This Is What The Beginning Of Freshman Year Is Really Like

This Is What The Beginning Of Freshman Year Is Really Like

You are your top priority.

It is easy to let yourself become overwhelmed with such a new and strange setting. Many of us find that the transition from high school to college is one of the hardest that we have experienced. Depending on who you are you struggle more socially or academically or both are equally as difficult for you.

Personally, I have had my moments in both of these cases but I find myself putting these things before my health. With so much going on in our lives it can feel like the better choice is to skip that meal or stay up later studying. But, I can tell you from experience that this will eventually take a toll on you.

I am writing this as I enter the fifth or sixth week of school (not sure how anyone keeps track, everything goes by so quickly). Recently, on many different occasions, I have chosen the easy way out of situations. When I had work that could be finished later on I would use the work as an excuse to not eat. When I needed to study it became my excuse to not sleep. Then nearing the end of this week I realized that none of these habits are healthy.

I am writing this article to tell you that you are your own top priority. Although academics are extremely important you should never let them get in the way of your physical or mental health. I encourage you to try and stay aware of your behavior as best as you can so that the actions you are taking are easy to moderate. As I become aware of myself and noticed my mistakes I have been able to learn from them and improve.

Be aware of those around you as well whether they are peers or best friends. As freshmen, we all have internal struggles we are going through and coping with the transition is not easy. If you notice a friend is developing strange sleeping patterns or eating less try and encourage that they do those things.

Don’t let for anyone to feel alone in this situation as we are all experiencing a similar feeling

Cover Image Credit: Curry College / Facebook

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A College Student's Guide To Social Justice

An introduction to making change.

Part of being in college means that each person has a little bit of 'I want to help the world' in them. Being on a team, doing community service, or helping a peer with their homework are all ways to help your college community.

The best place to start making change is in your college years.

As a college senior and a social work major, I have thought about how to best make change a lot. Participating in protests, calling senators, and hosting informative sessions never seemed like enough for me. I always thought that I never got to the root of what making social change actually was, and then I had an idea.

I needed to do research on what I, as a 21-year-old college student, can do to create this change. I talked to a few resources on campus, and this is what I came up with.

1. Figure out what you are passionate about.

Obviously, not everyone is going to be passionate about the same things. Therefore you, as the bright young college student you are, need to figure out what you personally care about, and what you want to help out with. This can be environmental causes, or being an ally for those of different sexual orientations, racial, religious backgrounds, different populations such as the homeless. Figure out what you care about most and want to dedicate time to. We should really care about all causes, however, since we are only human, we should dedicate our time and focus to one true passion.

2. Listen.

This may seem like a fairly obvious one (or maybe not) - regardless, this is the most important step in making change. When you have pin-pointed the cause that you want to dedicate your passions to, learn the absolute most about it that you can. As a Latina woman, I believe in intersectional feminism and working towards racial equality. Now, that may seem like big words and a lot to do, but what I actually do is learn as much about these things as possible so then I can recognize my own power and privilege to work towards creating change.

3. Reach out to different departments to find out what you can do.

Most campuses have many different clubs and organizations that work with those of diverse backgrounds. You can reach out to these organizations and get involved with programs to inform the campus more about them. Or you can join your college’s volunteer center and volunteer with the population you want to learn more about. Build relationships with people that are different than you.

4. Inform others about what you have learned.

I dedicated myself to the idea of allyship. I read literature and research on how to be a good ally. I worked with other departments on campus and developed a workshop to send my message to different students on campus. It was originally designed for students that work in our volunteer center, however, different students and department heads reached out so then I can train students on allyship. It is one thing to learn all that you can about a social issue, it's another to actually spread your message and to get others involved. Taking action is one step closer to solving a problem.

There are many ways to create social change and we, as college students, should be encouraged to use our freedom and lack of responsibility to respond to the different needs that are around us everyday. Standing in solidarity with others is the best way to be an outstanding human in this world. We should always strive to solve the problems that are around us together with the people that are directly impacted. We will not take center stage on the issues, but use our power and privilege when needed. To know your place and know when to use your privilege is a lesson we all can learn. Keep asking questions and learning more and then use the skills you have learned out of college to create change. Now let’s get to work!

Cover Image Credit: Sheila Ramirez

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Will The Future President Give Our Country The Educational Reform We Desperately Need?

Education reform and the 2020 Presidential Election. Its Not Far Away.

It's a crazy realization that Donald Trump has been the President of the United States for an entire year. I guess time flies by when you play a lot of golf. But really, the 2020 presidential election isn't too far away. Perhaps Oprah Winfrey will become the first female President of our great nation during the 2020 election.

To me, it doesn't matter if the candidate is a republican or a democrat because I find so many faults in the two-party system. As a college student, my biggest concern with the upcoming election is mostly education reform and how it impacts my generation.

Furthering your education after secondary education is becoming more popular. Young adults graduating high school want to pursue their dream careers at a community college, universities, technical schools, or skip college to jump right into the workforce. Lots of students are faced with mounds of college debt and some have no support from their parents or the government.

Yes, it would be absolutely fantastic if every student could get a free secondary education but, that isn't realistic or practical. The "free ride" that students get in other countries isn't attainable in the USA and I don't think it ever should be. How does a "free ride" show responsibility and integrity to students? If my generation has the mentality of everything being handed to them, it won't matter who the next President is and how they impact our country because we have already failed.

A "free ride" doesn't give my generation the opportunity to actually work for something. The students that get a "free ride" based on their academic, athletic, or musical/art achievements, have already worked hard to achieve their goals. It was definitely not handed to them.

You don't have to go to college to make a living - as much as people tell you that you need a college degree to be successful, you don't. Although a college degree of any kind will help you in your job search, there are a lot of jobs in various fields that do not require a college degree.

I am very thankful to be living in a country that, even though may not give a "free ride" to every student, still gives substantial amounts of money to college students. Along with the help of our taxpayer's dollars, students all over can chase their dreams and find the job that's perfect for them even if that means they will be in some debt after graduation.

This next election is so crucial for the education reform that needs to take place. The amount of college debt for some students is absolutely insane. Adults in their late 40's are still paying off some of their own college debt, over 20 years later!

I may not know what the answer is to help fix some of this problem, but I'm pretty sure free secondary education for every student is not the answer. I'm hopeful to a different leader of our country that cares more about education and how to solve some of the problems it faces.

Cover Image Credit: Jose Moreno on Unsplash

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