A Sophomore's Survival Guide To The First Year

A Sophomore's Survival Guide To The First Year

Incoming freshmen, you're going to want to read this.


There's a lot of things that are different when you start living at school with the same people 24/7. It's an adjustment and you're going to want to be prepared for that.

1. Be at least 5 minutes early to your classes.

First of all, you can get a good seat. But more importantly, you can start to become a familiar face to your professor which is a really good thing. You can get your notebook or laptop ready before class starts so that way you won't miss any of the lecture.

2. Keep a clean room.

Considering most of your friends will be made in the residence halls, people are going to end up hanging out in your room. No one wants to walk into a gross, tiny room, so try to keep it tidy.

3. Use a planner.

Staying organized is so important. With 5 classes and a ton of coursework, you're not going to be able to magically remember all of your assignments and upcoming exams, so you need to find a cute planner and write everything down. Color-coding definitely helps.

4. Go out and have fun.

Don't go out every night, but some of the best ways to make new friends is to go out.

5. Go to the club fair.

Find something that you like and sign up for it! It's such an easy way to make new friends and keep busy on campus.

6. Always carry an umbrella.

You never know when you're going to be walking to class when all of a sudden it starts to downpour. Trust me, you don't want to get caught in the rain with your books, your laptop, and your clothes.

7. Get in a routine.

Being in a routine will help you feel more at home. For example, go to class, go to the gym, do your homework, and watch Netflix. Although it can change a bit each day you'll feel much better if you have an idea of what you're doing when you wake up each day.

8. Try your best not to procrastinate.

Seriously you're not going to want to have assignments that you didn't finish when all of a sudden plans come up last minute.

9. Find a show to watch when you have a bad day.

Some days you're just going to want to curl up in your bed and watch a show. Whether it's Friends, The Office, or Parks & Rec, it'll make your day a lot better.

10. Do your laundry once a week.

Get in the habit so that you never run out of clean clothes. I promise it's not hard.

11. Walk in groups.

During the day walking to class by yourself is fine, but walking around after class try to walk with at least one other person. I'm not saying your campus isn't safe, I'm just saying you need to take precautions.

12. Don't spend all of your points in the first few weeks.

Whatever system your school uses for meal points other than dining halls, don't use all of them before the semester has even begun. You're not going to be happy when halfway through the semester you don't have enough points to buy the snack you want in the student center.

13. Leave your door open for a while.

Meet the people on your floor and be friendly! They're your neighbors for the next year.

14. Don't overpack.

Don't bring more than you actually need because there's hardly any extra room in your dorm so you don't need a bunch of extra stuff.

15. Just relax.

Seriously you'll be fine, college is fun! If you get stressed call your parents or your home friends. Reach out to new people on campus. Take a nap or go out. Whatever you decide to do, just have fun.

College is a time to have fun and learn as much as you can, so just relax and take a deep breath because it's not as scary as you may be thinking.

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14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!


What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

Price: $8.49 (one pack), $14.99 (two pack)

2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

Price: $28.46

5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

Price: $12.00

6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

Price: $9.99

7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

Price: $16.99

8. "Frat" sticker

Frat boys always need to make sure everyone around them knows just how "fratty" they are. This versatile stick can go on a laptop, car, water bottle, or practically anywhere their little hearts desire.

Price: $6.50

9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

Price: $38.76-$41.11

10. Natty light fanny pack 

This fanny pack can absolutely be rocked by any frat boy. The built-in koozie adds a nice touch.

Price: $21.85

11. Bud Light Neon Beer Sign 

A neon beer sign will be the perfect addition to any frat boys bedroom.

Price: $79.99

12. Beer Opener

Although most frat boys' go to beers come in cans, this bottle opener will be useful for those special occasions when they buy nicer bottled beers.

Price: $7.99

13. Frat House Dr. Sign

Price: $13.99

Forget stealing random street signs, with this gift frat boys no longer have to do so.

14. Beer Lights 

Lights are an essential for any party and these will surely light up even the lamest parties.

Price: $17.19

Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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New Year. New Language.

"The limits of my language are the limits of my world." - Ludwig Wittgenstein


When contemplating your New Year's Resolutions, think about adding "Learning a New Language" to the list. I'm sure some of you just groaned thinking about the feeling of dread from when learning a language was required as a class. But learning a language on your own terms can actually be a lot more fun and engaging because you find your own meaning in it other than receiving a grade. And, honestly, the language you took in school maybe wasn't even the language you were truly interested in. It could've been the one you knew a bit about and knew you could get a decent grade in or the language you settled for because the school didn't offer the language you wanted to learn.

Personally, I had an interest in learning Dutch, but that wasn't an option and I stuck with what one I thought could be most useful: Spanish. However, a couple of summers ago I took the initiative to start learning Dutch on my own. No strict schedule or "unnecessary" assignments that make me unmotivated to learn more about a new language and culture different to the one I'm accustomed to. I had always loved Spanish class because I was intrigued by learning about the culture and it helped me with grammar. But, unfortunately, having to learn the language for a grade also made it more of a hassle and inconvenience because the assignments and pressure to remember rather than retain became the main focus other than learning about this other culture. So learning a new language on your own terms resolves those issues!

It's actually quite simple to go about learning a new language! There are many apps out there that have a variety of languages to choose from and ways to teach you that can be used. Or you can go the route of buying or renting books to help teach yourself. In my opinion, Duolingo has been a great tool in helping me learn Dutch, and has many other languages to choose from! (And I recently found out that you're not limited to just the app on your phone, though it may be most convenient. It is also available on your computer from the website). Duolingo also has ways to help you create a routine and makes it engaging to learn. There are groups you can join with others who are trying to learn the same language as you. You also receive points as you complete sections, so in a way, you can make it as competitive as you want to motivate yourself to keep learning! It also allows you to choose how aggressive you want to be in your approach to learning this new language. You can decide to practice as little as only 5 minutes a day! The daily notifications you can set help you do a little each day and keep making progress. Every little bit helps!

Another tip that is a great help when learning a new language is to start a journal designated specifically for vocab and things you learn so it's easy to access for you to review and keep track of what you're learning. It's also a great resource for you to utilize if you want to look back on if you decide to take a break from your learning streak which makes the transition into learning again smoother. While Duolingo allows you to do an activity as many times as you wish, it is helpful to have something tangible to help you along the way apart from the app.

Everyone's experience learning a new language is unique to them as we all have our own interests in what we want to get out of this new knowledge and as we all learn at different speeds and in different ways. This aspect of learning can make the experience isolating, but I found it really helpful and inspiring to look into others' stories and advice about learning a new language. I watch YouTube videos of how to get started and what people recommended on doing to get the most out of the experience. Particularly, I found having a specific role model or person learning the language or person who is naturally fluent in the language and/or living in the culture is incredibly inspiring as well as motivating and enlightening. For me, I was fortunate and found a Dutch YouTuber that was also a big part of the book community too, so her channel fit two of my interests! (If you're interested in checking out her channel it is: booksandquills).

I found learning a new language on my own is a fun, new hobby that I actually enjoy spending the time to grow as a person. It can be easy to push aside as life gets busy - trust me, I let that excuse take too much control of my life! But each time you learn even just a new word, it brings you a strange sense of pride for accomplishing even that. Even though life can be chaotic and adding teaching yourself a new language into the mix can seem overwhelming, you can just take 5 minutes a day to practice or learn a little something new. We all have 5 minutes to spare, sometimes more, so why not put that time to good use?! Most of us spend that time on our phones anyway, so why not learn something from your phone other than mindlessly scrolling on social media?

All in all, though, the experience of learning a new language is what you make of it! I know many New Year's Resolutions quickly become tossed aside. A goal without a plan is just a wish. Become more cultured this year. Prove yourself wrong this year. Learn a new language this year.

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