HealthSkills

Like many returning college students, the next few weeks will be a whirlwind of textbook hunting, syllabus sighing, and alarm clock slamming. Being a senior (and preparing for a thesis… or two…), I would love to say that I’m used to the First Week hustle and bustle. But like the Freshmen who are moving into the dorms, and like the underclassmen who I’ve come to know, I end up losing a bit of sleep due to all the excitement. There are a few things that I’m sure people get nervous about, like meeting professors, finding your place, and academics. Here are a few things I tell myself, and they might help you out too!

“I’ve done this before.”

Freshman or senior, this applies. You’ve taken those SATs, AP exams, midterms, and finals. You’ve met new people, made new friends, and survived an awful prom night with terrible acne (eck). College is a little better because you (hopefully) like what you’re doing and you can change your mind if you don’t. If you don’t know what you’re doing, this is a good chance to explore. The tip here is to be confident in yourself. You might be worried about the workload, and the syllabus may look intimidating, but that’s okay. You’ll meet upperclassmen who can tutor you and classmates who will study with you. You’ll meet people who relate to you more than ever. Do your best and fear not. Take one step at a time.

“I am who I want to be.”

This comes in handy often. In a new environment, you might find yourself wondering if you will fit in somewhere. You might see yourself change a bit (your clothes, your music tastes, your interests). That’s a normal and healthy thing to do. Don’t feel too pressured to do something if you don’t think it fits you, but do embrace things that seem to feel right. For example, I didn’t particularly like watching movies until I got into college. I was a bookworm and that was the end of it. Now I try to watch one or two a month because it gives me something to talk to people. I didn’t become a movie ­snob (a term I use endearingly), but I am giving it a shot and it has added to my view of the world. You are always you, and no matter who you meet, who your new professors are, or who your peers are, that one fact will never change. Be open-minded but be honest with yourself. This will help you keep a good balance.

“It’s okay to mess up.”

This applies for both of the previous things, but people forget this one often. Anxiety, nervousness, fear. These things come from the feeling that we humans can’t understand or control something. That’s natural and everybody feels these emotions. You might be nervous about a test, or you failed one and you’re afraid of failing the next one. But who will find you ten years from now and ask you, “How did you do on that one quiz in Freshman year Design in that class in room 912 in building C with Professor Twitts?” Probably nobody. And who’s going to come up to you and ask, “Do you remember that one time when you went to that party and stood around awkwardly?” Also probably nobody. Chances are, everyone is feeling like you – they’re freaking out about who they are and what they want to be – and they’re so occupied with that they won’t remember the little things that might consume you at the moment.

So incoming Freshman and fellow seniors, and everybody in between… are you ready for a new semester? Put your worries and fears aside. All of your experiences will be great stories one day, so have no fear, and go forward with confidence!

Image: Unsplash

Education

Not only does a new year bring new goals, new classes, and new friends, but January also means that a new semester is starting. For high school seniors, this semester is critical. It is the last few months that you will spend with friends you’ve known for years, it is the time to create a legacy for your class, and it is a time where major life decisions are being made, such as where to attend college or what to study during your gap year.

The countdown begins for seniors, and it is bittersweet because these are the “last time” experiences that you will cherish for a while. You have five months to make your last semester of high school awesome – these 6 ideas will help you make it a semester you’ll never forget.

Designated dress-up day. When I was a senior in high school, my classmates and I wanted to leave a legacy. We wanted to do something memorable. What we decided to do was coordinate dress-up day for one day of every month. This took a lot of effort even though we were a fairly small senior class because in order to pull off the stunt, every single senior had to be dressed up – it had more impact this way. Every month all of the seniors would meet and decide the theme of the month. On dress up day, all of the other non-senior students were thoroughly entertained and surprised. Dress-up day also brought our senior class closer together and gave everyone something fun to participate in. Dress-up ideas include: toga, 70’s, the Great Gatsby, Under Construction, school colors, Hawaiian, mismatched, sporty, ugly sweater, one color, twins, and alphabet.

Connect with teachers. High school teachers are fantastic and they have been there throughout major growing moments in your life. Get to know your teachers better so that when you graduate, you can keep in touch and visit. The loads of homework your teachers assign can be annoying, but don’t let that deter you from getting to know them better.

Get to know your classmates. If you have found your close group of friends that you are comfortable with, that’s awesome. But remember that there is always room for more friends. Get to know classmates you didn’t have the chance to talk to last semester. The friends you make this semester might be your friends for life. Take the time to talk to people you don’t know before graduating and leaving for good.

Nix the drama. High school is filled with unnecessary, stressful drama. And guess what? It’s never worth it! Reject participating in drama and allow yourself to have a stress-free semester that you can actually enjoy with friends. Don’t let petty drama ruin your last days of high school.

Step outside of your comfort zone. Your last semester of high school is the perfect time to try something you didn’t have the opportunity to do during the last three and a half years. Step out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there. If you are shy and didn’t have the chance to try your hand at drama, audition for the school play. Always wanted to make a 3-pointer? Tryout for the basketball team. Your last semester of high school should be fun and filled with new experiences that could change the course of your life. Who knows, maybe the pottery class you decided to take last minute will inspire you to major in Art in college! Use this time to try new activities and discover new things about yourself.

Go to the Prom. Whether you go with a date, your best friend, or your sister, go to prom and have fun. Try not to worry about being asked or how you look. In a few years there’s a good chance you won’t even remember the dress you wore, but I can guarantee you will remember how much fun you and your best friends had laughing together. Many seniors opt out of going to prom, but it’s one night of your life and you can make it the night you want it to be.

How are you going to make your last semester of high school awesome?

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