Things I’ve Learned My Freshman Year

20 Things I've Learned My Freshman Year
20 Things I’ve Learned My Freshman Year

   Woa, I am not longer a freshman. Not so while  ago I was packing all my stuff into two suitcases and working on my Visa, and a year went by.

When I moved to Philadelphia to start my career at Drexel University I was scared. It was a good kind of scared, but I was reading a lot about what is it like to be freshman. I looked at packing tips, things you shouldn’t do your first day and a list of things a typical freshman would do (oh boy did I try not to do any of them)

After reading tons and tons of those articles, I wanted to be there and put what was written down on practice. And even if I did, I failed many times, I took the wrong classes (partially because a @#?! guy told me to and I believed him), I made friends and I lost them. But you know what? I survived!  I did it, I completed my freshman year feeling accomplished and happy.  And I want to share with you the things that I’ve learned so far.

  1. there is a big chance that the friends you made the first week of class will no longer be in your life:  and to be honest, there is nothing wrong with that. The first week of class is filled with people trying to meet anybody, so you will be friends with whoever you find. Weeks will go by and you will meet people on your floor and in your classes, and the friend you met on the line for fries will find other friends too.
  2. but there is also a chance that you will be best friends: how many people find their person the first week of classes? Kuddos to you people! For me, it took me more than a week (Well, two or three weeks) to meet the girl who became one of my best friends, and then, we expanded our group.
  3. forget about stereotypes, but don’t be shocked when someone asks you about your accent, your hair or sexual orientation. There are people that have never been near someone who is different than them, and sometimes their curiosity comes out as an attack. Unless they are aggressive or directly insulting you, don’t feel offended.
  4. go to class: and not just your body, but mind as well. Take notes, ask questions and answer whatever the professor asks. You will learn that way, and it will be easier when you actually have to study.
  5. cafeteria food is okay. It’s not heaven on earth, but you will survive a year of it. Most universities make you pay for it with your tuition, so don’t waste the money and eat that surprise meat thing.
  6. homemade food is heaven on earth: no need to explain this.
  7. plan ahead: buy a planner, use your phone’s calendar, use post its. Anything that will remind you what you have to do. Your schedule will change and you will have time between classes that you should use for something productive.
  8. go to the gym, and try to be as healthy as you can. those pizza deliveries at 2 a.m happen, and if you live near an Insomia Cookie store you are screwed.
  9. see what’s the best schedule for you: for me, it was early classes. Yeah, i’m one of those weirdos. I found out that I rather have early classes and have the afternoon for myself than the other way around. I will wake up at 7 am, go to the gym and then my classes, and by 7p.m i was done with my day so I could go out, visit my friends dorms or just binge watch something on Netflix (i might have or might have not watched 7 episodes of Gossip Girl during mid-terms)
  10. your roommate can be your bff, your worst enemy or just your roommate:  it is not always a perfect situation, but what do you expect when two strangers are put together in a room based on a survey?  My roommate and I were not friends, we did talk, and we shared food and comments now and then, but we never went out together, we never shared our deepest secrets. And it was perfectly fine for us. We got along just fine, we respected each others’ spaces and we were silent while the other one was sleeping.  Then, on the end of the hallway there was this room full of drama and fights, and in the room across from that two girls from the same sorority that shared everything and loved each other to death. It can happen.
  11. take advantage of what your school has to offer: we can rent computers in the library and our gym is free for students. There is a shuttle bus that will take you to the city and tons of free networking events (with free food!). take advantage of everything you can.
  12. DON’T BUY TEXTBOOKS UNTIL THE PROFESSOR SAYS SO! yes, that deserves caps on. And even if your professor says you need it, ask for what. My anthropology professor wanted the book for quizes that were posted online. you could do every quiz the same day. I had that book for a whole quarter instead of just.
  13. use your syllabus, it is the bible of your class.
  14. ratemyprofessor.com will save your life. make sure to check your professors before going to that class.
  15. you will fail some exams and maybe a couple of papers, and that is fine! don’t give up and keep studying.
  16. join organizations and clubs: it is one of the best ways to make new friends and keep your mind off school work. Keep in mind that there are so many organizations to chose from, and it is a great idea to join something that is related to your career.
  17. try new things: go to parties you will never go before, try to write for the newspaper, try, try, try. It is your time to find yourself and what you actually like, and you will never know what’s out there if you are always on your comfort zone.
  18. talk to your professor: going to office hours seem so scary, but professors are there to help you!  My journalism professor offered office hours every week before her class, so we can show her our stories and she will give us one on one critique and how to improve it.
  19. it is important to go to events and out with your friends,  but consider having me time at least once every two weeks. You are always surrounded by people, and you will need down time.
  20. STUDY ABROAD! i studied abroad in an intensive program that was in Haiti, a place I will never even dream of going.  I am considering going to Madrid, ( schedule conflict), and once I am there, i will try to travel. After college it will be hard to find time to travel or go outside your hometown, and by studying abroad not only will you enrich your knowledge but you will have a once in a life time experience.

and finally, you will survive no matter how difficult a situation is. enjoy your freshman year that you will have just one!

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5 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Syllabus

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Ah, the first day of class. You get the rush of getting to know your professor and your classmates, and what the class will be about. For college student is the day to get your syllabus, the bible of the class. Your syllabus contains important information that will be extremely useful during your term in that class. Some students forget about it, and let it die n the bottom of their backpacks. But truth to be told, using your syllabus can help you get good grades and be on the good side of the professor.
Using my syllabus as a guide for the class is what help me get an A. I went back to it and see what chapters I had to read for the week, when the exams were being held and the guidelines for the papers and projects. Here is my way of taking advantage of the syllabus:

Grab Your Planner:  and write all the deadlines down. I write them down in red, and that way I can know right away that I have a deadline coming soon.


Readings: it is so common for students to buy textbooks for classes and never use them, and it is because the university sends you the books that are normally required for that course. Some professors decide to go with another edition,  with a book that is completely different from the one that was assigned, or they will send PDFs to you. On your syllabus you will find the information about the book you will need, as well as the edition and printer.
Furthermore, you will have the readings that are assigned each week. Sometimes you will have to read chapter 6 before chapter 1, and chapter 8 right after reading chapter 9. Keeping track with your syllabus will save you a lot of time.
Contact Informationat the begging of the syllabus, you will find the professors information, as well as office hours. Write them down in your notebook or planner and be sure to have it handy, You might need it to ask your professor about the upcoming exam or to send him/her a paper that is due.
Deadline Spreadsheet: on top of using your planner, you should create a spreadsheet with the deadlines of all your classes and hang it near your studying place. My planner includes homework that is assigned during class, meetings, gym and my to do list for the day. It is normal that a deadline will get lost or that I forget to check my planner. When I go to my desk and see the spreadsheet, it is easier to have all the deadlines on track.
Projects: with a packed semester o quarter, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Syllabus normally contain the information needed for your projects ,and that way you can start them as soon as the first day and be on top of your gamehow do you use your syllabus? do  you find them usefull or completely useless?

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Your Complete Guide on How to Survive Finals Week

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    It is finals week, and the library becomes your house. Caffeine becomes your best friend and your textbooks your worst enemiesSome people call it hell week, others decide to just black out and forget about it. Me? I make the best out of it. As stressful as it is, finals week is not that bad for me. I manage to do all I have to do, and have enough hours of sleep.  I realized that finals week can be just another week if you learn how to manage your time, eat the right food and learn how to study in the right way.

 

Eating:
it is imperative that you eat well. It is even more important to fuel your brain with nutrients that will help you study and achieve your goal. If you eat just carbs and a bag (or two) of chips every time you open a book, your brain will get tired, and your body will be too.  Feed your body with  good food!
apples: it is weird, but apples are supposed to be better than caffeine when it comes to keeping you awake. Plus, an apple a day keeps the doctor away!
blueberries:  they are not just delicious and great antioxidants (helloo beautiful skin!) but blueberries will help you improve short term memory. And you know, short memory is the first step towards long term memory! Is that an A on your math exam?
nuts: if you need something crunchy go for nuts instead of Tostitos. nuts have tons of vitamins and nutrients and will help you with cognitive decline.


Time Management:
it sounds scary, right? how are you going to study those 5 chapters of biology, solve all the physics problems, read the novel for your English class and your final paper?
    to do lists: writing down what you have to do during the day will help you stay organized. Maybe you are not a total freak when it comes to organizing, and color coding doesn’t work for you, but having at least a post it with the things that most be done will help you visualize,  have a sense of achievement and a reminder that you have to do certain things. How many times have you been in your bed, about to fall asleep and you remember you have homework for the next day?
planner:  im not recommending this just because i am addicted to my planner, but because it actually works. to do lists are great, but having a place where you can visualize the bigger picture is the key to success. Write down the dates, when you will be studying, and when you will be having me time.
pomodoro technique: i wrote a whole post about this. If you focus on your math problems for 25 minutes, have a small break and then move to another task you will accomplish more.

chunks: and I’m not talking about chocolate chunks. normally finals are cumulative, and if you start studying from day one, the only thing you will have to worry about during finals’ week is reviewing. Study hard for your midterms, review your notes after your classes, read the book as soon as it is assigned and you will do great during this week.

Studying:
the hardest part
    write it down:  it is proved that writing down the information will help you retain it better. When I have to study I take hand-written notes and then, when I’m done I re-write them in a prettier way. I read my notes a couple of times and that helps me retain the information and actually understanding it better.
    extra credit: I am an overachiever. I will do everything I have to do, plus more. When it comes to extra credit I am the kind of girl who will do it even if I already have an A in the class. You should do the same. Extra credit is not just about having extra points in your final grade, but it will help you learn more about the class, it will show interest and worst case scenario, you do badly at your exam, you will have something that will compensate that.
use the syllabus: it is the last week of class and of course you will forget about this, but normally the syllabus has important information that can help you study in a better way. It can contain the exact pages you will need to learn, or the concepts.
flashcards:  personally, im old fashioned and i bbuy flashcards and write on them. But there are also apps that will help you with that. Flashcards is the best way to quiz yourself and memorize information for your exams
Breaks:
gym:
going to the gym seems like the last thing you want to do during finals’ week, but it is the perfect break for your brain and body. You’ve been cramming on work and tiring your brain, and obviously you don’t want to do the same to your body. But when you excersice, your body created endorphins, your brain gets more oxygen and you will be able to think more clearly and retain more information. So go for a run or a bike ride and you will feel much better. Plus, after you take a shower you will be so refresh that going back to study wont be a hassle.
    nap: i don’t recommend this one because there is a high chance you will wake up feeling worst than before. If you are one of the crazy people who decided to pull an all nighter, then you should take a small nap. An hour and a half is a full REM cycle, and it is the ideal amount of time for a nap. Your brain needs to rest, so do you. Go ahead and fell into Morpheus arms.
fro-yo: caffeine seems like your best friend while studying, and if you are going out with your friends you will choose to go to Starbucks. Going for fro-yo is a great way to keep your body caffeine free and a way to relax with friends. Maybe setting time to do so is impossible,  but planning on having at least one break a day will help you go through this stressful time.
And my last tip: believe in yourself! you can conquer this week and you will. Good lick with your exams!

what are your tips for finals week?

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Things I’ve Learned My First Semester

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Well, my first quarter of university is over. As cliche as it sounds i did learn a lot of things. I’m here to share my wisdom.
there are some classes that are easy A, and they are so easy that you will lack motivation to do well. since they are easy, work hard so you can get that A on your transcript!
go to class, even if you dont feel like it. Unless you are sick or out of town go! You will do better if you do.
cafeteria food is not that bad, you just have to get used to it and see which one is good and which one isn’t.
on that note, nothing feels better than homemade food.
get organized. in high school you had classes form 7am to 3pm, but at college you will have classes throughout the day, so you better organize yourself as when you will do homework, projects, and go to class.
get involved. maybe the first semester is way to soon, but getting involved in school activities will not only build up your resume, but will keep you busy and will help you  make friends!
there are some projects that you can do the night before, and there are others that will simply take 3 weeks to get done.
all-nighters are not a must,  in fact, i havent pull and all-nighter since i started college.

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Finals Survival Guide

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Yes, is that time of the year, and no, I dont mean the trees changing colors and Starbucks selling Pumpkin Spice Latte.  It’s time for final’s study sessions. Nights full of stress are here. You will put all-nighters, you will cry and you will procrastinate. You will kind of suffer this week, but as they said: what doesnt kill you makes you stronger! You can survive this week and this study sessions, I believe in you!

playlists: listen to Hans Zimmer on Pandora. Classic music will not only help you concentrate, but your brain actually works better after listening to classic music for a while. I know that listening to Mozzart is not part of your plan, but what about Pirates of the Carribean or Lion King songs?
water: stay hydrated! you will feel so tired if your body needs water, so treat it right and drink up!
coffee: but dont over do it. yes, my blog’s name is coffee beans because i am the kind of girl who will have three shots of espresso every morning (shame on me!), but overdoing your caffeine will not be good for your brain during study sessions
group: study with people will make you realize what you have been doing wrong, or it will make you practice even more while you explain things to them!
healthy snacks: of course a bag of tostitos and queso is on the top of your list, but it will be better for you to eat an apple or some crackers with hummus! treat your body and brain right and they will pay it back!
breaks: schedule some breaks! you will need it. It might seem like you should work for 12 straight hours, but believe me, a 20 minute break will help you instead of hurting you!
planner: plan your study time, and stick to it! if you know that you have a bio exam tomorrow, dont study for psych!
bring everything with you: forget about those back-and-forth trips to your desk! pack everything you will need to study!
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Go Greek

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I just finish my rush week and I coulnd’t bee happier.  Five months ago I would have said “no, I will never rush” but men, I was wrong. Rushing is a great experience and a must-do even if you wont be part of the greek life. Trying something new, having fun and meeting new people is part of this process. Maybe it seems overwhelmig, and it is, but here are some tips for you to take the most out of it:

go with an open mind:  and I can’t stress this enough. When I decided to rush, I had just one house in my mind. I said that if I get a bid in another house, I will drop out because is the only one I liked. But then I decided to have an open mind about every house, and I had fun! It was hard for me to choose at the end, because I ended up liking more than one house.
look for the dress code: normally you have to go business casual and one day you will have to wear cocktail attire. Each school has its tradition and dress code, so ask for it and respect it. Believe me, it will be horrible if you dont follow it.
and wear comfortable shoes: you will have to walk around and stand up a lot, so dont wear uncomfortable shoes.
eat the food: the sisters spend money on the food they have on the table for you to eat. Eat some, and dont be afraid of them judging you about that. They will want you to eat it.
ask questions: about everything. the house might seem one way but if you dont ask you will never know. Ask about the philanthropy and the bib-little program. Dont do it as a questionnaire thou, just ask more about the sorority itself.
dont ask boring questions thou:  ask also about their favorite TV show, what makes them happy
ask about the alumni: there are tons of successful people that were part of the greek life, so ask about that. It will be so cool to learn that your role model might have been part of the same sorority as you.
be yourself: and I think this is the most important piece of advice ever. You be you, and you will find your place at the end of rush.
think this is a job interview: so dont talk about booze or boys. Dont talk about the crazy party you just went to nor the amount of alcohol you can handle. This process is a perfect opportunity to practice your interview skills

and lastly, have fun. Even if you dont accept your bid or dont end up in any sorority, this week will be an amazing experience for you.

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Packing For College Tips

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I know. You probably have already moved to your dorm. You already unpacked everything and yes, most likely you don’t advice on something that for you isn’t new. Before coming to college I spent tons of hours on Pinterest trying to find the perfect “College Packing List” out there. I swear, I read at least 25 packing lists, and I tried to merge them, but why in the world would I need a pizza cutter if the pizza comes already cut? Or why should I bring  a screwdriver if the furniture is already given by the university? Yes, maybe some people need this things, but I dont. I did my own packing list thinking about what would I actually need, and what was written in some of those packing lists on the internet. I think that each person needs different stuff, and a packing list should be personal. Yet, I am here to share with you some tips that helped me a lot when I packed:

one: forget about the shirt that says the year you graduated and the one you were given at band, cheerleading camp or any other club. Yes, this are the best pj’s out there, but you will receive so many of them when you are in college that the old ones will be sitting there, at the end of your tiny, college wardrobe.

two: talk to your roommates.  It will be awkward if both of you bring the exact same thing for the room. Talk and see who will bring the rug and the trash can.

three: buy your shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and more once you move in. This things take space, and maybe they will spill on your suitcase. I bet that you will have a drugstore or a place to buy this things near campus. You will save space and once you are unpacked you can focus on your bathroom.

four: at least two sets of sheets and two sets of towels. You will need one while the other is being washed.

five: don’t packed a lot of shoes! Pack ones you can wear with different clothes and pack comfortable ones too.

six: read your school policy. Maybe you are not allowed to bring that thing you want to, but takes so much space.

hope this tips help you when you have to pack for college.


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Editor In Chief

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When I was six years old I went to this beach club with my uncles and my cousins. My cousin Stephi was an eight-year-old back then, and I wanted to be “a grown up” like her so badly that I imitated her in almost everything she did.  When we arrived at our three day vacation destination we ran up to the new stand; I wanted some chocolate and Stephi wanted something to read. She bought a magazine called “TU” (you in Spanish), and just to play grown-up, I ask for one too. I followed my uncles to our beach spot, and sat there with my magazine in hand. Words like “sex”, “clubbing”, “miniskirts” appeared written in the pages. Words unknown to me, words that were taboo for so long.  I didn’t understand most of those words until I turned 11-12 and receive and awful amount of information about my body and *cough cough* men’s private parts. But before hitting puberty, I kept reading TU Magazine. Truth to be told, it was a poorly written and edited magazine. Pictures didn’t belong to certain articles, and some overlapped the words printed in the page. Sometimes words were missing and some pages were upside down. It was a mess. But I bought it for anyways. I spent afternoons pretending I was the chief of the magazine (at that age, the term “Editor in Chief” was unknown to me). I corrected some grammar and spelling mistakes. I saw the models in the fashion section, and choose the ones that were good enough for the next issue. I circled the pictures that belong to other articles and wrote the words that were missing.  It was my own game, and I loved it.

Correcting that magazine wasn’t the only thing I loved to do as a child. Of course playing with Barbie’s and running around the yard were part of my childhood, along with other activities. I also enjoyed writing in a Word Document short stories. Back then I found my dream career, even if I didn’t realize it.

I was a kid with an ambition: work in a magazine someday. When I grew up I added little things to my dream job. Not only do I want to work for a magazine, but one that is located in the Hearst Tower. Rebecca Bloomwood walked through those doors aiming to get her dream job, and so will I.  I will make that 6-year-old girl dream come true. I’ll be an Editor in Chief, a great one.


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