9 Things I Learned In College, But Not In Classes

9 Things I Learned In College, But Not In Classes

Your education is expensive, but not as valuable as the lessons that you learn between classes.

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As I creep closer and closer to graduation, I've started looking back at my college career with a wider lens. While there are a decent amount of things I would rather not relive, I don't regret those moments. However, I did learn a lot just from making friends, experiencing things by myself, and going out a weekend or two.

1. It's OK to procrastinate on that paper

Sometimes, things happen and our schedules get the best of us. I can't tell you how many times I have procrastinated on a paper until the genuine last minute. While that isn't necessarily a good habit to follow, it's never too frequent. As long as you get it done and don't half-ass your work entirely, you did your job better than you think. Also, sometimes people work better under pressure. I can definitely say that when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, I tend to perform better on assignments.

Just know that it's OK to procrastinate, but don't make it an every week kind of thing. That's when you'll start to feel like you're drowning.

2. You can't always make solid plans 

Everyone has their own schedule. The more things you're involved with, the harder it gets to find the time to share with the people around you. Whether it be extra-curriculars or too much homework, sometimes plans fall through. I'm not saying that you shouldn't make plans, but you should learn to adjust accordingly. Flexibility is necessary in social life, as well as work life, too.

3. Don't drink heavily in the middle of the week

While midterms really took a toll on most of us, I can definitely say that you shouldn't spend your time booze-cruising your way through your assignments. I know it's... Really hard. There is a way to balance everything, but alcohol is never the answer. It's the reward you get when your work is all done and over with. Don't ever forget that.

4. Put someone in their place, if you have to

You can't get along with everyone. Not everyone is going to like you and you're not going to enjoy everyone you encounter. However, that doesn't give you the right to be unnecessarily petty and mean when things get heated. Sure, you can put someone in their place if need be, but use those moments wisely. Unless the situation calls for pointing fingers, it's better to stay out of arguments. Silence says a lot, too.

6. Make mistakes and take notes

This is real deep-boi hours talk, but it has to be said. The biggest part of life is making mistakes and learning from them to better yourself. This also means blatantly owning up to mistakes when you're wrong or when you've taken things too far. Being able to apologize and mean it can mend fences or get that pressure off your chest. Whether or not it fixes things, know that you took the time to let someone know that you care about your mistakes and how that person feels. You are trying to make things better. It's up to them to forgive you, but at least you tried.

6. Put down your cell phone

Sure, I say this a lot, but take a break!

Social media and cell phones have become things that help you get through your day. But if you think about it, you're missing out on a lot of things. Generations before you didn't have cell phones and got along just fine. Maybe you should turn off the screen, avoid your messages, and take a walk every once in a while. You'll be surprised at what you'll find in the non-digital world around you.

7. Change up your routine

This kind of goes with putting down your cell phone. Getting stuck in too strict of a routine can really take a toll on a person's overall happiness. Things can get monotonous. You start to wonder what you're really doing with your life and forgetting how to truly live it. Add a spontaneous adventure here and there. Treat yourself when you need the TLC. Don't be afraid to step out of the rut.

8. Go out, drink, and have a good time... Within reason

(Sorry, I was looking for an excuse to use a GIF of Brett from "Big Brother". He's very dreamy.)

Don't be fearful of the crowds or how people behave once alcohol takes over. It can seem kind of scary from a distance but, in the spirit of experiencing new things, you should take the time to go out and see what the social scene is like near you. While there is always the fear of danger–as there are a lot of dangerous people out there (especially these days)–don't let that stop you from fulfilling your dreams of going to a bar or club and returning unscathed. There are a lot of police officers and bouncers around to help you in case you get into a jam. Just be careful and know your limits.

9. Open your heart

While this is the hardest lesson for me to learn, it is definitely the lesson with the most benefits. As an example, I still can't tell anyone how I feel about them, but I am trying to be better at that. And just because I am terrible with opening up doesn't mean that you should be. Everyone has their character flaws, but developing your openness should be a constant work in progress. I'm not saying to unload all of your laundry on strangers, but definitely try to feel more comfortable telling people how you're really feeling instead of just saying "I'm fine" or refusing to admit to something that's been on your chest for weeks. Open your heart. You'll be surprised at how much lighter it'll feel.

While some of these things are hard to accomplish, everyone has their strong suits and their weak points. It's all about constantly learning and bettering yourself as the years go by. These are just a few of the things that I've learned. I'm definitely not done learning, either.

long story short, just be a little more fearless. Don't be so cautious or you'll live your life with regrets that you can never change.

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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A Little Glimpse Into What It's Like To Grieve In Your 20s

Debunking the stigma behind grief in the everyday young adult

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A few days before last semester my little brother, Ethan, took his life. After years of him struggling to find his place in the world, he put his troubles and sorrows to rest. I had just moved into my sorority house to begin my Junior year, and a few days later I awakened late at night with several missed calls and messages. My dad texted me saying, "Ethan passed away Blair, dad is so sorry." When I first read the text, I had to keep reminding myself that it was real. Shortly after receiving that, my parents and family friends came to bring me home from school.

The next few days were filled with a roller coaster of emotions. I was reuniting with old friends and community members for days on end while we were all trying to understand the immense pain that my brother had felt. Soon, I went back to school because I knew that even in times of tragedy, life goes on. Above all else, I knew it's what my brother would have wanted. Being back at school is/was interesting. I felt like I was being judged by everyone for returning to school so early. I was in no way ready to discuss my family's recent tragedy, and I am still not ready to discuss it, yet people insist on asking for information regarding my brother's death. Despite this, the people around me continuously promised to support me when I was feeling sad or hopeless. The weeks after Ethan's death had me in a complete fog, making it hard to focus even to this day.

Fortunately, not many people have to deal with the death of a sibling at such a young age. Subsequently, many are not sure how to handle such a thing. I am often at a loss for words for what this experience feels like. Often times I feel bad that people don't know how to respond to me. Grief is something I would never wish upon someone.

Even on the days I feel alone, I know that there are people here to support me.

It means the world to me when people reach out and ask how I am doing, or to meet up with me for something as simple as ice cream. I appreciate this more than one knows.

On top of dealing with my brother's death I was dealing with rejection from a boy for the first time. Rejection of any kind is difficult, and is something everyone experiences in their life. Although I have felt rejection in many forms, especially being an aspiring actress, this was the first from a potential suiter. The loss of any friendship has been so hard after losing my brother. It has been hard to process other aspects of my life, and especially the crazy life of dating and being a 20-year-old in college. Moving on, and separating my grief from that rejection has been no easy feat.

As my semester was coming to a close, I ran into the boy I was interested in at a holiday party. This time of year had proven to be hard for me when I thought of the happy times spent with my brother during the holidays. That night was the first time I was unable to compose myself and put my best face forward being the actress I am. I couldn't hide my emotions anymore and I was overcome with grief. I had hit rock bottom. This journey has consisted of immeasurable self-doubt and soul searching.

Soon after the holiday party, I was told by someone who has been an authoritative figure to me, that "I was grieving weirdly" and that I "should go home for the rest of semester and take an incomplete". There were only two weeks left of the semester and my grades were great. I was so deeply offended by this notion, and that they had the audacity to judge the way I was grieving. I have been trying my best, and that is all that I can do. Despite this toxic conversation, I finished out the semester strong and took my well-deserved three-week break. My break was filled with much needed respite, creative inspiration, and time to collect my thoughts.

Coming back to school, I had an open conversation with my community on the reasonable steps they could take to support me in my journey for the rest of the school year. All someone that is grieving asks, is for you to sympathize with them. Thankfully, it was received well and I look forward to my upcoming semester.

There is often a stigma behind people who are actively grieving. Yes, I am going through a lot, yes, I am sad. But that doesn't mean I am incapable of loving life and experiencing things going on around me at school or in my life. This especially includes dating. I have learned that it is okay to embrace my feelings and express them in whatever way I deem fit. Grieving the loss of my brother has also made me stronger than ever. I can handle anything and I am ready to make my impact on the world.

Everyone experiences pain, struggle, grief, etc. What matters most, is how they come out of it. I want to continue the message of kindness. I am so grateful for my newfound bravery and at the end of the day, I will always miss my brother's unique perspective and outstanding sense of humor. If he were here today, first he'd probably roast me and then I know he would only want the best for me. In the end I plan to live my happiest life.

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