This Is What My Sophomore Year Taught Me

This Is What My Sophomore Year Taught Me

Everything my second year of college showed me.

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With my second year of college coming to an end, I have found myself caught up in reflection.

1. Pain Is Temporary

No matter what obstacles are standing in your way, and no matter what you are struggling to cope with, pain is not forever. It will get better, and you will be okay.

2. We Need The Bad Days As Much As The Good Ones

As much as the bad days hurt, we need them. Bad days are so, so important. They keep us humble, grateful, and human.

3. People Come And Go

By the end of my first semester this year, I found myself in a friend group with some of the most wonderful humans in the world (hi guys you know it's you). These people were not in my life last year, and now I can't imagine not having them. Sure, I lost some friends here and there, but the people who stick around and make you the best version of yourself are the ones who truly matter.

4. Not Everyone Will Like You... And That's Okay

Brush it off. Not everybody is going to be your biggest fan, and you know what? That's okay. You don't need everyone to like you. You just need to like you.

5. Hard Work Pays Off

Whether it is in class, in the gym, or at practice, hard work does pay off. Commit yourself to something and work at it, and chances are you will be happy with the results.

6. Taking Some Days Off Is Okay, And Encouraged

We are all human, and sometimes we get tired. When your brain or body needs a break, take a break. Listen to your body.

7. 8 Hours Of Sleep Really Do Make A Difference

After constantly battling sleep in my classes first semester, I decided a change needed to be made. I made it a point to start adjusting my schedule in order to make time for those recommended eight hours of sleep, and it made the biggest difference. You really do need that time. Don't overlook it.

8. Sometimes Coffee Works Against You

After greatly reducing the amount of caffeine I consume, I found that my energy levels shot up, I got a better night of sleep, and I stopped feeling sluggish. Especially after caffeine-induced panic attacks made their way into my routine, I found that that cup o' joe really might not be doing so much good after all. Try to cut down and see what it does for you.

9. Real Friends Won't Turn Their Backs

No matter what happens or where life takes you, real friends will never turn their backs on you. They will laugh with you at those who try to tear you down, they will be your shoulders to cry on (quite literally and you know who you are), and they will, simply put, do life with you. Every day. They will always be there, and anyone who seems to find it a bit too easy to let go of you isn't a true friend.

10. Not Having Your Whole Life Figured Out Is Okay

We are still young. We have so much time ahead of us, and so much time to figure out what we want to do with our lives and how we should go about doing those things. We do not need to have all the answers right now.

11. Time Flies

I am already halfway done with college, and I cannot even fathom how fast it is going by. Time really does fly when you're having fun, and I am learning to appreciate every second I get to spend on this campus with the people that I love so dearly. Before I know it, this will all be in the past, and I don't want to regret taking anything for granted.

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Dear Mom and Dad, You Don't Understand What College Is Actually Like In The 21st Century

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that.
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College is not what you think it is. I am not sitting in a classroom for six hours listening to a professor speak about Shakespeare and the WW2.

I am not given homework assignments every night and told to hand them in next class.

I do not know my daily grade for each of the five classes I am taking, and I don't know if my professor even knows my name.

College today is a ton different than how it was 20+ years ago.

I go to class for about maybe three hours a day. Most of my time working on "college" is spent outside of the classroom. I am the one responsible for remembering my homework and when my ten-page essay is due.

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that. I am a responsible person, even if you do not think I am.

I do get up every morning and drive myself to class. I do care about my assignments, grades, my degree, and my career.

I spend a lot of time on campus having conversations with my friends and relaxing outside.

I am sick of older generations thinking that us millennials are lazy, unmotivated, and ungrateful. While I am sure there are some who take things for granted, most of us paying to get a degree actually do give a s**t about our work ethic.

Dear mom and dad, I do care about my future and I am more than just a millennial looking to just get by.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlyn Moore

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

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Staying healthy in college seems really, really hard to do. Classes, friends, clubs, and the whole fact of living by yourself can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Most students, and people in general, don't really know how to deal with stress or how to take care of themselves mentally, leading to unhealthy behaviors physically and mentally. If you don't take care of your mental health, your physical health will suffer eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks to help take care of your mental health:

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and other healthy foods will help you feel more energized and motivated. Most people associate eating a balanced diet as beneficial for your physical health, but it is just as important for your mental health.

2. Keep a journal and write in it daily

Writing can be one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving things you can do for yourself. Writing down the issues you are struggling with or the problems you are encountering in your life on a piece of paper can help you relax and take a step back from that stress.

3. Do something that brings you joy

Take some time to do something that brings you joy and happiness! It can be really easy to forget about this when you are running around with your busy schedule but make some time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, writing, coloring, or even running, make some time for yourself.

4. Give thanks

Keeping a gratitude log — writing what brings you joy and happiness — helps to keep you positively minded, which leads to you becoming mentally healthy. Try to write down three things that brought you joy or made you smile from your day.

5. Smile and laugh

Experts say that smiling and laughing help improve your mental health. Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughing also helps you burn calories! There's a reason why smiling and laughing are often associated with happiness and joyful thoughts.

6. Exercise

Staying active and doing exercises that energize your body will help release endorphins and serotonin, which both act as a natural antidepressant. Keeping an active lifestyle will help you stay happy!

7. Talk out your problems

All of us deal with stress and have problems from time to time. The easiest and probably most beneficial way to deal with this stress and anxiety is to talk it out with a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.

8. See a counselor, peer mentor, or psychologist

Just like it was stated in the previous point, it is beneficial to talk out your problems with a counselor. We all have issues, and it is OK to ask for help.

Keeping up your mental health in college can be a struggle, and it may be hard to even admit you are not mentally healthy. This is OK; you are not alone. If you want to see a psychologist or would like to learn more about mental health, there are resources. You can also take a self-assessment of your mental health. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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