To Incoming Freshmen From A Rising Junior: You Are Not Special

To Incoming Freshmen From A Rising Junior: You Are Not Special

The assumption we are special is our first mistake.
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As my final weeks of my junior year of college slowly conclude, I cannot stop but wonder how I got here. How did I push through all these years of school? Who should I thank? As a senior in high school, college seemed to be this awesome thing where you can have a great time and still get an education without being in the shadows of your parents all the time. It seemed liberating almost. It seemed like I would finally get a chance at the world. I would make new friends while still keeping the ones I had from high school in my memory.

I saw college as this thing which was given, not which was achieved. As I was finishing up high school, my guidance counselor was famous for constantly telling us seniors what to do and how to do it regarding applying for schools. It almost seemed like we didn't have a choice. I mean...we did. It just seemed like we would be without opportunity if we didn't apply. I had friends applying to colleges left and right, almost bragging about how many they applied for, making it seem like that had some type of correlation with intellect. Those who got into their school with a full ride were praised, honored, and even had huge celebrations. Graduation parties would only tenfold that sensation. It seemed all like a very welcoming departure of our comfort zone. As nervous as I was of heading to my school of choice, I was still excited.

It has almost been four years now, and I cannot help but notice the common ground all of us college students have now. We now find ourselves burying our heads with books, pulling all-nighters, and leading sometimes reclusive life styles. School has overwhelmed us at this point, and it almost makes the whole celebration thing a little naïve. Now we are approaching our endgame, our conclusion of our education ( for most people). Now we have to start worrying about what lays ahead of us. Now we need to start worrying about somehow making all of this time seem like it was worthwhile in the end. We suddenly have this epiphany of "Wait, college was suppose to be fun and special...why the fuck can't I find a job that aligns with my education?" We tend to, as students, not really think about the possible consequences of not getting our way. When things go wrong, we might freak out. High school does not train us for that. High school prepared us for the biggest assumption in our education; we are something special.

The truth is, we students aren't special at all. We are not some fire burning in a dark tunnel. We are the leaves in the tunnel that nobody really pays attention to unless they makes a noise. We are constantly told that we are somehow special for making the choice of getting a higher education, and high schools love sitting on their pedestals of students who pursue higher education. The thing many of those high schools refrain from disclosing is the percentage of students that actually follow through with their endeavours. Cool. 90 percent of your graduating classes graduate. Now what percentage out of that succeed in college? I am sure it is well below the aforementioned percentage.

Now I know this is a huge depressing idea that I am sure many high school/college students might be reading, but it needs to be said. When we see someone whose gone through his or her education and cannot find a job, their student loans constantly robbing their pockets, what comes to mind? Do you view the individual as being cheated by the system and given the short end of the stick? Or do you see someone who is to blame for their own failures? Often times it is a mix of both, but the reality is no one is given anything in life. Not money, not a house, not a car, and most certainly not an education. I believe that is what should be taught in our high schools in this day and age of high competition. We should be taught that our dreams are not confirmed at the sight of college, but by pushing through to the finish line and coming out on top. How that is done is up to the individual. If there was one way to put this whole article into a phrase, it would be this.

Siphoning every high school student through the same college worm hole telling them "College is the only way to go!" and assuming good will come of that is ethicaly wrong, and a detriment to the coming generation of educators.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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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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Five Tips to Get on Top of Your 2019: Tech Editions

Yeah, there's an app for that.

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Technology is the course of the future, why not use it to get on top of your new year? Make 2019 the year you stop sleeping on these great productivity apps and get grinding! Best part, all the apps I've included here are free.

Google Calendar.

Look at that beauty.

I LOVE Google Calendar! Not only is it a great tool to map out your week, it comes with cool features. You can color code tasks and events, get text reminders and so much more. You can even sync your calendar with other people's (this is very helpful for roommates or study buddies).

Google Doc File Folders

Crying.

Sick of that long list of documents in your Google Docs? You can make file folders to organize all of your docs!

Momentum Chrome Extension

This is by far my favorite productivity app. It's a Chrome extension that acts as a home page whenever you open a new window or tab. It comes complete with the weather, a motivational quote and a to-do list! The best feature is their "main focus for the day". It keeps you grounded for sure- especially when it pops up with every tab and forces you to think about all you need to accomplish.

Wunderlist

This is a to-do list on steroids- definitely worth checking out!

Todist

A to-do list app for your phone! I love this just to organize what my top priorities are.

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