Why Am I In College Anyway?

Why Am I In College Anyway?

Who really made my life choices for me?
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Get up, get dressed, scarf down a coffee, and walk out the door. This is my daily morning routine... seven days a week, every week. Between working nearly forty hours a week, and attending school as a full-time student, I hardly have time to even think about the things I do... let alone analyze why I do them. Every day is just a mere repeat of the day before. Same agenda, same routine, just a different date on the calendar.

What kind of a life is that? Is that really living at all? Have I just become a robot in what is supposed to be my most lively years? Recently I have been wondering a lot about why I do everything I do. Why do I work so much? Why am I even in college? The answer, for me and I’m sure many others, is because that is what's expected of me.

In my twenty two years, I have realized that society has paved the way toward an average, “good” life and if you dare to be that person who does not follow in this path, to the world, you are going the wrong way. We are all expected to do certain things, and achieve certain degrees. This makes me believe that the choices I make aren’t my choices at all. However, I am also convinced that since I did not bring it upon myself to question if what I am doing is right for me and not just what is “normal” in the eyes of most, I am responsible for the way I am living.

It is burned in so many minds that in order to be successful, you must finish high school, get your degree, buy a house, raise a family, and work until you are physically incapable to do so anymore. Although I don’t feel as if I am living a bad life, I still believe that my way of living would be fairly different if I hadn’t had any voices but my own telling me what is right for me. Between getting caught up in the ‘should do’s’ and ‘need to’s’ in life, I feel like I have skipped over the years where I could be reckless and irresponsible. As a twenty-two -year-old, I should be going out with friends, staying up late, and being crazy and spontaneous. Instead, I am going to sleep around ten o’clock at night, or not sleeping at all to find time for a social life because I have school and work early in the morning and by the time I arrive back home at night, it is time for me to clean and head off to bed-- only to do it all over again when I wake back up in the morning... what a life. I mean, if you were to ask my parents, I am sure they would say that they are proud of me for carrying out all of these responsibilities. So, why do I feel like such a failure sometimes?

As I am sure you could tell by now, I am a person that struggles with time. No matter what, it seems as if there just isn’t enough. There are so many things that I see others getting to do, like adventure around the world or vacation somewhere tropical. There are hobbies that I enjoy, that other people get to carry out like reading or playing music. But for me, I just can hardly find the time. So, I began to question if some of the aspects of my daily routine are wasting my time. While in math class, I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘why in the world am I learning any of this?’ For one, I am an English major. I understand that math is important to know but I also understand that I will never use anything more complicated than the basics. The only time I would ever use any of the math that I have taken time to learn, is in another math class. Great. I mean, even if I needed to use it outside of class, I wouldn’t even know how to apply it. Teachers groan at hearing the question, “when am I ever even going to use this?” Well, maybe instead of just telling students that Y= mx+b, why don’t teachers start explaining how it even pertains to a real life situation. I don’t believe that asking why something matters is a bad question. In fact, I think that it is bad if you don’t wonder why because you may just be wasting your time. Maybe knowing information that you will never use pretty much equivalent to not even knowing it at all? Who cares if I know how to do logarithms if I will never use them? It doesn’t make me any smarter than the person that doesn’t know how to do it. So, why did I have to take 3 math classes in college that I will never retain? Honestly, I have asked myself this question many times and the only answer I have is simply because it is required to get my degree. Why is it required? That is a question I am still trying to figure out.

After spending so much time wondering what I am doing in math class, I couldn’t help but question why I am in college at all. Honestly, going to college wasn’t even something that I questioned until now. It was just the ‘normal’ thing to do-- graduate high school, go to college. It was just as simple as 2+2; I didn’t even have to think about it. Now, I am realizing that maybe I should have.

I just never wanted to disappoint anyone with not attending college. Sure years ago it was not necessary to attend college and now if you want to be successful at all you have to go. I wasn’t given a choice in going to college in the eyes of my generation. If I hadn’t attended college and worked for a degree, I would be going nowhere in life. We live in a generation where if you stop your schooling at just a mere high school diploma, people will turn their noses to you and look down on you as if you are less intelligent than them. I don’t believe it should be like this at all. I have come to realize that college truly isn’t right for everyone. Now that I have finally come to this realization, I had struggled to decide if it was right for me.

Every day I sacrifice spending time with friends or just relaxing for work and every night I still feel as if I have accomplished nothing. No matter how much I do, there is still many things to be done. I spend so much time and effort trying to win at a losing game. I now know that it is impossible to please everyone and with focusing on everyone else, I forgot to please myself. It is time that I begin to focus on choices that are good for me, and not what everyone else expects from me. I will finish my degree because I WANT to finish my degree and have a career. I will work every last day of my life if I have to, to obtain the career I want rather than work towards a career that is going to make me money, but not make me happy. What kind of life is that?

Cover Image Credit: Jennifer Doehler Photography

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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10 Study Habits You Should Never Break

Tips and tricks to surviving finals and midterms.

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It's starting to become that time of year again - wrapping up the semester and preparing for the dreaded week of finals and mid-terms. I couldn't be more excited to be done with high school. But finals stink. I luckily don't have many classes that are going to require taking a test, mine are mostly projects.

All throughout high school, I had really struggled with testing and study habits. I didn't know how to study and therefore continued to do poorly because of my study habits or lack of. It was not until my junior year in high school, I had found my way of studying and it has worked for me for every test since. I color coat everything and write things down a million times. It is time-consuming but it is worth it in the end. You just have to find what works with you and stick with it. Here are some tips and tricks to hopefully help you with your study habits. I wish I had someone to tell me these things when I was struggling at the start of high school.

1. Time management

Don't be silly and study the night before the test and expect to do well. Some people can actually do this but I am a person who has to work their tail off for what kind of grades I receive so studying the night before a test would result in me not doing well. But it is different for everyone. What I typically do is if I know the test date ahead of time, I write it down in my planner and then as we learn something I add it to a notecard so as we go on with a unit I remember what we have learned in the start of the unit. I typically study a week prior to the test.

2. Find a study space

I like when my environment is completely quiet, I find it hard for me to focus when I am surrounded by noise. I usually study in my room or somewhere where no one is at

3. Choose a style of studying you like

I am a freak when it comes to studying. I am a very visual person. I will read the chapters in the book, highlight the important stuff, take notes and color coat them, highlight them. Draw diagrams or pictures if needed. And sometimes write small important things a couple of times. Yes, it's time-consuming but it has gotten me to not fail my test. With more unvisual classes like math, I write a notecard of all the formulas and buttons I will need for that unit. I do all of this as we go through each unit. I also use Quizlet to help me remember vocabulary words.

4. Actually do the study guides or Quizlets, they help

I complete the study guides a couple of times. Sounds crazy but it helps me memorize stuff so much better. There are tons of resources out on the internet, use them. Quizlet, Books online etc can all be valuable resources, just got to know what is available. Sometimes my friends will make a Quizlet and we will have the same class and I will use her Quizlet. Why make what's already made for you?

5. Write things out

I love technology and all but I think some of us have gotten away from writing things actually down on a notebook. Believe it or not, it has been proven that physically writing things out helps you memorize things better. I use a notebook for class and color coat my own notes. I also use flashcards for vocab words and color coat them as well. As you can tell I love color coating.

6. Have a study buddy

Personally I study better alone but when I do study with groups we bounce ideas off each other to get a better understanding of the material. It again depends on how you like to study.

7. Eliminate distractions

I used to have a problem with getting distracted from being on my phone and then I'd realize I just wasted 30 minutes scrolling through Instagram when I could have been studying. So turn your phone off or put it where you can't see it because it really does shorten your time of studying without being on it.

8. Use memory games (pneumonic devices) 

This helps me so much! When I am working on a test I always remember pneumonic devices before anything else.

9. Take your time

Don't rush through the material, you'll get it eventually. If you don't know it, highlight it and come back. Also if you have already mastered and memorized a topic, don't keep studying that study the things you don't know and haven't mastered.

10.  Find what works best for you!

You have to find out what works for you and what doesn't. Your study habits are completely unique to you. If something works for you, continue to do that.

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