Tag Archives: college

Are Summer Jobs Realistic Anymore?

With the school year winding down and summer break almost upon us, a lot of students are starting to make plans for their summers. Some have vacations, some will simply be going home for the summer, and many will be looking for a summer job. College and life, in general, are expensive and we could all use a little extra cash in our pocket. People have been doing this for years, so it is no big deal, right? Not exactly.

starbucks worker
“Most businesses are not looking for part-time summer help anymore; most places want someone who is willing to work part-time year-round.” Photo from: http://cdn.thesimpledollar.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/starbucks-barista.jpg

The world is changing and progressing rapidly and things aren’t the same as they were 20, 10, or even five years ago. Most businesses are not looking for part-time summer help anymore; most places want someone who is willing to work part-time year-round, at the very least. And working year-round is not a very plausible option for most college students. First of all, most college students go home for the summer which is usually not very close to college. It can be two hours away, four hours away, or six or eight hours away. So even if a college student wanted to, the idea of having a year round job is not a possibility. And with that option gone, the job opportunities dwindle. Most places of business do not want to hire someone only to replace them after three months; that is just bad business.

If a college student lives near their college campus and does stay in the same area year-round, they will still run into similar problems. While it is not impossible to keep a job and go to college at the same time (plenty of college students do exactly that), it is difficult and not something that everyone can do. Any college student can tell you that college is hard and that it takes a lot of time and effort; many have to spend the vast majority of their time working on school work. It is not uncommon for them to have very little spare time left and it’s hard to work at a job when you only have a few spare hours. College is intensive, and the whole point of summer break is to give you an actual break, not spend it begging for a job that you’ll likely have to quit in a few months.

College As Told By Khloe Kardashian

There is no one in the world that can express how college students feel about college, but Khloe Kardashian is by far, the person that most closely feels the way you feel about life. So here is KoKo on college.

  1. You don’t take bullshit from anyone.

Khloe is the type to take what you throw at her and dish it right back at you. College can bring out some emotions in students and teachers, and she wouldn’t be afraid to throw shade back.

  1. You have your lazy days, lazy months or lazy semesters.

There is just something about college that makes you not want to finish it. Well, Khloe has the perfect solution for you. Just don’t deal.

  1. Prerequisites.

The most annoying thing about college is prerequisites. These unnecessary classes don’t have anything to do with your major and are just a waste of time. They are just a way for colleges to get more money from you.

  1. You aren’t afraid to protect your friends.

The friends that you make in college are the ones you keep forever because you go through everything together. If there is someone messing with your friend, then there is a slight chance you’ll have to make a quick trip to CVS for a tub of Vaseline.

  1. You get a little too comfortable with your college friends.

There are many things you experience in college and those things are rarely ever spoken of again. You see your friends at their worst and they see you at yours.

  1. The “freshman 15″ means nothing to you.

    Khloe
    “College isn’t something that comes around every year. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that everyone needs.” Photo from: https://images.contentful.com/g8qtv9gzg47d/image_post_63973/fc1408744cfcfc01054e49b4a34203cf/Slider_1_-_Khlo__Kardashian

Even if you do care about the “freshman 15,” there is no name for the upperclassman weight gain, so therefore, it does not exist. Besides, the only healthy thing on campus is expensive.

  1. When your professor assigns homework over break.

The fact that one even attempts to assign anything over break is hilarious to me. If the work is done, I guarantee that it is done last minute and students don’t put any effort into it. Personally, I think that professors do this just to stress us out. In all honestly, it’s not us that have to read all of those papers. You’re welcome.

  1. Your judgment is real at parties.

When college students party, they might be drunk, but their creepy meter is on overdrive.

  1. When your parents ask you where you were last night.

When you are home for the holidays, you find that your parents are always wondering where you are. You have been so used to going where you want when you want. You see yourself as an adult, but when you want money to go to Chipotle Mexican Grill, you are suddenly a child again.

  1. When your roommate touches your stuff.

There are always boundaries that don’t need to be crossed when it comes to roommates. The number one rule to follow when you have a roommate is, “You don’t touch my stuff. I don’t touch your stuff.”

  1. Experience it before it passes you by.

College isn’t something that comes around every year. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that everyone needs. You have your whole life to be an adult, so maybe living it before you become one isn’t a bad idea.

Dorm Life vs. Apartment Life

The vast majority of people in college either live in a dorm or in an apartment. Few people actually come from the town or city that their university or college resides in, so we need alternate lodgings while we’re away. Most college students tend to live in the dorms because most universities require that you live in a dorm for at least one year of your college career. But plenty of people also live in apartments near the college campus, and many people often wonder which is better.

apartment listings
“Many who do live in an apartment have to work within a budget, and utility bills can add up very quickly.” Photo from: http://suffolkjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/listings.jpg

One of the upsides to living in a dorm is there are no bills to pay. Once you’ve paid your tuition, you’re set; you can use as much heat, water, and electricity as you want without worry. The same cannot be said for those who live in an apartment. Many who do live in an apartment have to work within a budget, and utility bills can add up very quickly. This leads into the issue of roommates as well. Practically everyone in a dorm has at least one roommate, and some even have three or four. The same can be said of most people who live in an apartment. While there is the option to live by yourself, most people cannot afford to do so and have to get at least one other person to live with them. However, the main difference between having a roommate in a dorm and a roommate in an apartment is that in an apartment, utility bills can be very high/expensive with multiple people. A single person can increase the bill significantly for the other roommate(s).

The flip side, however, is that in an apartment there is almost always more space and everyone has their own room. One of the worst parts about living in a dorm is the lack of space and the fact that you have to share a small room with another person. While you still have to share space inside of an apartment, you have your own room at least. This extra space can help ease a lot of the tension that one usually finds inside of a dorm room. There is also the benefit of having your own personal kitchen and not being subjected to a limited meal plan. With your own kitchen, you can make whatever meals you want whenever you want them and store whatever food you want without any real hassle or fear of it going bad. At the end of the day, it comes down to your own personal preference as to where you want to live and what you want to sacrifice.

Picking Classes With or Without an Advisor: Which Is Better?

picking classes
“Some people like having the advising meetings, but others would rather do without them. So the question becomes: which is better, meeting with an advisor or not?” Photo from: https://blogs.sjsu.edu/mysjsu/files/2013/10/sjsu-student-picking-classes-26z640c.png

As April approaches, we are getting closer and closer to picking our new class schedule for the upcoming semester. Many of us are in different places in our college careers and in different majors and/or concentrations. Some of us are graduating seniors who do not need to worry about picking a new class schedule. However, most of us have at least another semester to go and now have another thing to worry about, at least for a short while. We also all have to go and speak with our advisor, if for nothing else to get the required pin number to register. Some people like having the advising meetings, but others would rather do without them. So the question becomes: which is better, meeting with an advisor or not?

There are pros and cons to both sides. If we went without the advising meeting then we could all just get our pin numbers via email and go about our day. Many of us are very busy and do not have much time to spare for extra meetings. Forgoing an advising meeting is, admittedly, quicker, easier, and more convenient. Also, once a person reaches a certain point in their college career, they know what classes to take. At this point, it’s mostly a matter of deciding when to take their classes, something they do at their discretion.

However, it is also very helpful to meet with an advisor simply because they typically know things about the class you will be taking that you wouldn’t know. There is also the case of the same class being taught by multiple teachers. An advisor may have some insight on some of the teachers and be able to tell you which one would work well with you. The biggest issue most college students run into with picking classes is that they simply don’t know what they are getting into most of the time. Our advisors are the best resource we have available to get the inside scoop on our unknown classes.

Getting a Job in Trump’s Presidency

For many graduating college students, President Trump’s federal hiring freeze is near devastating. From hopeful criminal justice majors to ambitious outdoor recreation majors, their potential job pool is diminishing. Also, certain majors at universities require you to earn and complete an internship before you can receive a degree.

President Trump offered advice, writing, “In carrying out this memorandum, I ask that you seek efficient use of existing personnel and funds to improve public services and the delivery of these services.” To cushion the blow, he adds “Accordingly, this memorandum does not prohibit making reallocations to meet the highest priority needs and to ensure that essential services are not interrupted and national security is not affected.”

job listings
“He [President Trump] promised during his campaign to create jobs. Where is that promise now?” Photo from: http://acrl.ala.org/residency/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/job-hunting.jpg
Richard Delehanty, a senior at Radford majoring in parks and tourism, has been personally affected by this presidential memorandum. To complete his degree, Richard needs to complete an internship. While researching job opportunities at local state parks, he had many employers say they weren’t hiring due to the federal hiring freeze. Richard, disgruntled by the lack of respect for job security, points out “He [President Trump] promised during his campaign to create jobs. Where is that promise now? These are American people who work for these agencies. He has collectively told a group of people their jobs aren’t worth it. Your skills are irrelevant as are your jobs. For what in exchange? It’s bullshit.”

Richard highlighted the importance of these jobs, saying, “It’s obvious our environment is in a state of crisis. This is no debate, only an agenda that doesn’t account for other’s health and safety. Parks are relying on volunteer work. Without the necessary manpower, they will inevitably deteriorate. Most parks hire the bulk of their workers during the summer, when in demand from tourism and daily maintenance. During my work for New Jersey Palisades Park a few years ago, I had to rebuild an entire trail because of natural deterioration. Without the help of my coworkers and I, the trail would have been impassable. If these parks can’t cope, they will close temporarily. With no one to monitor and maintain the parks, vandals and poachers are free to roam. Park animals are accustomed to humans, leaving them most vulnerable to hunters. The lack of security due to the hiring freeze will be taken advantage of, killing protected wildlife and plant-life. We have left our world in such a disastrous state, and we must preserve what we can. As beings of the same planet, we cannot continue to take and take. I happen to like this planet.”

The need for these jobs as well as many similar ones is clear. To preserve the beauty of nature and the American lifestyle, call your representative. Express your grief until something is done. We are told from grade school that we are the future. Take your role seriously.

To find your representative’s contact information, enter your zip code into this website:

http://www.whoismyrepresentative.com/

How Much Will That College Degree Actually Help?

Nowadays it is pretty normal and almost expected for people to go to college. It is just what is done, and those who either go straight into the workforce or the military are the outliers (not that there is anything wrong with that). This is a pretty significant change from the generation of most college student’s parents. It used to be that you could go straight into the workforce without worrying about college; in fact, most people did and got along fine. However, it seems that everyone needs a college degree to get any job beyond basic retail or the fast food industry. But does a degree really help?

Almost any medium or high-level job requires at least a basic four-year degree to even be considered, which is a large part of the problem. A bachelor’s degree has become the new status quo, and it is the minimum requirement. Going to a basic four-year college is no longer enough to stand out. It’s expected that you have at least that much if you are even going to consider applying for a job. This has made finding a job, stable employment, and most importantly financial security much more difficult. This is extremely concerning for most college students because of the massive debt that they rack up just to get those four-year degrees.

job app
“Many employers want several years worth of work experience as a minimum requirement. It is extremely hard to get work experience when you are in college.” Photo from: http://allthatglitterspawn.com

Another issue is that for most starting positions, many employers want several years worth of work experience as a minimum requirement. It is extremely hard to get work experience when you are in college. Any college student will tell you that they are already extremely busy with their school work. Many will tell you that they aren’t able to have a job and still manage their school workload. And yet, we are expected, at a minimum, to have this work experience along with our four-year degree straight out of college.

A college degree is always a good thing to have, but recently it seems like students have to go above and beyond just to stand a chance. You either have to pursue even higher levels of education (and rack up more debt) or somehow manage to work at least a part-time job within your field of study while juggling an ever-increasing workload from school, which is not easy (and in fact a quite daunting) task.

Taking a Break with a Gap Year

The idea of taking a break either between high school and college or just after college isn’t a very popular or well-known one here in the U.S., but it is common practice in places like Europe and Australia. There it is known as taking a gap year, though it isn’t always an actual year. Students will take a break between high school and college to travel around, usually for about a semester.

travel gap year
“Very few people have the financial means to take a semester or a year off and travel around.” Photo from: https://az616578.vo.msecnd.net

The whole idea behind taking a gap year is to give students a chance to relax after all those years of schooling and to increase their maturity and self-awareness. There have actually been studies that have shown an increase in these factors, along with a fluency in a foreign language, greater self-confidence, and an overall increase in G.P.A.’s (1). Overall, it’s considered a pretty great idea, so why don’t we do it here in the U.S.?

The biggest issue is, obviously, money. Very few people have the financial means to take a semester or a year off and travel around. In fact, most people can barely afford to go to college, much less put it off for several months of soul searching. You have to consider the cost of basic necessities like food and water and places to stay, especially when you do not have any source of personal income. If someone does decide to travel then they usually have to rely on money given to them by relatives for their gap year.

Another issue is simply the timing of it. Many people get acceptance letters in the summer between the end of high school and the following fall semester of college and most cannot really afford to turn them down for fear they might not get in again. Not to mention the fast pace and ever-changing nature of the U.S. education system and economy. A semester off can ruin a person’s chances for a college education or a stable job or career.

While a gap year may be a good idea with several great benefits, it is not yet a feasible option for students in America. It is something we will have to work towards if we want it to happen.

  1. http://www.americangap.org/benefits.php

Respectful Communication is Key

For most of us in college, we tend to avoid talking with our professors and instructors for one reason or another. And they don’t usually have conversations with us unless we directly approach them. For some, talking to an instructor is no big deal, but for others, it can be frightening, anxiety inducing or anywhere in between. Whatever the case, it’s important for both the instructor and the student to maintain a respectful manner.

If either the student or the instructor becomes disrespectful toward one another then major issues can arise. There does not always need to be blatant disrespect or animosity to cause problems in the classroom. Passive aggressive remarks or responses can create

Teacher talking with young student in the classroom
“For some, talking to an instructor is no big deal, but for others, it can be frightening, anxiety inducing or anywhere in between.” Photo from: http://cdn.hercampus.com/s3fs-public/2014/09/28/Student-Professor-Talking-Office-Hours.jpg

bigger problems than direct hostility. Passive aggressiveness is just pettiness; it shows a flippant attitude and a complete disregard for the other person. A student shouldn’t treat an instructor this way, and an instructor shouldn’t treat a student that way either. Doing so opens up hostility between the two people involved and the situation can, and often does, dissolve from there.

If an instructor is disrespectful toward a student then they have failed as a teacher; it is their job to be patient, and they should be willing to work with students to help them understand the material. It does not benefit anyone if an instructor disregards a student’s questions or concerns. And it’s just the same for the student; they have to be willing to meet the instructor halfway. They should make sure they try to resolve their problem or misunderstanding before approaching the instructor, so they don’t waste their time. However, they also run the risk of being seen as lazy for not approaching the instructor early on. Both the instructor and the student should do their best to maintain a professional and respectful relationship. Otherwise, the entire classroom environment falls apart.

Free and Fierce

fire
“In the dead of the night, the brilliant flames were alive with a seemingly insatiable hunger for fuel and fodder.” Photo from: http://forest.ambient-mixer.com/images_template/7/a/5/7a5f2da770d424198f5fe0e88b573b10_full.jpg

The night was alive with crackling light and shifting shadows. In the dead of the night, the brilliant flames were alive with a seemingly insatiable hunger for fuel and fodder, eating through the wood and the walls. The people outside on the ground stood in silent awe of the gold and orange flames that danced in the windows of what was once their home. They could do little else. They had been roused from the depths of sleep by the heat and the smoke, going from groggy to completely awake and alert in a second, only to have the adrenaline disappear from their bodies as they made it to the safety of the street. No one had seemed to be hurt much, and the fire had only just begun to roar in full force. As if it had waited for the last resident to leave before it feasted.

Free of any human chains to slow it down, the fire seemed to start anew, growing and blazing with a strange ferocity. It burned brightly and quickly, tearing and clawing its way through the apartment building. The entire building would be gone in seconds, but for the residents on the street, it seemed to take an eternity. Every flame slowed to a crawl, creeping up through the windows and along the walls. The flames seemed to gently brush against their prey before slipping into the wood to consume it from the inside out. Black spots of destruction blossomed forward, spreading out in a slow wave like a drop of ink in water. It would spread and spread, becoming wider and greater while it weakened itself, until it began to crumble away from its center to its very edge, the ash falling through the air like snowflakes and dancing in front of the viewer on the street.

The Hardest Choice

Just a sip—
That’s how the addiction began.
They said it’d fix everything,
An elixir for my inhibitions.
I was passed an overflowing glass of something
And I eagerly downed this liquid god
To atone for the sin
Of being boring.
Happy medium? Too mundane.
I’m only happy living by extremes
And now my happiness is attached to
An extreme buzz
With lows just as intense.

drink
“I was passed an overflowing glass of something And I eagerly downed this liquid god.” Photo from: http://media.salon.com/2014/03/alcohol-1280×960.jpg

Maybe it was the regular blackouts
Or the sleazy boys who got too friendly
Or that time I vomited for two hours
While the world was spinning like that toilet bowl—
But I slowly realized my judgment had been flushed away
Long before my nausea.

As I walked away from the glamorous lifestyle
Of underage drinking,
Once-friendly chatter faded
And soon the loudest thing around
Was my own footsteps.
In their own coded dialect
They screamed to me—
Sobriety might be boring
But if it keeps you alive,
It’s worth it.
I didn’t argue—
Now I just keep myself busy.

Stress Levels and Mental Health in College Students

College students usually get stressed when they have major tests in their classes. And it seems that stress levels spike when midterms and finals are approaching. However, most students feel stressed almost all of the time. It is said that one out of five students say they feel stressed most of the time (1). Stress can cause other mental health issues like anxiety disorders and depression. Stress, along with these other mental health disorders, has major effects on students’ day to day lives, and even their future.

It is said that stress is a precursor to anxiety or depression disorders. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health Illness, almost two-thirds of students drop out of school due to mental health reasons (1). Suicidal thoughts may be involved with these disorders. And 95 percent of suicides committed by students are related to anxiety and depression (1).

stressed student
“Stress, along with these other mental health disorders, has major effects on students’ day to day lives, and even their future.” Photo from: http://www.autismafter16.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/article_large/article-images/iStock_000010063963Small_0.jpg

Stress, anxiety and depression levels in students have risen dramatically since the 1980s (2). This means that there is also an increase in those going to their university’s mental health centers, if they are provided. According to Boston University statistics, in the 2014-2015 school year, students seeking psychiatric evaluation went from 120 students to 134, and those coming in because of a crisis increased from 647 students to 906 students (3). It’s happening all over the country. The Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors found that 73.1 percent of counseling center directors reported an increase in the severity of student mental health concerns (3).

Radford University has a Student Counseling Services office located in the basement of Tyler Hall. They offer individual, couple and group psychotherapy, medication evaluations and management, professional consultations and other services (4). Their offices are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and their phone number is (540)-831-5226.

Mental health is one of the things that college students should take care of, especially in times of great stress. So, if you or someone you know is going through a rough patch, definitely try to make an appointment with the Counseling services; it could help you before things get too bad.

1 – http://stress.lovetoknow.com/Statistics_on_College_Student_Stress 2 – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/theory-knowledge/201402/the-college-student-mental-health-crisis  3 – http://www.bu.edu/today/2016/mental-health-college-students/  4 – http://www.radford.edu/content/student-counseling/home.html

College Means Nothing

College is stupid. I am so tired of how professors love to assign us homework over break as if we don’t have a personal life like they do. Every single time that I get assigned homework during break, they expect us to do it even though we could be on a cruise or on a trip somewhere. Then, professors end up assigning us so much homework that we have a lack of sleep, and they get mad that we aren’t engaged in class. How do they expect us to engage when we were up studying all night for a test on something that will mean nothing for our career?

head on desk
“Professors end up assigning us so much homework that we have a lack of sleep, and they get mad that we aren’t engaged in class.” photo from: https://az616578.vo.msecnd.net/files/2016/04/25/635972142007383479732958830_1026x760.jpg

Honestly, I don’t think I’m getting my money’s worth when it comes to class. We are stuck in these buildings that smell like trash and are covered in black mold. Every time I see how much I have paid to go to college, it basically gives me a heart attack. Especially when it comes to textbooks. I swear, every time I see the amount of money I need to pay for my textbooks I think, “These pages better be made out of gold.” College tuition is already expensive enough as it is. Why do we need to pay for textbooks that we will never use again? Plus, if people do end up getting a refund check from the university, they spend it on trips to Cancun or Florida. But some of us are not that rich and have to actually use it to pay rent. College means nothing. It is just bragging rights. Personally, I believe that real life experience is more valuable than sitting behind a desk all day. Plus, as an added bonus, experience is free. But that’s my opinion. I’m in college so you know I’m right.

All-Nighter

Sleep doesn’t come when I call anymore.

Maybe I’ll rub the tired from my eyes,

And write another thousand words before the sun rises.

I’ll let myself lose a dozen hours in a back-lit screen.

Just because it feels meaningful when compared with the alternative:

Lying in the cloying silence,

Inventing patterns on the off-white ceiling.

 

There is no heartbreak this time,

No creeping anxiety that drags at the back of my mind.

The weight of the cosmos is no heavier than it ever is.

Nothing to fix, nothing to blame.

These words may be the only meaning I ever find in it,

And even they won’t come easy.

night sky
“I’ll pretend every waking hour had been my decision So I can wear the dark circles under my eyes like some badge of honor.” Photo from: https://pixabay.com

Another all-nighter?” he asks,

And I return his well-intentioned smile.

I’ll pretend every waking hour had been my decision

So I can wear the dark circles under my eyes like some badge of honor,

As though my bone-deep exhaustion was a marker of academic fortitude.

But there is no significance or triumph in the reality

That rest has become some unruly beast,

And sleep doesn’t come when I call anymore.

Rain and Ramen Noodles

It rains.
I wake up,
Roll over and see
Class has been over
An hour or more.
I have no guilt.

I pull myself up slowly
And move across the room
On legs that could collapse
Beneath me.
I’m ill today
And it rains.

window
“I pull myself up slowly And move across the room.” Photo from: mediacache.pinimg.com

It rains,
And I am hungry.
I pull on my jacket
And stumble outside.
Somehow,
I have not fallen.
Make my way across a flooded plain;

Reach my destination.
Inside
My treasure sits upon the shelf:
Beef, Shrimp, Chicken.
I make my choices –
Head back.

I wait:
A boiling hot cup of
Ramen.

Why Students Should Be Allowed To Use Electronics In Class

phones

In college classes, teachers have different opinions on whether or not students should be allowed to use electronics in their classes. Although “electronics” is a broad word but mainly in this discussion it refers to cell phones and laptops. Some professors don’t mind if students use laptops in their classes because it can be easier to take notes while typing instead of writing. Also, some teachers use powerpoints or online sources to help with teaching their lessons and think it’s okay for the students to follow along on their laptops.

With cell phones it’s a different policy in every teacher’s class, because some feel that it isn’t a big deal if students are using their phones, and some do not permit it at all. The argument teachers use when they say “no” to cell phones is that students should be paying attention to the lecture and the lesson plan.

Other teachers who say they don’t mind if students use their cell phones say they have this opinion because students, or their parents, are paying for the college courses so it’s ultimately up to them to decide if they want to pay attention to the class. What they get from the classes is up to them and the teachers who support cell phone use also think that because in the real world people check their phones all the time throughout the day that it should be allowed in college as well.

I believe that students should be allowed to use electronics in classes because otherwise all they will think about is using it the rest of the class. If students are allowed to use electronics in class they will occasionally check it and still follow the lesson and get something out of it. On the other hand if students use their phones and electronics the whole time that is their own fault by not paying attention even slightly and they won’t take away anything from the class but it’s ultimately their decision.

Senior year vs. freshman year

As I’m typing this, I have less than 50 days until graduation. I’ve been reflecting on my time here at Radford University and noticing many things have changed since that first year. College is a time of extreme growth and experiencing as much as possible, so no one leaves the same person they came in as.

What has changed between being a freshman and being a senior? Graphic by Katie Gibson
What has changed between being a freshman and being a senior? Graphic by Katie Gibson
  1. My style

When I was in high school, I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing wet hair to school. Now, it makes an almost daily appearance. Along with rocking wet hair, my sense of fashion has sort of devolved. Although I lived on campus as a freshman, I would still get up no less than an hour before my class and make myself look presentable by wearing nice jeans and just trying to look human as possible. Nowadays, however, it’s nothing to throw on leggings and a big hoodie (with no bra, mind you) and run to class just minutes after awaking from my slumber.

Going out has also become much easier. As a freshman, my suite-mates and I would spend hours doing our hair and makeup and picking out outfits. We often wore high heels and short skirts out.

Now, I dress for comfort, not for looks. If I go out to a party in the winter, I’m bundling up. I once would freeze the most unmentionable parts of my body just to look cute. Now, I’ll throw on some leggings and a sweater and a quick face of makeup and head out the door.

High heels very rarely make an appearance these days.

  1. My sense of humor

As a freshman, being late to class was no laughing matter. Doing poorly on a test was completely unacceptable and I spent many nights crying into my homework. Now, when I walk into class lateI just smile at the professor and say, “sorry.” I’ve also trained myself to just laugh when I don’t get the test score I wanted, as opposed to crying about it. In college, you experience a lot of disappointment, and if you can’t laugh at it from time to time, you’ll fall apart.

After an embarrassing weekend of shenanigans, as a freshman I would spend all week awkwardly avoiding eye contact with the people I encountered throughout the weekend. Now, I just laugh at myself and move on. Sometimes that’s much easier than wallowing in self-pity.

  1. My study habits

One of the biggest accomplishments I’ve reached as a senior is finally learning how to study for my tests. It’s only taken roughly 17 years of schooling for me to finally find a way to study that actually resonates in my mind.

As a freshman, I would use hundreds of index cards and painstakingly mark each one with it’s appropriate definition or explanation. Now, I create my own study guides out of my notes. Not only does this save a lot of time, it also saves paper and my fingers from those sharp edges on note cards.

  1. My sleep schedule

This one is probably very obvious. College students don’t get nearly enough sleep, and sometimes it’s worth it. Between long weeknights spent in the library and long weekends with no rest, we have some of the worst sleep schedules on the planet.

As a freshman, I tried my best to get those 8 hours of sleep. Now, if I get more than 5 hours of sleep, it’s a good day. Running on little sleep can be exhausting but it’s rewarding once you realized that less sleep either means better grades or nights full of fun with your best friends.

  1. Formalities

Formalities become casualties by the time you’re a senior. What were once delicately put together emails with perfect punctuation are now brief sentences with little to no punctuation sent to my professor.

Having the title “professor” or “doctor” is intimidating at first, so you often feel like you have to be very formal when addressing your professors. But by your fourth or fifth year, you realize your professors are just people. It’s especially easy if your professor is younger or a graduate student. Even older professors who have been teaching for decades are really just people going to work, and will often work with you in ways you never thought possible.

One professor I had called me into her office one day over an issue I had with a project. I knew I was in trouble, as I had failed to make it to an important meeting. Although my professor was visibly irritated with me, she really just wanted to help me.

Your professors want what’s best for you. Although some professors seem to love to fail students, most of the time they want to be your friend and want to help you understand what you’re studying.

  1. Values

When I first came to school, I had never done any kind of drugs and I had only been drunk once, and I went into college not expecting that to change. I also came in as a Christian and am leaving as an Agnostic. Being sober and religious was the center of every decision I made coming into college. Now, I know that just because there are rules against something doesn’t make it bad.

Having fun with your friends isn’t a bad thing, even if it’s under the influence of alcohol. My religious beliefs once made me feel that to enjoy and partake in all the things around me was vain. I felt guilty going out and drinking cheap beer at parties, even though I wasn’t hurting myself or anyone around me. Now, that I’ve experienced the “Cannabis Culture” of Colorado, and found that I have a love for beer, I realize that enjoying these things isn’t bad. To live life wishing you had tried new things and regretting not living your life to the fullest, however, is bad.

 

College can be scary at times, but you grow so much in such a short amount of time. Along with what you learn in lectures and labs, you gain so much life experience that teaches you valuable lessons that can’t be found anywhere else. Enjoy and absorb every moment, but know you’re going to survive and you’ll be better for it.

 

How to grow from temporary people and situations

Being a college-aged human can be really difficult. College is a time when people, places and things are very temporary. Whether you find yourself having temporary friends or in a temporary romantic relationship, it can be very discouraging when someone who you’d like as a permanent fixture in your life turns out to just be a tumbleweed passing through life.

Losing friends or a romantic interest is never easy. When you invest your time and emotions in someone or something it can be very discouraging.

However, college students especially need to accept these people and things as part of the experience. As a graduating senior, I can tell you that there are going to be countless people who come in and out of your life in your college years. As much as it sucks to have so many things come and go so quickly, there is a very spiritual lesson to be learned.

When I was a freshman, I couldn’t imagine my life without my best friend, who was also my suite mate. We were incredibly close and I had never connected with someone on such a deep level so quickly. However, by the end of the school year we were out of each others lives.

Even though it hurt to lose someone I had become so close to, there were so many things I got to experience that I would never have even attempted had it not been for my friendship with her.

pedestal
“Don’t be afraid to get attached to people.”

Dating in college is a drag in itself. Some couples tough it out and wind up lasting forever, but for the most part, college relationships wind up being short flings. Oftentimes, I’ve been blindsided by someone I had genuine interest in when they expressed that they weren’t as invested as I was. It can be infuriating but looking at the positives is essential to healing and growing.

For example, one of my college boyfriends dumped me last year. We had been together for a while and when we broke up I was devastated. I felt like I had this vision of what we could’ve been and I saw us being together for a while. However, he had different feelings.

Looking back almost a year after we broke up, I smile seeing how that relationship shaped me. I’m proud of the person I’ve become because of the experiences I shared with him. Because of him, I got to travel around the east coast and experiences places I’ve never even dreamed of. I also got to experience Colorado, a cornerstone moment in my life which helped me decide where I want to be when I graduate.

The great Buddha once said, “the root of suffering is attachment.” While this is true, don’t be afraid to get attached to people. Experience life in its fullest form, including all of its many disappointments. Just because someone is temporary doesn’t mean they can’t bring permanent fixtures such as new tastes in music, culture or even new foods that you never would’ve tried before. Take each disappointing person and situation and use it to fertilize your growth.

5 Common Problems with College Apartments

Every college student has at least once lived in an apartment, and if not, at the very least been inside of one. At first, it’s great and you’re more than happy to be out of the dorms and living with your friends while still having your own room and personal space. However, the longer you’re there the more you start to notice persistent problems with your once seemingly perfect apartment. Then, you start to hear this from everyone you know and realize it isn’t just your apartment, it’s everyone’s. Here are five common problems with college apartments I’m sure you can relate to.

  1. When you’re taking a shower, if someone else turns on the sink, dishwasher, or washer you are doomed.

The water will either be scalding hot or ice cold in five seconds giving you no warning or time to have a plan of action ready. It can be brutal.

laundry
“It takes three hours just to get one load of laundry completely dry.”
  1. The dryer is barely that.

It takes three hours just to get one load of laundry completely dry and with three other roommates it can be a pain waiting around for that to actually happen when you’re used to your dryer at home taking a sixth of that time to dry twice as many clothes.

  1. The wifi constantly has something wrong with it.

Either it’s too slow, won’t turn on at all or says it isn’t on when it actually is. It can be rather frustrating dealing with this especially when you’re trying to get schoolwork done.

  1. The draining isn’t the best either.

If you take a ten minute shower, be prepared to be standing in water up to your ankles. It’s disgusting and will only go away by using Drain-o…every few weeks.

  1. This one is for the apartment complex in general…the parking lots.

The parking lot is so small you have to make a five point turn when trying to back out. It can be frustrating especially when the majority of your parking lot and neighbors all drive big SUV’s.