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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College Life | 

Scheduling Your Semester

...don't mess this part up

Registration is right around the corner, and with it comes the typical anxieties: Am I taking enough credits? Will the classes fill up? Will the registration service even work this time?

Unsurprisingly, the fairly mundane task of registering for classes can be annoyingly stressful, because college will just fuck you hard sometimes. So here are our tips to to do this easy, breezy style.

First, know what your degree requirements are, find out what classes will be required in the following semester, or which classes span two semesters, and plan around those. They are the keystones--And if you fuck with a keystone, it will all come tumbling down.

Anyway, get your required shit sorted out first. Then, if you have room, choose electives that you're interested in--and also make sure they fulfill other degree requirements. For example, I need 45 credits in 300-plus level courses, so I'm taking an Art History elective at 300 level. This, coincidentally, helps me complete half of my 6-credit collateral requirement. Ya dig?

After all that, write out the schedule to make sure class times don't conflict, and that you're not taking four two-hour lectures on the same day because you WILL die. Spread it out over the week, and yes, that includes Friday. Your education is more important than being able to cut loose on Thirsty Thursdays.

Finally, on registration day, wake up early. Classes fill up the fastest within the first 2 hours of registration, so do yourself a favor and try to be one of the first ones. Otherwise, you'll just spend the rest of the day whipping together a Franken-schedule full of classes you don't need or like.

One final tip: If a class fills up, and you absolutely have to take it--like, you'll drop dead then and there if you can't get in--talk to the professor and see if they'll let you in anyway. Usually, one more student in 200-person lecture really won't make a difference to them.

A great schedule can make or break not only your academic life, but your social life as well, so get this part right.

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College Life | 

Why Home is Never Really Home Once You Go to College

If home is where the heart is, then we're all fucked.

There's no place like home for the holidays, but once you get there, it just doesn't feel the same. You get to see your friends and family, you have an overwhelming sense of familiarity as you take the back roads and shortcuts, but that place you once knew so well isn't the same. This is because you have grown. All you have at home are memories--and once you've ventured into the outside world, it's OK to feel too big for that little town you grew up in.

Once you make your own life, you have trouble accepting the one that your parents created for you. Going home means living under their roof again--You no longer can no longer do whatever you want, and you have to play by their rules again. You will probably feel tied down and repressed, because you are so used to living the life you want and not the one they want you to live.

Your room is now your sibling's, or the office, or the guest room. You become a sort of guest in your own home. Your house has a smell that you have never noticed before. Everything is moved around. There's even new furniture. You live out of a suitcase because what was once your closet is now used for storage.

Miscellaneous things happen, like you didn't help pick out or decorate the Christmas tree. You see your parent's gray hair and it stresses you out. You go out to breakfast with an old friend and you see a table of high schoolers and you don't recognize a single face, but they stare at you anyway. You go to a party, and the majority of people there are so young. You think that they shouldn't be there, but then reflect on what you were doing when you were their age, and reconsider.

What was once homesickness is now nostalgia. You realize you no longer miss home, you miss that idea of home, the idea is something that your hometown cannot fulfill anymore. You are not searching for a specific place; you are looking for a feeling. And you remember why you left in the first place.

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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: 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?