5 Lessons I've Learned in my First Year of College

5 Lessons I've Learned in my First Year of College

It's been nearly 8 long months of growth and newfound understanding

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Moving away from home for the first time is almost as intimidating as it sounds, especially for a home-body like me. But there's so much excitement on move-in day, that the thrill of starting a new chapter in your life overthrows all of the negative nerves.

Here are 5 tips I have for all of the upcoming first year university students:

1. Schoolwork comes first

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Almost everyone enters freshmen year with the desire to party, make friends, and have fun... but classes tend to get in the way. As they should.

I wasn't into the whole party scene, but I've witnessed the negative affects that kind of lifestyle has had on my peers and their motivation to excel in their courses.

So don't neglect your classes, I repeat: Don't neglect your classes!

You may have the urge to skip class or procrastinate on homework, but if you stay on top of your schoolwork you'll be grateful by the end of the semester.

2. It may take time to make friends

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When I started college, I expected to make a ton of friends during my first month of classes. Friends I'd see everyday, friends I thought would be inseparable. But I was sadly mistaken.

It took a few months for me to make actual genuine friendships. At first I felt devastated and lonely, and I really questioned whether moving away for college was the right decision.

But all of my worrying was for nothing, because I went into my second semester with more friends than I would have ever imagined. They were definitely worth the wait, so if you ever feel the same just be patient.

3. Get involved

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Whether you're interested in joining a club, playing intramural sports, or attending an on campus ministry, just do it!

I think that on campus involvement is a must when it comes to having a fulfilling college experience. Becoming a part of a group with other like minded individuals is also great way to create friendships and life-long connections.

As important as schoolwork is, having people to study with or maybe just to blow off steam, can be extremely beneficial.

4. Don't be afraid of public speaking

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Public speaking will be a large part of your college experience, there's no cheating your way out of it. Whether you have to give a presentation in class or ask an important question, don't be afraid. No one is going to judge you, we're all in the same boat.

Everyone gets nervous, and no one has a love for public speaking... don't sweat it.

5. The gym is your friend

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Freshmen year can get super busy, but don't let that be an excuse to neglect your wellness. Make the effort to eat healthy food, and go to the gym.

Part of your tuition covers gym costs, so get you're moneys worth!

Keep up with your mental health, as well as your physical health, and get familiar with the resources available to you on your campus.

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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5 Reasons Teachers Deserve Better Salaries

The national average salary for teachers is $38,000.

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Let's not beat around the bush: teachers do way too much and get paid way too little. As a future educator, I have spent a lot of time observing my former teachers, and I can tell you that they do way more than just what students experience in the classroom. Yes, some teachers can be tough graders and yes, teachers receive longer breaks. But, that does not justify the unreasonably low wages they receive. What exactly do teachers do? Well...

1. They literally create ALL other jobs

No job can exist without a teacher giving you the foundation of it. Elementary school teachers are responsible for encouraging students to have hopes and dreams, therefore allowing them to open up their minds to any type of future. Middle school teachers lay down the foundation of each type of subject, teaching students about different fields, and encouraging them to pursue knowledge. High school teachers help students to increase their knowledge in multiple fields and guide them to a course of specialization in high school

2. They are much more than just teachers to students

Especially in high school, teachers are more than just teachers — they are mentors, confidantes, coaches, and friends. Students spend a large chunk of their lives in school, so it's no surprise that they rely on teachers for moral and emotional guidance. Students tend to turn to teachers for life advice, especially in terms of future planning. So why, again, are we paying them so little?

3. Many teachers work two or more jobs to stay afloat

Depending on what area of the country you are in, your teacher might be making just above the poverty line as their salary. This is evidently not enough to support oneself with rent, groceries, and amenities — let alone support a family. Many teachers are also tutors, side business owners, or even bartenders. They work long hours, both in school and out of it, and deserve better rights.

4. When they are not teaching, they are grading, planning, coaching, and more

Before and after school, teachers are often coaches or sponsors for extracurricular activities, which means that they are in the school building for sometimes up to 10 hours a day. On top of that, they grade work, lesson plan, and have to take care of their homes and families. (Especially women, but that's a topic for another day.)

5. They create a home away from home

If you've ever walked into a classroom, you know that it isn't blank. There are motivational posters up, students' work displayed, and other things to make students feel more comfortable. Teachers are creating safe spaces for children whose home lives aren't the best so that they at least have one place they feel welcomed.


So the next time you encounter your teachers, thank them. They did a lot more for you than you may realize, and they truly do care about your success. Give them a handshake, a hug, or (if I'm your teacher in the future) a $5 Starbucks gift card never killed nobody. But, in all seriousness, advocate for your teachers. Although they knew what profession they were choosing, it is always nice to know that someone has your back. After all, they have yours!

If you're interested in learning more, visit http://teachersalaryproject.org/resource-center.

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