Important Syllabi Advice

One Syllabus Always Says 'You Will Get As Much Out The Class As You Put Into It' And I Believe It

Yes professors provide penalty free absences that are listed in their syllabi. However, a sentence in one of my professors syllabi always makes me rethink using my absences.

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The academic year has finally begun and we are already through the first week of classes at the University of Cincinnati, and that means that syllabus week has already come and gone! Now, there are some people that don't give a shit about syllabus week and never even look at it. Then there are some people, like myself, who somewhat live off of their syllabus and use it as their guide for the class.

To me, the two most important parts of the syllabus are (1) the daily schedule and (2) the attendance policy. Now clearly each professor has a different daily schedule for their class, however, the daily schedules that are embedded in each syllabus are like a Bible to me. Again, I realize that some students don't care about this at all and just throw the syllabus away. However, I have never talked to a student that doesn't take note of a professor's attendance policy regardless of where their syllabus ends up.

College students know that every professor, with the exception of maybe two or three, gives their students a "free pass" or a set number of penalty-free absences for their class. Most students definitely take advantage of their given number of free absences, whether it is a planned skip or a sick day. But I got to say, I do not fall into this category of students and it is not something that often crosses my mind. Over the past two years here at UC, I have calculated that I have missed a total of 5 classes. One class, I missed because I was ill to the point that I had to go to the hospital, two classes I missed due to being in academic meetings. And the last two I admit that I missed because I was mentally exhausted and just needed a break. I know that it might sound crazy, but as a perfectionist, it is in my DNA to become stressed and anxious when I miss class.

Now, I am not saying that using your free absences is a bad thing, it may have only been twice in two years but I have done it before. However, after taking two courses with the same professor, and in the process of a third, there is a bolded sentence in all of her syllabi that always pops into my head when I think about skipping class. She always writes, "you will get as much out of the class as you put into it." And the truth is, she is right. Therefore, I suggest that you ask yourself, "why do I constantly want to skip my classes?"

Not only are you paying to go to school here, but your professors are going to get paid whether you show up to your classes or not and therefore don't give a shit. So, at the end of the semester when you are sitting in your professor's office freaking out and maybe even crying because your grade is in the toilet, that is when they will deliver the bad news without feeling an ounce of remorse for you. And that news will be something crazy like that you need about a 110% on the final exam to bring your grade up to pass the class. It is then that you are going to wish that you didn't skip all of those classes. So I just advise you to keep in mind that you will get as much out of the class as you put into it.

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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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