Part of being a 20 something, I find, is realizing how quickly your values and thoughts can change. Every few months, I end up reflecting on where I was six months ago and can’t believe the kinds of thoughts or fears I used to have. If I look back even further to the things I believed at 16, it’s almost laughable.
Ever since high school, my dad has always told me that high school teaches you how to learn, but college teaches you how to think. Once you know how to think, learning continues no matter what. From my first day of class all the way up to graduation, I soaked in every bit of knowledge thrown at me. Sometimes, I think I could’ve kept going for years.
Five months after graduation, I found myself going weeks and weeks without seeing a single friend. Sometimes it was boring, but most of the time it was depressing. Part of my problem stemmed from having moved back home while most of my friends stayed around our school. With the majority of my social life in another state, I found it difficult to find things to do besides the occasional trip to the grocery store.
Post-grad life ironically makes it more difficult to keep up with your friends. School may be out of the way, but other obligations or pure laziness take over. No longer is socializing as easy as a mass text message asking who wants to meet for dinner in five minutes. If you want to have dinner with anyone, you might have to plan a week in advance.
For four years, I believed a lie. Near the end of every semester, I would peruse a used book sale on campus and come away with at least five new reads. Many of them are books that I never would’ve found elsewhere and although a few of them have been delightful stories, the majority of them account for the 100+ unread books I own.
“I’ll have so much time to read after college,” I told myself. After all, I’d be unemployed for a little bit and then when I found a job, it would probably be a 9-5 that I wouldn’t have to take home with me.
It turns out I was partially right. I did get a 9-5 that I enjoy quite a bit, and one of the perks is that it can also be a 7-3, 8-4, 10-6 or anything in between. With more flexibility to choose my own hours, I can miss rush hour both ways, work from home, leave early, or go in late.
“It’s weird,” my friend says as we sit in the café waiting for our mochas to cool. “I’ve been back here a bunch of times, but everything’s different.”
“Freshman year was five years ago,” I say. “And we’ve only been out for one, but when I walked in here a couple days ago, I didn’t recognize anyone.”
“It’s like you’re an alien suddenly,” she says with a short laugh.
This isn’t my first visit back to campus after graduating and it probably won’t be my last, but every time I come back I experience a paradox of feeling that I could stay forever and knowing that my current life pulls me back home. I simultaneously miss college and dorm life, and yet when I woke up this morning after sleeping on the floor of my friend’s room, I stared at the tiny sink spotting a bit of rust and wondered how I put up with it at all. I miss undergrad, yet I’ve grown out of it.
Half-way through the semester when everyone is on the brink of midterms, class registration for the next semester begins. In addition to your usual daily obligations, you now have to plan ahead for your next batch of classes. The courses you choose depend on your year, your major and general requirements, and how much space is left when it’s your turn to register.
First-year: the fewest options and the most requirements
As a first-year, most if not all of the classes you sign up for will be required courses. At this point, you still have plenty of gen-eds to knock out and you might be able to write off a few major requirements, especially if you’ve already declared or have a solid idea of what you want to study. Although most of the fun classes will be off-limits to you, at least you won’t have trouble filling out your schedule. You also won’t have to worry about your classes filling up since multiple professors teach several sections of the same class; however, some required classes fill up anyway because so many people are trying to take them. If it’s a class that’s offered every semester, you might have to put it off until later.
In a world where distinguishing your resume from everyone else’s can lead to unique opportunities, you might’ve heard some buzz about using social media or blogging to help yourself stand out professionally. But will a blog actually help your resume? The short answer is yes. The slightly longer answer is that it can’t hurt. Keeping a blog for this purpose is more than just updating daily or weekly with whatever is on your mind. If you want to use a blog for your resume, the blog should focus on where you are or where you want to be professionally.
Nearly every field has room for blogging. Writing, publishing, education, business, finance, music, and politics are just some of the industries where opportunities abound. A blog that’s focused on showcasing your skills, experience, or knowledge in whatever field you’re in is a blog that potential employers will find when they Google your name. A blog gives you a chance to build a portfolio of writing samples that showcase your personality.
Spring semester is both a fresh start and continuation of fall semester. On the one hand, you’re starting new classes with new people and possibly new friends, but on the other hand you still live in the same dorm building with the same RA and the same people. Winter break is the school year’s intermission and the spring will hold different triumphs and challenges for you depending on your class.
One of the best aspects of college life is that in many ways, you get two chances per year to make a new start. Each new semester is a fresh start and an opportunity for you to gain new experiences. Here are several ways you can change up your routine this semester.
1) Join a new club
College is a time for you to try things you’ve never tried before and might not get a chance to try again. Even small schools have plenty of different clubs ranging from community service to entertainment and support groups. A new club is a great way to meet people you never would’ve known otherwise.
Graduation. Suddenly, the day you’ve worked so hard for is here. You’ve spent four or more years of your life planning and working toward this day, but after all the celebration, what will the next day bring you?
All grads face some daunting questions once they walk the stage. However, you’re a December grad. You’re leaving a semester too late or early, but either way you’re suddenly finished in the middle of the school year. You’re potentially entering into the workforce in the midst of the holiday bustle. How do you balance your yearly celebrations with job searching or figuring out the next steps in your academic and personal life?
With Halloween just around the corner, many college students will be gearing up for trick-or-treating (you will quickly realize, if you haven’t already, that you are not too old for candy and costumes when you’re in college). While this time of year can be great fun, it’s also easy to let your guard down. By now you should know some general safety tips, but it can’t hurt to refresh your memory a bit (because how much were you paying attention at orientation?). Here are 5 short safety tips to keep in mind so your Halloween adventures are nothing but fun.
1. Travel in groups
Not only is it more fun to go candy hunting and party hopping with all your friends, but it’s also a good way to make sure no one gets lost. Even if your college is surrounded by rich, quiet neighborhoods, it’s never a bad idea to walk around with at least one other person, and never a bad idea to keep track of one another at a crowded college party.