The 25 Most Important Lessons You Learn In The First Year Of College

The 25 Most Important Lessons I Learned From My First Year Of College

Alexa, play "I Love College!"

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I learned a lot in nine months. Here are some of my favorite takeaways.

1. The friends you make the first few weeks may not stay the same. 

I went through a lot of "friendships" before I found my true college friends.

2. White rugs don't stay white.

It was cute when we moved in.

3. Neither do white shoes, if you wear them ~certain~ places.

Ashley Sizemore

Drop a few extra dollars on a pair that you really, really don't care about.

4. Wear a jacket when it's cold at night. Don't be that girl.

Ashley Sizemore

I was that girl a lot.

5. You end up texting your mom, a lot.

Ashley Sizemore

"Hey, wanna hear what I had for lunch?"

6. As much as your mom is on her phone, she sometimes never answers your texts. You'll just call her later. 

She claims to be "busy."

7. Student orgs make all the difference, and not just on your resume.

Ashley Sizemore

Without the groups I'm in, college would be so boring.

8. Greek life is more than partying and drama.

Ashley Sizemore

Philanthropy events, sisterhood socials, and the numerous GroupMe groups help form a true bond.

9. Sorority recruitment is really hard, but really worth it. 

I hated every minute of it, but momma didn't raise a quitter.

10. Guys are everywhere. Don't let one ruin your night. 

Odds are, Brad from Tau Candy Apple really isn't worth it.

11. You really do only live once, so try new things as much as possible (safely). 

What's the point to college if you don't have numerous crazy stories to tell after?

12. Dress how you want, and don't let anyone tell you what not to wear. 

I'll always dress how I want, no matter how many guys tell me that flare jeans are "ugly."

13. Online shopping is a little too convenient. 

It should be an Olympic sport.

14. Take pictures of literally everything.

Ashley Sizemore

Whenever I miss a moment or someone, I always have pictures and videos to look back on.

15. Videos too. 

The videos are the best.

16. Check in on those around you, and surround yourself with those who do the same. 

Constantly surround yourself with people who will better you, or you just won't get better.

17. Don't drink nitro cold brew at 8 p.m. if you want to sleep that night. 

Biggest mistake of finals week.

18. Go to the rec center. It's a good stress reliever. 

Even though it's a 30-minute walk.

19. The library definitely isn't for everyone. 

Definitely don't go on the third floor. It's so quiet you can hear your brain cells dying.

20. Take some time for yourself every once in a while. It's a good way to stay grounded. 

Even if it means walking uptown and getting an ice cream cone, do it. You'll thank yourself later.

21. 19 credit hours a semester is do-able. You did it. 

I'm just trying to graduate on time.

22. So are part-time jobs while taking 19 credit hours. 

I'll always have my barista career to fall back on.

23. There's always that one person in every class that nobody can stand. 

Every time they open their mouth, the whole room groans.

24. Your major will change. Lots and lots and lots of times. This is OK. 

Once upon a time, I was (insert any major here).

25. English majors aren't "easy." Each major deserves respect. 

You actually have to have a personality and a little bit of talent to write a 28-page creative writing final.

I can't wait for round two.

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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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5 Reasons Why Staying At College For The Summer Is The Ultimate Power Move

No school, no rules, summer vacation at the best place on Earth, also known as college.

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As summer begins, it brings in the joy of no more school but for most what summer really brings is the sad realization that we have to leave our favorite place and go back to our boring home town with none of our new best friends. Although some have decided to stay at college for the summer and they will soon realize why this will be the best choice that they will be making all summer.

1. NO PARENTS 

What's better than no school, warm weather, and most importantly no one to say, "Are you just going to sleep till 2:30 p.m. every day this summer?"

1. It's like the weekend, but every day

Do you know what weekends felt like during the school year when you didn't have anything to do? No? You never had any free weekends? Wow, I'm so sorry. Well, imagine a weekend that you didn't have to do anything. Now multiply that one weekend by seven and you get seven Saturday like days where you do not have a single care in the world.

3. No "Go cut the grass!"

For the sons, you know that annoying time every week when your dad is going to say, "Go cut the grass." There is nothing you can do to get out of it. Well, staying at school for the summer means no more nagging. You get to choose what you do now.

4. The bond of friendship

The friends you make when you stay at college for the summer are different than any other bond. Mostly because you all don't have a care in the world since it's summer in your favorite place. It's a right of passage to call someone your summer college best friends. These are best friends that words wouldn't do justice.

5. The townies

Everybody always wonders what happens to a college town when all the college kids go home. Well, the townies come back in full swing and take their town back. If you stay at your college, you get to experience what most can't even describe in words. To the one mid-40s guy trying to relive his glory days. To the old men hitting on the college girls at the local pub. To the weird towny creatures that make you shiver with fright as you drive past them. Have fun townies, you only have three months.

That dream of "I wish I could just stay here at college with all these people but have no responsibilities" is finally coming true.

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