Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Older and Wiser

With all schools starting back for the fall semester I was thinking about all the things I wish I had learned before senior year. Ole Miss was the absolute best four years of my life, but imagine how much better it could have been if I'd had all the knowledge of a graduate when I started. Here are the seven main things I wish I knew my first semester.

Clueless little Freshmen on move-in weekend touring the Football skyboxes with the Honors College

1. Take one fun class a semester
My first semester of college my only "fun" class was college algebra, needless to say I did not have a very fun semester. Fast forward to my last semester where every one of my classes was a fun class, and I had the best semester. I actually enjoyed reading the required texts, didn't mind putting in the time to study, and only missed class when it was unavoidable (I wasn't in town). Obviously it's not practical to take only fun classes every semester, but surely you can fit eight fun classes in over your four years. 

2. Conquer a fear
Confession, I was terrified of the library until senior year. My first semester I went in the week before Thanksgiving to get some books for a final paper and got lost. I was in a totally random spot (these random rooms in the corner between floors) with no cell service and no one around to ask how to get out. I sat and waited until the student workers did their walk through right before closing to make sure it was empty and asked how to get out. I stayed out of the library, minus the trip to Starbucks (conveniently placed right by the entrance) and using it as a short cut on rainy or really cold days, until my sorority started to require we do our study hours together there my senior year. Once I finally was forced to study there the library quickly became one of my favorite places on campus. So long story short, find the thing you're afraid of (asking a question in class, going to the sporting event none of your friends want to go to, starting a new club, etc...) and conquer it!

3. Utilize the free stuff
As a student on campus there are so many "free" things built into your tuition that you're probably not using. Why pay to join a gym when you probably have one you can use for free on campus (ours even included group fitness classes!), sure you might have to wait to use the elliptical, but it doesn't cost you anything extra. At Ole Miss students could go to all sporting events (minus football) for free, but I hardly took advantage of this. I know every campus is different, but chances are there are free things on your campus you should use now because once you graduate they aren't free. 

4. Do something spontaneous
Senior year our basketball team made it to the NCAA tournament for the first time in years. A couple of girlfriends and I bought (way over priced) tickets online, booked a hotel, and the next morning drove the 9 hours to Kansas City to watch our Rebels play. Sure we had to drive through a snow storm, spend an extra night, and miss a day of class, but it was 100% worth it. This weekend trip was so unlike me, but it turned into one of my favorite memories from college.

5. Save your money so you can treat yourself
Think about it, would you rather eat fast-food every weekend or at that expensive restaurant downtown once a month? Unless you have an unlimited amount of money you're going to have to be smart about how to budget your money. If you give up your fast-food habit in favor of a $2 lean cuisine you'll be able to afford to go to the nice places every now and then. If you skip going to the movies every Sunday night you'll be able to afford tickets to that really cool concert you're dying to go see. 

6. Find a way to have "me time"
One semester I managed to schedule all my classes so I was done by lunch every day. I'd come back home eat lunch, and then go lock myself in my room for an hour and have "me time". I would take a nap, read a magazine, watch tv, really anything that was just for me and not for school or Theta. It was fabulous; I never would have made it through the semester without this daily hour to myself. I had so much on my plate but was able to manage it without getting over whelmed because I knew I had this hour to do whatever I wanted to do every day.

7. Don't be afraid to be undecided 
The piece of advice I always give incoming freshmen is it's okay to have an undeclared major. Most people change their major at least once, I was one of these people. If I had taken the classes I wanted to freshmen year instead of the ones my advisor put me in, I would have ended up taking required classes for my eventual major and none of the ones that ended up not even counting toward my degree. You know what classes interest you, but often this knowledge is clouded by what you think you want to be "when you grow up"

Official College Graduate!

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