6 Sure-Fire Ways To Survive Second Semester

6 Sure-Fire Ways To Survive Second Semester

When Christmas break flies by and you're afraid of repeating last semester.
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I climbed in my car Sunday afternoon heading to face another semester on The Plains. In all honesty, I wasn’t ready. My break had been an emotional rollercoaster and I had fallen back in love with the routine of being at home with my siblings. Just like most freshmen, first semester was rough. I found myself bombarded with changes to every aspect of my life. People warn you that it’s a trying time, but nothing hits home like experiencing it yourself.

There was so much uncharted territory and when I try to describe it the word overwhelmed is all that comes to mind. But, thanks to a lot of coffee, a lot of love, and the good Lord’s grace, I made it. I survived, and this was such a feat for me that it was all I could manage to think of over break. I lived, I conquered and in the shuffle of the holidays and the rest period that follows I kind of forgot that I wasn’t necessarily done. I had to go back for round two and deal with school all over again. I was nowhere near mentally prepared to face another semester of school, but not going wasn’t an option. Which got me to Sunday, headed back to Auburn in a car filled with clothes and books but a spirit filled with panic.

Then my phone rang. A beautifully timed phone call to inform me that I had in fact gotten a job that I, on a whim, had applied for two weeks earlier. I was given the opportunity to write for "The Odyssey." The message that I was, in fact, going to be okay wouldn’t have been clearer if God himself had come down from the Heavens and plastered “you've got this” on a billboard. You couldn’t have brought me down from cloud nine if you tried. It was exactly what I needed to encourage myself to head into this semester fully determined to make the best of it. Writing has always been one of those things I was decent at, and I’ve always been the girl with a secret diary in her pillowcase (as I’ve aged I have tried to graduate to the word journal).

I am a frequent reader of the Odyssey and I had been toying with the idea of submitting an application for awhile. Over break, I found myself reading some of my previous writings and decided to go for it. I didn’t really expect to get a response so soon and I sure as heck didn’t think I’d get the go-ahead to start writing within the next week. It was truly one of those situations in life where God was pushing me onto His path.

It’s human nature, though, to forget about those glorious moments in which we are shown first-hand the beauty of our creator’s plan and quickly my courage faded. By Tuesday evening, I found myself in that same unprepared panic and I was so anxious about the first day of class, but he proved me wrong again. Wednesday made for a great day filled with seeing my sorority sisters, spending quality time with my roommate, and reuniting with my long lost love Chicken Salad Chick. I then got to thinking, which is something you’ll see I do a lot as you go on this writing journey with me, and I realized that surviving second semester might not be as hard as I imagined.

First semester may have knocked me down, it may have knocked you down too, but second semester is fresh and new and we’ve all acquired some pretty useful tools for this go around. So I decided that there couldn’t be a better way to start this writing gig off than to talk about those same tools. So here are some things I feel like are all vital to not only surviving, but owning, second semester.

1. First and foremost, keep your eyes open for those pats on the back from God.

I feel like he is constantly sending us signs to encourage us, let us know we’re on the right track, and sometimes to keep us off that bad road. The kicker is that if we’re not listening we won’t hear Him. If you’re questioning a situation, a decision, or feeling down, turn to him. He will surely provide you with better answers, comfort, and guidance than any. We just have to take the time to listen.

2. Let go of last semester.

This is a toughy because you want to always learn from your past, but my situation was one that just leaves me feeling overwhelmed all over again. Let it go and breathe in this new opportunity. You have a fresh start and there is nothing more glorious than getting to begin again. Constantly remind yourself to embrace it.

3. Don’t try to look too far into the future.

Now, I don’t mean to act impulsively and have no reserve for consequences or how your actions will affect your ability to get a job in ten years. But, don’t stress and think if you mess up one homework assignment you won’t get into medical school (I’ve totally done this three different times). You can’t enjoy the free week ahead of you if you’re worried about that jammed packed one coming up in March. Boil it down to a system of focusing on what is going on now and what you have to do next. This semester is a long haul, with tons of class time and not a lot of holidays or breaks. It’s going to be easy to get bogged down and stressed out over future events. Just be conscious of where your mind is and don’t miss what is right in front of you.

4. Manage your yes’s and your no’s.

This is such a hard concept for me to grasp and it is something that I vowed to work on in this next year and semester. Learn to say no. If you really don’t have time to babysit for that new family- turn the job down. If you have a test tomorrow and can’t watch four hours of Netflix with your BFF- say no. If taking on a leadership role in one of your clubs doesn’t work at the moment- don’t volunteer. Learn to responsibly and respectfully turn things down. On the other end of that spectrum, be a yes person as well. If your friends are going out on a Friday and you don’t want to go because you’re tired- do it anyway. If your girls are going shopping- get you some retail therapy sista.

This one is so important, go on the freaking lunch date. I don’t care if it’s the cute boy from history, a classmate or a sorority sister go on the lunch date. It doesn’t hurt and it’s not like losing that one hour will kill you. All of this is extremely hard for me, especially the lunch date situation if you couldn’t tell. I am way better at not doing than I am at stepping out of my routine. I find myself saying yes to my no’s and no to my yes’s and I have learned that it leaves my constantly unhappy. I’m always wishing I was doing something other than what I’m doing now. Don’t be that way, because it isn’t fun. Time is one of the most precious jewels we have, so work this semester to make sure you are doing what truly makes your heart happy and benefits you the most.

5. Be kind.

I have learned that the days I smile the most are the ones where I am offering that smile to others. Positivity breeds positivity. Work this semester to broaden your friend group and your connection pool. Learn the names of those sitting beside you in class and try to actively listen to their small talk. Smile at people on the concourse, and be kind to the cashiers on campus. Just spread your love and brightness, because to spread it you have to be it. You’ll be constantly reminding yourself to be happy.

6. Lastly, be inspired.

About an hour after the phone call I got on Sunday I came to my senses and thought “holy crap I have to publish an article in a week”, and I instantly started racking my brain for ideas. All week when my friends and family would ask how the writing was going I would reply with, “I’m waiting to be inspired” and I meant it. I was constantly searching for inspiration; for a moment, that was worthy of writing about.

And, let me tell you I had so many of those moments that I had to start a new journal just to document them all. I realized, though, is that there is a strong possibility that I didn’t have any more ‘lightbulb moments’ this week than on any other typical week, but this time, I was searching for it. So look for things to inspire and encourage that thoughtful side of yourself. As cheesy as it sounds, appreciate that sunrise or that Starbucks coffee. Let everything you experience actually be an experience. It makes a world of a difference.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Cancel Culture Is Toxic And Ugly

Stop deciding for me who I can and cannot like.

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I was really hoping that canceled culture died in 2018, but unfortunately here we are in 2019 still "canceling" whoever we personally deem "problematic." Whether it's tweeting from six years ago or falsely made allegations, waves of people will grab on to anything they can to bring down whatever celebrity or influencer seems to be doing well at the moment.

Of course, it is important to bring light to horrible things such as racism, misogyny, domestic abuse, etc., but remember these horrible things are still happening TODAY. We need to focus our energy on combating the horrible things people are currently doing and saying; it is truly such a waste of time to bring up the problematic words and actions that someone in the limelight did almost a decade ago.

Let me be clear, there is no one person I am trying to defend here. I honestly don't care much to personally defend anyone who is being canceled by angry twitter-users who found something just bad enough to hold against them for eternity. I truly just find the idea of it annoying and ugly.

The idea that any person is a completely static, flat character is so inconceivable and unlikely that I truly have a hard time understanding why we cannot accept an apology from a matured person.

If we have no evidence that a person has made any recent damaging remarks, then how can we prove they haven't changed since they tweeted something wrong in 2013?

Of course, there are people who have recently or continuously proven they are indecent people who are not deserving of any sort of public exposure, but if they are truly so horrible, people will drop them without you having to tell them to do so. You don't have to condemn those who still remain loyal; they are probably not the kind of people you need to waste your time on anyway.

If the people canceling others were constantly watched like the people they have damned, I am absolutely sure there is something we could find from their past to cancel them as well.

Sometimes it is hard to remember that famous people are still human beings just like us. Anyone is prone to make mistakes, and those mistakes can absolutely be rectified over time.

Nowadays, people love jumping on the bandwagon of finding a new person to hate and don't even stop to think about the damage it could do to that person's life and reputation.

Give people a chance to prove that they are decent human beings before deciding whether "we" as a whole should love or hate them based on such a small amount of evidence.

I am not saying you have to love every celebrity. If you don't like what someone has said or done you absolutely do not have to give them your attention or devotion, but you should not tell me whether I can like them or not.

In 2019 we should put an end to canceled culture, and, instead, learn to take people at their word and accept their apologies for their past wrongdoings.

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