What I Learned From My Semester Home
College Life |  Source: @Sit

What I Learned From My Semester Home

Few people care. The rest are just curious.

1. Social media is the enemy.
When I first arrived home, I'd religiously scroll through all the drunk Snapchat stories at parties and the bars every Thursday through Saturday night. I found myself missing those wild adventures as I laid in bed about to fall asleep.

The FOMO was real. However, I reminded myself that only a few weeks ago I'd been doing that exact same thing and yet still felt miserable, so it was easy to snap back to reality.

2. I had many acquaintances, but select people I consider real friends.
I realized once I got home that although I knew hundreds of people from school, there were only about three I cared to keep in contact with. I may have had friendly conversations with the guy in my British Lit class and borrowed clothes with the girls who lived in the dorm next door, but none of these interactions provided me with any evidence that any of these people were worth staying in touch with.

3. Few people care; the rest are just curious.
Adding onto my second point, when news of my absence first broke, my phone was inundated with texts inquiring about where I was, along with my friends at school informing me of the ridiculous amount of people who'd asked about me. All I can really do is laugh.

None of these people give a damn about how I'm doing. They just want to feel "in the know." I owe absolutely no one any explanation as to why I left school and it's their prerogative if they wish fabricate stories however they please.

4. My parents aren't so bad after all.
I didn't expect to bond with my old folks so much, but nonetheless I'm grateful we did. Most of my friends are away at school, so my parents willingly filled the void-- I accompanied them on their Saturday night dinners, went to see movies, went shopping, and did all kinds of fun activities.

I confided in them about relationships, my social life, and career goals, and they were surprisingly non-judgmental. Granted, they didn't completely abandon their roles as disciplinarians, but it was refreshing for both of us to get to know each other in a different light.

5. My unhappiness wasn't me; it was a product of the school.
I came home in a state of complete confusion and unease and prayed time away would allow to discover clarity in myself. It did.

My time home enabled me to pinpoint specific reasons as to why I'd been perpetually unhappy, and essentially every one of them involved some aspect of the school itself. It became startlingly obvious that if I wanted to get myself back on track, I needed to begin in a completely and incomparably different environment.

6. There is no rush to finish.
At first I was concerned my decision to take a semester off would force me to graduate later, but then I realized... who the hell cares if it does?

There is absolutely no rush to begin life in the *real* world, and in the scheme of things, it's pretty insignificant whether or not you graduate with your friends. It's not your high school graduation.

7. It's never too late to start over.
Following point number six, whether you took a semester off to transfer schools or to evaluate what exact vision you see for your life, it's never too late to abruptly alter your course of action. A semester home will provide you with a different perspective on your life that you may not have had back at school and could lead to some game changing epiphanies.

Don't fight it. Switch schools if you have to. Major in a field you never expected to intrigue you. Whatever it is, listen to both your head and heart and then run with it. It's your life and only you can decide its outcome.

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End Of The Semester DO's And DON'Ts

DON'T worry- C's get degrees!

Summer is almost here. You can almost taste not having to drag yourself out of bed to a boring lecture. It's so close.

Before you get there, there's still some semester to finish up. Here are some do's and don'ts to ending the semester.

DO figure out your storage/packing/escape plan now rather than later.

DON'T stop attending lecture just because it's nice out, unless you do want to fail your final.

DO enjoy the great outdoors when you're not in class by explore hiking trails, natural parks, and lakes around your campus.

DON'T give up on sinking grades, this is the time to breath them back to life.

DO use all those tutoring resources they bragged about on your college tour to help out with finals.

DON'T stress yourself to death, your final grade will be what it will be whether you spent two weeks pulling your hair out or not.

DO turn a professor you've loved this semester into a mentor by asking them to lunch or coffee.

DON'T be afraid to take a risk and make a move on your class crush (you have four months to recover from the potential embarrassment).

DO spend time with your senior friends while you can before they're released into the real world.

DON'T wait until the due date to start any final papers, projects, or presentations.

DO explore the best of campus eats your haven't tried yet.

DON'T forget to book your flight home... may or may not be speaking from experience.

DO use packing as an excuse to de-clutter your wardrobe and toss anything you never wore this year.

DON'T forget to get a gift for Mother's Day, which falls right when you get home.

DO make plans to see friends over the summer, and stick to them!

DON'T hesitate to reach out to someone you wish you'd had more opportunities to spend time with over the year.

DO go support a sports team you've never watched before, you may discover a passion for watching woman's golf.

DON'T burn any bridges with professors or other students, you might be leaving for four months but those things always come back to haunt you.

DO host a potential freshman and show them what you love about your school.

DO hit the gym to de-stress during finals while workin' on that summer bod.

DON'T kill yourself worrying about your GPA, just remember C's get degrees.

DO enjoy these last few weeks with your friends and look forward to your four month brain break.

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College Life |  Source: @ra3hong (edited)

End Of The Semester De-Stress Playlist

Deep breaths, people. Deep breaths.

You would think that with the end of the semester on the horizon and summer just close enough that you can finally start to taste it, that spirits would be high and stress low. However, I think all of us can agree that that is absolutely not the case.

In fact now more than ever our stress levels seem to be sky rocketing. Figuring out how to turn that D into an A+ within a matter of a couple weeks can be seriously overwhelming.

That's why I curated this little playlist for you. If you're looking just to wind down and chill, this mellow R&B playlist is just what you need.

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College Life |  Source: FlockU

Slaying Spring Semester Finals

I did not slay my spring semester finals, they slayed me with a concussion.

During finals week of my sophomore year, I sustained a concussion. An alcohol and sex sustained concussion.

It was the last Saturday before finals finished and I was planning on staying in to work. Two of my good friends had just finished their finals and were looking for someone to endorse their bad decisions. I was the one they pleaded with to come out.

I'm a salesman's wet dream, easily convinced to do anything, and with even less convincing needed to get drunk and stoopid with friends. "Alright, but I'm not going to drink a lot or stay out too late." Said the girl who would drink a lot and stay out too late. Me. I was that girl.

We pregamed with Moscato and Bacardi Dragon Berry (together), which tasted like very, very sweet juice and got us very, very drunk. As we made our way to a bar, I spotted a boy I had made out with a few weeks before. I knew I wanted more, and when I spotted him, the wine, Bacardi, and I unanimously decided this was the night I would get more.

The boy, we'll call Steve, invited me back to his frat to smoke. On the way to the house, another boy, the one who sent me in a tizzy with his dirty talk, shot me a "wyd" message. Once I was done with Steve, I knew I was finding my way to the other boy, Jack.

Once at the frat house, Steve realized he had no weed and no room (because he was a freshmen and didn't officially move in yet). So, we just continued drinking and hanging in a common area.

After a little while, I was ready to see Jack. In modern day chivalrous form, Jack offered to pick me up at the frat house (even though he belonged to a different frat) and walk us back to my house.

I told Steve I had to get home so I could wake up early to write essays. He walked me to the door for it to open up to Jack. I explained he was my friend's boyfriend who had offered to walk back with me. Yes, I'm an asshole.

This is where the night gets blurry (partly because of the drinks and partly an effect of the concussion). From what I've gathered, he came back to my sorority house where we aggressively fucked on my XL twin bed. So aggressively, in fact, I repeatedly hit my head against a wall. Then, in round two, I had another big head hit against the wall. He slept over and I woke up with (what I thought was) a weird and powerful hangover.

All day long, something was off. I couldn't focus, lights and my computer screen hurt my eyes, I was sensitive to sounds, and just really spacey. I tried to nap in the middle of the day, but all I could do was stare forward for two hours. That night, my roommate eventually said, "Dude, I think you have a concussion."

I suddenly remembered the drunk head banging sex and realized she just might be right. An appointment at my health center the next day confirmed I was concussed, resulting in a medical excuse to delay the rest of my finals and final grades. And I also had to deal with packing up, driving home alone, and preparing for my internship's start the next week.

I ended my semester and finals week with an awful bang (in bed and on my head); I did not slay my spring semester finals, they slayed me. Heed my warning, dear readers, and use these tips to actually slay your finals.

Schedule in advance
Figure out how much time you need to prepare and complete all of your finals. If you know you have something on a particular day, like meetings, concerts, or formals, compensate by scheduling more work at a different time. Try to steadily do work on all of your subjects each day, rather than jam packing one subject after another. If you jam-pack, you might not devote as much time as you'd like to every subject. This will also keep each day moving faster.

Wake up early
If you want to be able to relax at night or to max out your day, wake up early to start work. Additionally, rising early will allow you to get to the library at opening to claim a good spot.

Don't go crazy before you're done
Focus on work first. I'm not saying don't go out at all, but don't get wasteyfaced and end up concussed.

Find time to say bye to everyone
One of my least favorite parts of college is the end of each semester; it feels like there is no culminating endpoint. We all finish at different times and I often go without saying bye to friends. Carve out time during and after finals to bid farewell to your buds.

Don't leave as soon as you're done
You finally finished, don't run away! Take it easy, go to parties, get in some last fun with the graduating seniors. The later it gets, the rowdier it gets. Plus, you can take your time packing up all of your things, which will probably relieve a lot of stress.

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College Life |  Source: passionpassport.com

What I've Learned From Seeing the World

The best part? The people.

When I was 15, my mom passed away after a 10-month battle with colon cancer. It was the absolute worst heartbreak I have ever experienced. I'm convinced she was the greatest mom in the entire world. She devoted all her time to volunteering and was so beautiful and kind that everyone from guys at my high school to the McDonald's employee that made her coffee every morning both gawked and felt like they had known her for ages.

In her final hours, with my sisters and me by her side, my mom's last words were telling my siblings and me to "see the world." Fast forward four years and many miles traveled later, this is what I've learned:

The best part will be the people.
From Costa Rica to England to New York City, my favorite part of every trip has been the friendships I've made. At each destination, it amazes me just how wonderful the human spirit is. I sound corny, but other people are the reason I have healed.

If you can travel, go somewhere that's not luxurious first.
My first trip after losing my mom was to Costa Rica, where I stayed in a tiny shack with a host family. Living with next to nothing, the people there were the happiest I've ever met. Their motto was "Pura Vida," which means pure life. I realized how much I had relied on things to try to be happy, and how freeing it is to let go.

There's no time limit.
If you want to see the world, don't worry if you can't go now. But I think it's important to always have a plan for a trip you're excited about and saving for (mine is to take my grandma to Australia).

You're not going to find yourself anywhere.
You will learn a lot about yourself. It's just about letting your best parts show. That's where people like my mom get their "inner light," from, becoming more of who they already are.

You can see a lot of the beauty in the world without going too far.
For the first years after losing my mom, I stayed close to home with the people that loved and knew my mom best. What I learned from hearing their stories, sharing memories, and fighting through heartbreak was that there is so much damn beauty in this world, and you don't have to spend a dime to see it.

If you can't travel, try this. See the world from a new perspective: notice how thankful you are for family, appreciate the landscape you've always seen in a new way, love the life that's passing by so quickly like it's all you've got.

The big adventure, the journey you've been waiting to go on, this is it, and it's too precious to waste a second.

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College Life |  Source: FlockU, Shutterstock

What It Takes To Finish A Course In A Week

Do not try this at home. Please.

A short time ago, I was taking a course online side-by-side with my in-class courses. Honestly, I don't know how many schools do this, but my university has a good distance learning platform and they encourage us to take a couple of courses online while pursuing our degree.

Obviously, this is a completely different ball game than the typical in-class course.

There's no professor to give you due dates for assignments, no friends for you to study with or get encouragement from. With an online course, there's only one absolute. The date you need to finish the course by.

Especially when you're doing on campus courses as well, this can really sneak up on you - it sure as hell snuck up on me. Before I even knew what was going on, my scheduled exam was one week away and when I logged into my account, it was looking very bleak. I was done a grand total of three out of six assignments - four out of the 10 modules of work.

I had one week. I needed to get on my game or I was going to fail the class.

While I don't suggest trying this at home (oh please, please don't subject yourself to this) I figured it was worth explaining exactly what it takes to finish half a course in one week, and still pass the class and the exam (which I'm confident I did - although I have no confirmation yet). Because if you're not careful, it could happen to you. Believe me on this.

You'll need to put yourself in social exile.
This is step one. Cut yourself off. Tell everyone you're on a week long vacation to Antarctica. Do something so that no one's knocking on your door asking if you want to go out for sushi - because if you go, you're probably screwed. Over the course of the week, I think I had one hour-long conversation. That was all I talked to people.

While there might be a distinct sense of this:

You really, really need this week alone. Think of your GPA.

Forget about your other classes.
Do the minimum amount required to keep yourself afloat in your on campus classes. Put off that final paper until after your online course examination. Deal with a potentially bad mark on the weekly math quiz. We're talking about half (or more) of an entire course here. If you don't want to fail it, you're going to have to make some sacrifices.

Don't bother cooking.
I'm not saying don't bother eating - food is one of the most necessary things for when you're deep into a learning session. But cooking? Nah. Cooking takes too much time. Cooking could also end like this if you're not careful, and you don't have time for the aftermath.

That half hour you spent making chicken could be the half hour that determines whether you pass or fail. Live off cereal and yogurt for a few days, and remember - you got yourself into this mess.

If you don't understand something, leave it.
This one depends on what kind of course it is. If course concepts build on one another and you really need to know how to do that calculation before you can move on, then go ahead and email the prof. But if you don't really need it... don't bother. Profs don't always get back to emails as soon as we would like them to and if you're stuck up on an unimportant concept, you're going to lose some valuable time.

Or take a step back.
While you really do need all the time you've got, it's sometimes beneficial to take a step back from the assignment. If you get caught on a concept or everything starts to blur together, take a break and make that dinner. When you come back you'll be looking at it with fresh eyes.

This one happened to me. I was on the last question of the last assignment that I needed to hand in - and for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to finish the question. I went to bed a bit earlier than I'd been planning, slept on it, and came back to it the next morning... only to realize I'd been being a complete dumbass. The answer had practically been staring me in the face.

Or, you could just be a responsible adult and finish the course according to the suggested timeline.
Not being in this situation at all is the best option here. I was really testing fate with this one. But at the same time, I got a bit of a confidence boost. If I can somehow finish a course in a week, anything must be possible... right?