The Dos & Don'ts Of Your First Few Weeks at College

The Dos & Don'ts Of Your First Few Weeks at College

A 101 to the freshman year experience.

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Going into freshman year, everyone wants to chip in with words of wisdom from their own college days. No matter what anyone says, it is nearly impossible to do every single thing you are told. Here are the most important things to remember if you are about to begin your college journey.

1. DO try to get involved

Getting involved is the best way to get a sense of community at college, especially at a large school. There are so many different organizations and clubs scouting new members, and there really is something out there for everyone. Joining a club can not only introduce you to new people who have similar interests, but it can also make you passionate about something you had no idea you even had interest in.

2. DON'T feel discouraged if you don't get into a certain club or organization

It can be really devastating falling in love with the idea of being a part of something and then getting an email that your application was not selected. College is different from high school in the sense that there are so many more people applying for the same positions as you. The applicant pool is so much larger and it takes a lot to stand out. The good news is that there is so much out there and not everything requires a harsh application process! Find something you love and always remember you can try again next year if it doesn't work out.

3. DO look at professors' ratings before enrolling in a class

Every college has some sort of online rating system where you can look at what former students thought of their professors. Some will even tell you the percentage of As, Bs, Cs (and so on) the professor gave out that semester/quarter. This can be extremely helpful when deciding what classes to take or which professors to sign up with.

4. DON'T let a professor's rating completely change your mind

If you are really excited about taking a class, do not let a bad professor rating steer you away. The review could have just come from uninterested students. It is important to consider how passionate you would be about the material and not solely rely on what previous students thought. The same goes for signing up for a class that seems dreadfully boring just because the professor had great ratings. If you know you are not going to be interested in the material, do not enroll simply because that professor is known for being an easy grader. A lot of the time it's better to push yourself in learning about something you are passionate about and would be useful in your future.

5. DO allow yourself to experience the social aspects of college life

One of the first things you'll notice when you start college is how many opportunities to party there are. There is nothing wrong with going out and having a good time once in a while; in fact, it is a HUGE part of the college experience! Going out can even serve as a motivator to work hard during the week.

6. DON'T get too caught up in the social scene

In the beginning, it is almost overwhelming how much is going on nearly every night. It's so hard to say no when all your friends are going out and inviting you to come because let's be honest, FOMO is real. However, there will be times when you are really not feeling it. It's okay to stay in! You'll come to appreciate a night when you're roommates are going out and you get the room to yourself.

7. DO make sure to find friends in all your classes

In lectures of over 400 people, it can be really hard to scout familiar faces. Introduce yourself to new people and find friends that you can study with (or sign you in when you want to ditch class). Chances are, they don't know anyone in the class either and would be happy to sit with you and trade numbers. And you never know, you might end up becoming close friends!

8. DON'T let yourself sacrifice academics for social life

Although it is great to study and do work with friends, it is important to stay on track and make sure study time is limited to just that. With so much going on, it's so easy to go on tangents and turn "5 minute study breaks" into completely off-topic conversations that result in skipping studying and going to dinner. Finding a balance is one of the most crucial things to learn in college. Remember that school is what you are actually in college for, so keep that as the main priority.

9. DO take classes you are interested in

There are so many classes offered in college that picking just a few can often seem overwhelming (actually being excited about class? SHOCKER, I know, but it happens). Try to let the variety of options help you find what you are most interested in. If something sounds cool, take it. You will either end up loving it and will want to continue studying the subject or realizing it isn't for you and never stepping foot in a similar class again.

10. DON'T feel stressed about not knowing what you want to major in or what you want to do with your life

The average public university has over 40,000 students attending at a time. There is NO way that every single person has their entire life figured out. It is completely okay to not know what you want to do with your life when you start college. Part of the experience involves finding your interests, changing your mind (1,000 times), and trying new things. It is sometimes overwhelming to see everyone being so successful when you don't even know what classes you want to take next semester/quarter. Don't let this get to you! Half the people who seem like their whole life is figured out don't actually know what they're doing, anyway.

11. DO try to be independent

One of the main changes that college brings is the sense of independence. Living away from your parents really does allow you spread your wings and take care of your own self. Take advantage of this and learn to do things for yourself! Don't rely on other people to help you -- know due dates for yourself and don't be afraid to reach out to your professor on your own. With that, be independent in terms of doing things on your own. It can feel like the worst thing to walk into a dining hall alone, but it is totally NORMAL! The same goes for running errands and just hanging out in your room.

12. DON'T be afraid to ask others for help

Although it is good to be able to take care of yourself, never be afraid to ask others for help. If you are really struggling, there are so many organizations and people that are on campus specifically to help you. If you don't want to be alone, ask a neighbor to hang out. It is likely that they feel the same way as you. It is not at all weird to make plans with people you just met. Everyone is on the same boat!

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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