The Valuable Lessons I Have Learned as a Second Semester Freshman

The Valuable Lessons I Have Learned as a Second Semester Freshman

How a change in perspective can make a significant difference in your college career.
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After enjoying over a month of relaxation and minor responsibilities, I was unsure how I felt about heading back to West Chester to start my second semester. I had conflicting emotions— on one hand, I was extremely excited to venture back to the beautiful campus and rekindle with all of my new friends. But on the other hand, it still did not come easy packing up for the second time and saying goodbye to my home again.

I felt anxious about the start of new classes, the sight of unfamiliar faces, and all of the school work I would be challenged with while taking three more credits than I took the first semester. But luckily, all of my worries quickly subsided and the second semester has been a breeze! I am thrilled to be back and I am constantly eager to learn new things and endure new experiences. I have to say this semester has already trumped my first semester as it has been easier for me in a multitude of ways and has also taught me numerous valuable lessons.

First and foremost, being completely familiarized with both the campus and the town makes a significant difference. When I began school in August on unfamiliar grounds, it was utterly nerve-wracking. But now, after returning from winter break, it has come as a relief to know exactly where everything is.

I already know where to get the best food, where to hang out with my friends, and where the perfect places are to study. There is no more need to adjust and for that reason, I am already enjoying my time here this semester, more than the last. Being familiarized with the campus and the beautiful town of West Chester has made me even more grateful to be a student here.

Secondly, I feel notably more social this semester. I find myself branching out and putting forth more of an effort to make new friends. Talking to new people is coming more naturally and I am truly thankful for all of the people I have had the opportunity to meet thus far. This semester has been a great mix of meeting new people but also spending time with the friends I had made at the beginning of the school year. I am excited to meet even more people as the rest of the semester carries on. Always having someone to hangout out with not only makes the time here go by faster but also makes it much more enjoyable.

Next, college courses can be a huge stress to students and while I have had a heavier workload of assignments, I have also improved my time management. This has cut down on the time I spend studying and given me more free time. Last semester I would put forth tireless hours writing and rewriting my bio notes, but so far none of my other classes have required the same level of preparation for exams. This has alleviated stress and allowed me to focus on getting more out of my experience at West Chester, beyond the academics.

Lastly, with this newfound free time I have experienced, I have been more willing and able to get involved. All throughout my life, I have struggled to find my place through extracurriculars, and I have always found it challenging to find things I am truly passionate about. But this semester, I have been making a serious effort to turn that around.

Since I have had much more free time on my hands, I have become a member of the psychology club and now, a creator for the Odyssey. I plan on exploring other interests as well, in order to find my place here at West Chester University. This determination alone, has already made my second semester even better than expected.

So far, my second semester has taught me a plethora of valuable lessons. Most importantly, I have learned to step out of my comfort zone and successfully budget my time. This semester has already exceeded the last and I can't wait to see what the rest of the school year has in store for me.

Cover Image Credit: Patrik Gothe

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Things I Miss Now That I'm Home From College Again

There are so many reasons to be glad that the school year is over, but if you've done it right... there are a lot of reasons to miss it too.

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So, school is over now and I've come home. As expected I was so relieved at first. No more showering with flip-flops, no more listening to screaming girls running up and down the hall, and a space that is mine and mine alone. But after a week or so of being back, there are a few things I've already started to miss.

I know that not every single person has the ideal roommate but I got really lucky with mine. Coming home I was excited to have my own space, but now when I'm doing my midnight scrolling, I'm realizing that I miss being able to talk to her about the funny things I see in that very moment. Tagging, DMing, and texting her doesn't feel the same as a long night of giggles spent together.

Also, while seeing old friends when you get home is amazing, and there is always a lot to catch up on, you do start to miss your other friends too. Being in college means that your friends are going through similar things as you are all the time. You have tests together, clubs together, and sometimes you spend way too much time procrastinating together. The bond you begin to form is one you definitely begin to miss - especially when you guys don't live close off of campus.

Coming home also means you don't have a set schedule or at least not immediately. You may come back to a previous job and that puts something on your calendar, but the free time you still have during the week can be a little too much. I know I've spent way too much time obsessing over the Tati/James drama than I ever would have at school. The routine I had at school kept me busy and entertained, and I'm honestly missing it a lot right now.

There are a lot of other things to miss too - even things you thought you wouldn't. You miss the classes, the teachers, and sometimes the food. I know I miss the environment. It isn't a perfect one, but it's full of people just trying to find their way. We are all working through the roller coaster of life and we are all stuck on one beautiful campus together while we figure it all out. I miss meeting new people at the bus stops or running into old classmates and catching up.

I guess the bonus for me is that I just finished sophomore year which means I have more time to spend at school. Come senior year, I guess I'll have to learn quickly how to deal without the things I miss - and also create a schedule so I can travel to see all of my friends, but those are all problems for future me.

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