successful. Working hard and prioritizing is the key to success in higher education.

4. Hard exams are standard in college and can't be avoided.

Yes, we all hate extremely difficult exams. But, when a professor structures an exam in a particularly difficult way, it's most likely because he or she expects more out of his or her students. When taking a higher level course, students should be prepared for tedious and challenging exams. Although it's rough, it's unavoidable and teaches us all to be better students in the long run.


I am not dogging on "Rate My Professor." In fact, many comments are true. However, you must take everything with a grain of salt when reading reviews. Don't write off a class because of others' experiences.

Cover Image Credit:

Michał Parzuchowski

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