Things I Would Have Done Differently My Freshman Year

Things I Would Have Done Differently My Freshman Year

"If I could do it again..."

As my first summer in college is coming to an end, it's finally hitting me that I've been in college for a year. It's almost that time to stock up on pencils, binders, countless note cards, Red Bull and more coffee than usual. Looking back, there's not much that I necessarily regret, but I would do a few things differently.

1. Go to class.

Trust me on this. You've heard teachers say, "80 percent of the class is just being there." They're right. my grades dropped significantly my second semester because of this. I went to class every day unless I absolutely could not get out of bed first semester and had straight As and one B that still haunts me to this day. Second semester rolled around, and I thought I had everything figured out. I could just get on canvas, copy the PowerPoints and make it. Wrong. I ended up with Cs across the board. And sure, Cs get degrees, but it hurts going from As to Cs.

2. Go to the library more.

More than just for finals week. Take advantage of the study rooms. Take advantage of the quiet. Just take advantage of the library.

3. Be more organized.

Pictures of other people being organized makes me want to get my shit together. Use a planner. Color code notes. Write down everything. Make sure your desk is neat and you have a spot for everything, because there is nothing worse than hitting snooze until 10 minutes before your class starts and then not being able to find that research paper you printed off the night before just so you could sleep in.

4. Don't procrastinate.

I'm so guilty of this. I'm the person who will wait until the very last minute to get an assignment turned in because I was on Pinterest looking up studying hacks. Ironic, I know. But seriously. Start an assignment the day it gets assigned. Makes notes in your planner, calendar or reminders on your phone a week in advance so the due date doesn't sneak up on you.

5. Get a random roommate.

I loved having someone I grew up with as a roommate because it made the transition a bit easier, but having a random roommate assigned to you is the easiest way to make your first friend in college. And if you and your roommate just do not get along whatsoever, you can always request a room change.

6. Actually stay in your dorm.

I was constantly in my boyfriend's dorm freshman year. It's OK to go visit every now and then, but once you've got your own drawer in his room, it's gone too far. Stay in your dorm. Decorate it the way you want to. Leave your door open for people to come in and say hello. Make your dorm a home away from home.

7. Go out more.

Not necessarily just to parties, but go out and explore your town. Meet new people. Try new foods. Take pictures. Just have fun.

8. Talk to people.

All of the friends I have in college are people I met through my boyfriend — which is totally OK, I love the guys. But I don't care how many times you say "I'm one of the guys," you're going to need your girls. People are typically genuinely nice people. Start up a conversation. Chances are they were too shy to say anything first.

9. Go to sporting events.

I went to every home football game that I could go to if I wasn't at work, and they are amazing. However, I didn't go to any basketball, volleyball, baseball or even softball games — and softball is my favorite sport. (Not to mention UNA won the national championship!) Students get into all of the home games for free. Why would you not take advantage of that?

10. Have more school spirit.

I don't care what you read on Pinterest. Have. School. Spirit. Wear your school colors, paint your face on game day, show off those letters, buy anything with your school logo on it, be proud of your school. Roar Lions.

11. Take advantage of free stuff.

There will be a lot going on throughout the semester, especially if you go to UNA. Lots of activities means lots of free T-shirts, free food, free blankets, free cars (seriously, we give away a free car), free everything. Go to everything.

12. Watch out for the freshman 15.

It's real, and it will hit you like a truck. So, stay away from fast food as much as possible. Yes, even Taco Bell — even though it's the best thing ever. Go to the gym on campus which again, is free. Walk to class. Go hiking. Do whatever you like to do to stay active becuase your metabolism drops. Fast.

13. Take it all in.

I didn't believe people when they said time would fly by, but here I am writing this, telling you the same thing. I swear, I just moved to Florence yesterday, and now the new freshmen are piling in. So sit back and enjoy the ride.

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Success Is Great, But Failure Is Better

Fail and fail often.

Don’t let success get to your head, but don’t let failure get to your heart. Know that things don’t always work out as planned, and that is OK!

For many millennials, it’s easiest to just give up when something doesn’t go your way. But take heart. Success is great, but failure is better. The reality is, you’re going to fail... a lot.

Failure does not mean your idea was not good or that your dream isn’t valid.

Failure means you have more to learn.

Failure is GOOD.

It shows you that you did something wrong and that you need to take a redirection. It’s an opportunity to come back stronger with a better attack plan. It’s a second chance.

Having failed many times in my life, there’s one thing for sure: failing sucks. It sucks being disappointed. It sucks not succeeding on the first try. However, you can learn to become a good failure.

Failing is inevitable, which is why it is important to learn from our mistakes. You’ll learn more from a single failure than a lifetime of success. Here’s what you can do when you mess up: accept what you can’t change, keep an open mind, maintain a positive attitude, and know that nothing will be perfect.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I was on an engineering team at my school. I was extremely confident in our abilities as a team, so when we didn’t advance to the world finals, I was devastated. The next year, however, my team placed second at the national competition, and we advanced to the world finals. If I had allowed that initial failure to consume me, I wouldn’t have been successful the next year.

It was not easy to advance to the world finals, but because I took my previous failure as a learning opportunity, my team succeeded. I knew I couldn’t change the past, so I didn’t focus on it. I kept an open mind about the competition and did not allow my bitterness to harden me, thus maintaining a positive attitude. My team wasn’t perfect, and I knew that. But I knew if we worked hard, we would succeed. We did.

Every failure is feedback on how to improve. Nothing works unless you do, and nothing works exactly the way you want it to. Failure is life’s greatest teacher; it’s nothing to be scared of. If we are so focused on not failing, we will never succeed.

So fail, and fail often.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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7 Things English Majors Go Through

Yes, I'm an English major. No, I'm not throwing away my education.

I love being an English major.

And no -- I'm not lying.

While I do advocate for womxn in tech and the rise of STEM majors, my heart belongs to the humanities and more importantly: English Literature.

Here are some of the things as an English Major that I have experienced:

1. So... Do you wanna be a teacher?

As an English Major, my sole purpose of getting my degree is not to just become a teacher. I also want to be a writer. Get it right. I also want to be a teacher, though, so...

2. Writer's Block

Writer's block = hell unleashed. My brain is my most valued. My heart, too, but my brain is what helps me actually write my essays and poems. When my brain isn't working, I'm not working, and with those two not working -- I'm not getting anything done.

3. Having Friends Ask You To Edit Their Papers

My mood 24/7 when people ask me to edit their papers. I'm working on my own, leave me alone. Seriously though, I know I'm an English major, but there's a reason why office hours were created -- but if you REALLY need my editing/revising, pay up.

4. Reading "Whatever" Literature

There are some great works that I love reading (Frankenstein, Great Expectations, Dr. J & Mr. H, etc). But if I'm forced to read another book that EVERYONE has "read" and ends with the classic patriarchal ending -- I'd rather not. Give me some more Mary Shelley, please.

5. Reading AMAZING Literature

OK BUT WHEN THE CLASS READS SOMETHING LIKE MRS. DALLOWAY -- I AM SO HAPPY (I love you, V.W). But, honestly, I love most literature (especially classics). It's only with very few works that I'm upset with reading. (50 Shades of Grey? Blegh.)

6. Getting Trash-Talked About Your Major

OkAy, SuSaN, I get that you're happy with being in the business school, but frankly I don't care, so don't worry about me or my major. We, English majors, get trash-talked about our majors. Back in the day, our major was considered noble and great -- and now it's considered as "throwing away our education".

7. Knowing that We Chose the Right Major

In my experience in college so far, I've met very few -- actually no one who has changed their major from English Lit/CRTWRT. (Disclaimer: I'm sure there are some?) But those of us who stayed with this major know that we chose the right path for ourselves. While our friends in STEM, Business, etc. are "having fun" with their path, we get to read our favorite works, write, and appreciate the arts. So... who's the real winner? ;)

Cover Image Credit: Study Breaks

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