15 Things I Learned AFTER My First Year At Rutgers University

15 Things I Learned AFTER My First Year At Rutgers University

7. You might actually become friends with people in your classes.
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It's hard to believe that I'm already a quarter of the way done with college! Time flies and it's safe to say I've learned a lot in and out of the classroom in my first year alone. Here are a few lessons that stuck out to me the most.

1. Get involved in the things you actually like

I get it, college is the big times and everyone is trying to build resumes. Do yourself (and the on-campus organizations) a favor, and get involved in things that you are actually interested in. Sure, some things that you don't like may look great on your resume but at the end of the day, if you can't pull experiences from there it means nothing. No matter what is it, professional or not, odds are you will gain some type of valuable experience to make you look good later. Have FUN! Investing your time in something you are passionate about will be much more useful than subjecting yourself to what you think will help get you ahead. If you're spending time doing it, make sure you like it, or else it becomes a chore.

2. Not having AP credits didn't affect me

In high school, I took 5 AP exams and graduated with a total of 0 college credits as a result. I thought this meant that I would be behind everyone else once I got to college, and it really didn't. Sure, I wasn't excused from Rutgers dreaded Expository Writing class, but I can honestly say that this class helped me grow and make new friends, something I would have missed out on had I APed out.

3. Finding my roommate first was a great decision

This is a super rare occurrence, which makes me even more grateful. We connected on Facebook months prior to move in day and met in person before deciding to room together. I couldn't be more happy about it. My roommate, a fellow Odyssey writer, is my best friend, rock, and everything in between. The times we've spent stressing, venting, and having fun together are priceless to me. Living with her made me feel as if I gained another sister. I am so fortunate to have had her in my life this year, and can't wait to continue to grow together at Rutgers and beyond.

4. Don't wait for people. Get on with your life

Sometimes, you have to stop being afraid of being alone and put yourself out there. This might mean taking a class in a subject that interests you without anyone you know or attending a club meeting by yourself. The point is, you could miss out on a lot of exciting opportunities if you rely on always having someone by your side. Everyone has different interests and agendas, which is OK. Doing things on your own could open the door to new friendships and experiences.

5. Being single is fantastic

There is a lot of hype around relationships, but what is better than living life for yourself? The feeling of not having to answer to anyone is great. It sounds selfish, but the only person you have to make decisions for is you. There is less stress and more time to focus on your own life. Plus, who wants to be up late FaceTiming your boyfriend when you can get an extra two hours of sleep?

6. Don't take Friday classes

A lot of people will disagree with me on this. I was fortunate enough to not take Friday classes either semester this year, which was fantastic! Fridays were MY day go to go the gym, do laundry, sleep in, and even get a head start on weekend homework. This is something you can't appreciate until you experience a 4 day class week for yourself. Once you start having Fridays off, you'll never look back.

7. You might actually become friends with people in your classes

I had no intention of ever befriending anyone in any of my classes, especially the 400 person lectures or 9 am math class. However, after exchanging a few phone numbers and forming some study groups, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people from class I became friends with. It never hurts to have an extra study buddy. Besides, having friends in your class might make them more enjoyable, or give you a reason to go to class for that matter.

8. Staying friends with people from high school is very possible

I'm proud to say that I am still friends with pretty much everyone I hung out with in high school, but it is definitely a group effort. Everyone needs to make an effort to keep the relationship. Social media makes it easier than ever to keep in touch, too! With that said, some old friendships may not last into college, and that's fine too. If anything, remember that it takes nothing to send old friends a text to check in every once in a while.

9. Venmo is your new best friend

No one carries cash on them anymore. NO ONE. If you go out to eat with your friends, buy coffee together, or even split an uber, there's a huge chance that you'll be paying one another back via Venmo. It's super convenient. A lot of on-campus organizations take it! The "I have no cash" excuse is no longer acceptable for not buying a cookie from the bake sale.

10. Always steal food from the dining hall

I know I always get hungry late at night, and sometimes a granola bar doesn't cut it. Personally, I enjoy taking fruit- apples, oranges, and bananas- from the dining hall, but some people get even more creative. Bring Tupperware containers to the dining hall to fill with pasta or whatever other foods will fulfill your late night cravings.

11. It's OK to be homesick

At first, I was completely against going home. To some degree, it is important to get acclimated before visiting home. However, it is equally as important to accept your homesickness and go home if you're feeling down or overwhelmed. If possible, a good night's sleep in your own bed and a homecooked meal can help you get through whatever the rest of the semester has to throw at you.

12. Ask for help

If you're ever in a bind, odds are someone else has been in a similar situation. 9 times out of 10, there is either somewhere on campus you can go to for help or someone who can point you in the right direction. Don't be too proud to reach out for help, everyone is growing in changing in college. Whether you need tutoring, counseling, or any other university service covered under tuition, after the fact, you'll be glad you sought help.

13. You will become friends with the people on your floor

At least, I did. This made my freshman year so special and enjoyable. My fellow floormates became my best friends. In fact, we were kind of like a family. Because of this, there was always someone to go to the dining hall with, walk to class together, or even just hang out after a long day, which made for an easy transition from moving away from home. I made relationships on my floor that I know will last well past our freshman year.

14. Professors aren't out to get you

Before I started college, I was under the impression that professors were all super strict and noncompassionate. I realized fast how wrong I was. Most professors are not at all intimidating and genuinely care about you if you put the effort in. For the most part, they want you to succeed. If you show you care, you can even get to know professors in your 400-person lecture!

15. College goes by fast

As I'm writing this, I cannot believe that I am a quarter of the way done with college! Now I know what everyone meant when they told me that college goes fast. With that being said, I will continue to cherish every moment I have in college, no matter how stressful thing may be, for I will never have this experience again in my life.

Cover Image Credit: Christine DiNapoli

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Let's Talk More About Lori Laughlin Facing Up To 20 Years In Prison When Brock Turner Got 6 Months

And he was released three months early for 'good behavior'... after sexually assaulting an unconscious girl behind a dumpster.

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To start, Lori Laughlin messed up royally, and I don't condone her actions.

If you live under a rock and are unaware of what happened to the "Full House" star, here's the tea:

Lori Laughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli — and like 50 other celebrity parents — were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud, and paid a $1 million bail on conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and honest services fraud. You don't need to know what these mean except that she paid $500,000 to get her two daughters, Bella and Olivia Jade Giannulli.

I know you're wondering why they did it — tbh I am too — however, these parents paid the University of Southern California to give admission to her daughters in through the rowing team on campus, despite neither one of them actually playing the sport ever in their life.

Yeah, Aunt Becky messed up and should face punishment, but why is she facing up 20 years when men like Brock Turner are sentenced only six months for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster at Stanford?

I hate to bring up the gender card, but I'm pulling it: Why is Lori Laughlin — a woman who with bad judgement who used money to give an upper-hand to her entitled daughters — face more prison time than a man who willingly raped a woman who wasn't in a right state of mine (or any at all!) behind a dumpster of all places.

The answer? Because the system is a mess.

Yeah, Aunt Becky paid for her daughters to get into a school, giving disadvantages to students actually deserving and wanting to attend a college. Her act was immoral, and ultimately selfish, but it doesn't even compare to what Brock Turner did, and it doesn't even effect others as much his rape survivor.

The most that will happen to the Giannulli girls is an expulsion and a temporary poor reputation, however, Emily Doe (the alias of the survivor) will feel the consequences of the attack forever.

There should have been a switch:

Lori Laughlin and the Target guy should have had to pay other students tuition/student debt while facing prison time, while Brock Turner should have had to face over 20 years with more consequences.

But, that'll never happen because our system sucks and society is rigged. I guess our society would prefer a rapist walking around more so a woman who made a poor choice by paying for her daughters to go to a college.

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Teaching Is An Amazing Career, It's More Powerful Than We Give It Credit For

Teaching is a career that is heavily overlooked — it is much more powerful than people realize.

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When it comes to teaching, it's not always easy or fun. But, let me ask you this: what career really is easy or fun all the time? Being challenged can beneficial. Otherwise, you are just going through the same routine over and over. Teaching will definitely keep you on your toes because there's always something happening.

People seem to think teachers just lecture on information that they hope their students remember for the test. You know what? Those people are dead wrong. Teaching is more than that. Teaching means having the passion and drive to educate children. Teaching is turning something dull to something that students will find more interesting and enjoyable.

Teaching is also about providing tools and other resources for students in order for them to succeed, especially the ones who tend to struggle in school. Being able to give those tools to help them accomplish their goals is extremely rewarding. A teacher will work with a student who is behind on his/her reading skills to have him/her be right at the level he/she needs to be by the end of the school year. Not many jobs provide a reward quite like guiding a student, if not more, to success.

Although it focuses on academics, teaching is not just about that. Sure, being an effective teacher is key, but there are other aspects that are just as significant. As a teacher, you also have to connect with your students. Knowing your students on a personal level is so important. The connection can build respect that will, in turn, help them to succeed. Plus, students spend more time with you on a day-to-day basis than they do with their parents — isn't that frightening? So, you have to be able to support them and let them know them that you are there for them if they are having trouble.

Additionally, that connection you build with your students can last a lifetime. You can witness the growth of a student right in front of you. In fact, I am still very close with some of my teachers from elementary school. Many of them inspired me to become a teacher. Because of those great bonds I built, I had the opportunity to intern with some of my past teachers, which was a rewarding experience for everyone. Being able to develop such a connection with someone so different in age is something that is so powerful and that doesn't come with many other careers.

Teaching is so amazing. There are so many layers and beautiful aspects to it. Again, it can be difficult, but it's also a lot of fun. Not many people can say they have fun and laugh every day at work. I also truly believe that not many other people can say their careers provide as rewarding of a feeling as teaching does. To be able to make such a difference in someone's life is an incredible thing. Teaching is my passion. I know teaching will not be only gratifying but something that will bring me pure joy.

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