Should You Do Honors College?
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Should You Do Honors College?

Just another one of those college decisions to make.

Applying to be a part of Honors College is one major decision college students make. Being apart of your school's Honors College can help you tremendously throughout your college career but there are also drawbacks.

Whatever the case, there are many things to consider before deciding whether or not to be a part of Honors College.

Do You Meet The Entry Requirements?
Every school's Honors College is different, but most require at least a 3.35 GPA and less than 72 college credit hours. There may be slight differences between colleges, but basically, you've got be a relatively good student in terms of academics.

If you're a freshman trying to enter your school's Honors College, factors like your SAT score, your GPA, and a possible essay question come into play when trying to meet the requirements of the Honors College.

Can You Handle The Requirements?
Once you're in Honors College, there are things you've got to do to keep your place in Honors College; earning Honors credit. Honors credit is credit you get for doing things in the Honors College. Things like taking honors courses, studying abroad, doing an honors thesis, etc.

It's important that you make sure that you can handle the requirements that not only regular college demands, but also those that the Honors College demands. Because while Honors College is rewarding, it's also a lot of work.

Do You Think It Will Be Beneficial?
Let's be honest, no one wants to do something that won't help them in some way. So that's why there are perks to being in the Honors College. At my school, those in the Honors College get to register for classes first, get tickets to events, can live in the Honors only dorm, and the Honors College class size is smaller.

Besides these perks, being in your school's Honor College can help you intellectually by stimulating discussions and furthering your thinking. So if you think that the Honors College will benefit you, definitely try for it.

Do You Want To Do It?
This is the most important question to ask before applying for your school's Honors College. Is this something you really want? Ultimately, it will be you in the Honors College fulfilling the requirements and reaping the benefits.

So before you apply, make sure you are wanting to do this for you, and only you. If pressure is coming from outside sources to be a part of the Honors College, don't allow it to make a decision that you aren't fully sure about. Choose to do the Honors College because you want to, not because anyone else wants you to.

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Conquering Your Thesis

Just do the damn thing.

At the start of senior year you thought writing a thesis would be fun. That all your older friends who wrote theses (and tried to warn you) were just wimps who would take to melodramatic Facebook statuses to lament. And you figured you could write and be that second semester senior you always aspired to be. Because first semester thesis work wasn't so bad, was it?

That's cute of you.

If you haven't figured it out by now, writing a thesis is akin to walking uphill in the snow. It's like the fights of Russell Crowe in...well, any movie he's in. It's like getting that MOFO ring into Mordor. One does not simply write a thesis.

My thesis was a 110 page jaunt that seemed to accomplish nothing I had set out for, and that has, thus far, only entertained myself (if you're looking for a read on the theoretical conceptions of altruism, holla at ya girl). I had panic attacks in the library, literal nightmares, and moments where I thought I would fail. Yet, I did the damn thing.

Completing my thesis is one of the accomplishments I am most proud of and believe it or not, I wouldn't trade the countless all-nighters for anything.

If you are in the process of a second semester thesis exodus, fear not. It's worth it. You can do it and here's how:

1. Just write.
After all my research, I couldn't decide the exact perfect way to organize my writing. So, instead of writing I'd spend hours superfluously outlining and researching even more.

Finally, I took the advice of my mentor: just write. If you're having trouble starting or are unsure of where to go, just write what you think is best. It may not be a final draft, but it'll help get the ball rolling.

2. Set a deadline before it's actually due.
I'd recommend picking a day that is a week before the actual due date. This way you have flexibility and can take your time with finishing touches.

3. Schedule wisely.
I had a date for when my first draft was due (the day before spring break, so that I could chill the fuck out) and an amount of pages I was aiming to hit. I used this countdown to figure out how many pages I had to write everyday to reach my goal.

Figure out how many pages you want to write per day or per week, or set specific goals for specific time periods.

4. Make a routine.
Having a daily process, like a usual library spot, a coffee order (that the baristas memorized) or a habitual break spot helped me focus and feel grounded.

5. Find a thesis partner.
Seek out a friend or someone in your major who is also writing a thesis. This provides someone who is going through the same process to ask for advice, questions, or to have someone to sit next to you in solidarity when it's 4 a.m. in an empty library.

6. Seek help.
I had a committee with three professors to ask questions and receive help from, but I also sought out assistance for my thesis from other individuals: deans, professors, other students.

Initially, I worried that seeking help would be asking too much. However, I found that every one of them was happy to lend a hand and their help was truly useful.

7. Lean on friends.
If you're lucky enough to have great friends like me, they'll notice you are stressed, tired and on the brink of insanity. My friends offered to run errands for me, bring me food to the library, provide rides, calm me down when I was panicking, or practice presentations with them.

I felt bad accepting these favors, but they wanted to be a good friend. Plus, these small gestures really meant a lot to me. Don't feel bad accepting generosity from your friends and remember to pay it forward when they need you. *Cue Lean on Me*

8. Take breaks.
If you never stop working, this will surely result in you blowing up (literally and figuratively). Have designated break times during the day, set bedtimes, take days off to rest, meditate, and exercise. These breaks will help you work more productively.

9. Be proud.
I spent a lot of my thesis time second guessing, criticizing, and feeling disappointed in myself. When I finished, however, I realized how hard I had worked and how proud of myself I was. It was an accomplishment I could take the credit for.

Make sure to think about how much you have accomplished, take ownership of that, and celebrate your success!

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Why You Shouldn't Worry So Much About Being an Honors Student

It's basically just a sticker on your diploma.

I understand the feeling of wanting never-ending success in college. So when I was accepted into the honors college at my university, I felt like I had a new but also unwanted goal to complete.

It seemed like a lot of stress, but I kept telling myself that I had to do it because I wanted my peers to know I was an honors student. All I had to do was take an extra three to five hours worth of honor credits every semester before graduating. Simple enough right? Wrong. These are no ordinary courses. The difficulty was rising and so was my stress.

I'm a nursing major and having to add an extra class or two onto an already ridiculous course load is just completely unnecessary in my eyes. But the urge to do as much as possible while in college lingered, and I decided I didn't want to give up on being an honors student just yet.

But why did I care so much? Who would actually notice a different colored cord draped around my neck at graduation, paired with a small "honors" sticker pasted onto a diploma that no one even sees on the day of graduation? My grandma, of course cares. But bless her heart, she wouldn't understand how hard that even was to achieve.

What matters most should be the degree that you're trying to get in the field of study you chose. If you think about it, your future employer won't give a damn about the added work you put into those boring renaissance arts and history of the flute classes, because they clearly didn't prepare you for what you're about to be doing.

You assume you have to fight so hard for every possible honor and distinction, but step back and realize how it could possibly make you more fit to do your job that you are essentially getting your degree for.

I gave up the expectation I had for myself to be this so-called honors student. Because "honors" means all of that extra work (in which you must get no lower than a B in), and I didn't need that distraction or pressure. It won't make me a better nurse.

Those courses actually have no relevance to my major, or anything really. I decided that I don't need to waste time analyzing them just to be considered an honors student. My mom thinks I'm an honors student even when I'm not. I'll be okay, and so will you if you choose to not become an honors student.

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How To Ace This Semester

You can do it!

For whatever reason, going back into the spring semester can be hard. It might be because we only have a month off versus a few months or it might be the winter blues kicking our butts, either way, there are ways to get motivated and do our best for school again. Here's how:

1. Think happy thoughts.
Surely there is one thing going on this semester that you are remotely excited about. Is it a class you're taking with a friend? Are you not working as many hours this semester?

Whatever happy thoughts you can think of, hold on to them and don't let go. At least not until the end of the semester. Optimism is a powerful tool if used correctly, and I can certainly say no one has ever had a panic attack from happiness.

2. Eliminate as much stress as you can.
Considering that this seems to be the idc semester, this one shouldn't be too hard. However, if you have any hopes of getting motivated into getting any work done, you need to get rid of any baggage that will slow you down.

For example, having a tiff with a friend? Try to get that resolved before the semester starts, otherwise you will sabotage your motivation because you will feel depressed/pissed.

3. Identify your weak spots.
Do you tend to shake off math homework for Netflix? Then you may want to think about either not subscribing for a few months or limiting yourself on screen time.

It's an adult world we're going into, so we need to make adult decisions. It's tough, I know, but your grades will most likely thank you later for seeing what your weak points are and planning accordingly for this next semester.

4. Set goals.
Cheesy, yes. Effective? Also yes. If you set a goal for what grades you would like to get in your classes or how much time you are going to study a week, this gives you an idea of what sort of effort you are going to put into this semester.

Even if you're goal is a get a B in a subject where you normally get a C, this is a wonderful goal to think about adopting. Any goal is better than no goal.

5. Remember, you are capable.
One thing that can instantly kill your chances of success is lack of confidence. Remember that you have done well enough to get into college, if you can't think of any other achievements in your life (of which I'm sure there are many)!

Look a hard class in the eye and tell it what's up. You can handle any class college gives to you; you just need to remind yourself (maybe on a daily basis) that you mean business and you will do well.

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Perfectionism Needs To Die

"Good" is good enough.

These days, the pressure to succeed - and to go beyond success - is high. "Good" doesn't seem to be good enough anymore, be it in classes, on the playing field, or even looking in the mirror.

The perfectionist ideal seems to be sneaking into our minds more and more. I find myself guilty of this.

Getting a 4.0 GPA has been my goal since freshman year, and whenever I show the slightest hint of struggle in a class, I panic. On the volleyball court, every mistake I make lingers in my head. My stomach is never toned enough, no matter how hard I try.

I see it other places, too. High school students are being run into the ground with homework and assignments, under the justification that the workload is prepping them to succeed in college. Coaches throw stat sheets at athletes, asking why numbers aren't better. Girls compare themselves to an unattainable image of beauty and fitness and obsess when their bodies won't change.

Newsflash: Perfection. Does. Not. Exist.

Read that line again.

The perfectionist mindset is toxic, and I can attest from personal experience. Last year, I dealt myself the considerable workload of 18 credits on top of a volleyball spring training regimen. I had taken that many credits before and was not worried, until the point when I had five exams, four papers, three homework assignments, and two take-home tests in a week. On top of that, I was starting off-season training and needed to focus on getting my strength and skills up. My inner perfectionist had a minor (read: catastrophic) internal breakdown.

Luckily, I survived, and my 4.0 remained intact, not without many more freak-outs and late nights of critically analyzing poetry. I would have saved myself a lot of anxiety if I hadn't placed so much pressure on myself in the first place.

I stayed in and didn't go out with friends. I locked myself in my room some nights and did homework for hours. In my head, I told myself that this was going to help me succeed and attain the goals I had set. In reality, I probably looked like a socially-inept hermit who only emerged from her study den for food and water. (Okay, that's an exaggeration....I did laundry too.)

After that semester, as I said, I took a step back. I was pushing my friends away in a wild attempt to attain perfection. While I did succeed, in terms of the 4.0, it wasn't worth ditching my friends for my laptop, my happiness for my textbooks. There is such a thing as balance when it comes to wanting success. And balance is key.

The next semester, I began a group student-teaching experience and realized immediately that my manic perfectionism would have to take a back seat and be willing to trust the other student-teachers in my group.

We had lessons fail. We had students who were uninterested. We suffered from lack of communication and planning. We had to improvise. Combined, that sounds like a perfectionist's nightmare. There were certainly times where I struggled and wanted to take control of the entire workload.

All of that being said, it was one of the most fun and gratifying experiences I've ever had, and I attribute part of that to the fact that I tried to calm the heck down and go with the flow. I learned a ton from the teaching styles and ideas of my other student-teachers. We weren't perfect, but our students loved us.

Perfectionism is a poison. It's unattainable. Period. I learned (the somewhat hard way) that struggling to attain the unattainable is a fruitless endeavor. Take a deep breath, relax, and understand that sometimes "good" is good enough.

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The Truth About Grades in College

Surprise: they matter.

Okay, I get it, college is hard. Professors are tough graders, finals are cumulative, and there are a trillion distractions that deter you from spending as much time in the library as you should.

With that being said, the cold hard truth of the matter is you should be working your ass off in college. I know there are a million posts that tell you GPA isn't everything and grades don't define you, and those are both true statements.

Still, that doesn't mean that drinking at SigEp and getting lunch with your best friend are acceptable excuses to skip out on library time.

College is a time to have fun, make new friends, take advantage of freedom and learn about yourself. You get to do it for four years (five if you're lucky) and I am the biggest advocate of being embarrassing, wild, and having the time of your life during those years. I am also a huge advocate of giving a shit about your grades and practicing time management.

I work hard in school because I see how hard my parents work every single day to provide me the opportunity to be here. I would so much rather spend my Tuesday night in a dirty frat basement drinking vodka that cost seven dollars, but I realized that grades - while they don't define you - are important. Working hard is important.

Internships, at this point in time, are pretty much imperative, and students seek them out from all over the country. Unfortunately, this creates intense competition. To intern, a candidate must have a competitive resume which includes a GPA that is at least somewhat impressive. I'm not arguing that you need a 4.0, but a resume that is balanced between clubs or greek life, a possible part time job, and a GPA that shows you are a dedicated student is extremely important.

Another factor that is important to consider is the road you wish to take after college, if that includes grad school your GPA will be examined, and your course rigor will be considered. It seems that in this day and age, grad school is becoming the norm. To continue your higher education, you must apply again to be a freshman for the third time. At this point, your GPA and overall resume will be carefully examined. Your extra few hours in the library on a Tuesday night will be reflected, and this is the time they will really work in your favor.

College is fun as hell, but it is also a time to find out how you work best under pressure and how to manage your time properly. Focusing on your grades is important, it can land you your dream internship or get you into the grad school you never thought you could go to. Going out is awesome, but so is the satisfaction of an A and success. Work hard, play hard. That's what college is about (and not wasting your parents money).