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Posts Tagged ‘first’

Another year older, and maybe even a little wiser, though I have ended the year with more questions than answers. I turned 24 on Christmas Day this year, and I am still shocked at everwhere I have been and everything I have done in those 24 years. It will never cease to amaze me what can all be squeezed into just one year—memories and new understandings fitting in day-to-day life like packing peanuts. Last December I graduated from college with a Bachelor’s degree in English. I moved back home in the beginning of March, went to the San Juan Islands in April, became single in May, went to Dallas, Texas in August for a Mary Kay Convention for the second time, took a road trip to Alabama where I saw friends I made in Italy that I hadn’t seen in two years, and flew to Wyoming for the first time in October to visit my best friend. I even wrote a new song on my guitar about a friend comforting another friend in pain. Recently, my favorite thing has been receiving a VHS player for my birthday. I have three boxes of VHS tapes in my bedroom closet that I was finally able to take down from its dusty shelf. So I spent a lot of the weekend watching old Christmas movies like Annie and Anabelle’s Wish, as well as rediscovering how many Disney movies I have on VHS. If they were unbreakable, I would have been tossing them all in the air to let them fall around me like some would do with money.

I ran my first 5k this year and made a lot of new friends that have become a big part of my life. I have felt the pain of missing loved friends more deeply this year than I have in a long time and discovered that a broken heart truly feels like your insides are cracking in every nook and cranny. I cried a lot more this year than I have in previous years. But that didn’t make it a bad year. I drank too much coffee, spent endless hours listening to music, and slept in too late too often. But I made it through another year with my loan payments up to date and no broken bones or sickness. I’d say I’m doing just fine.

This year has taught me that every single one of us could be better communicators. Especially when it comes to listening. In the midst of wanting to jump in and give our opinion in a conversation, we forget that listening is a significant part of communication. Why should anyone listen to us if we don’t take the time to listen to them? Are we really so prideful that we think what we have to say is more important than what they have to say? You don’t have to agree with the person, but that doesn’t mean you won’t learn or rediscover something. My goal for next year is to also have more conversations that are important. That sounds a little arrogant, but it’s not meant to be. I simply mean that we have too many conversations that are surface-level because that’s what’s comfortable. But there is so much to discuss and discover when we take the extra step to talk about deeper things than the weather. Getting to those topics can be tricky sometimes, so it takes some practice.

I could also use a little more practice when it comes to bravery. For the past two years, I’ve wanted to take my guitar to the nursing home sometime in the week before Christmas and sing Christmas songs to the elderly who may not get many guests if any at all, and maybe even stick around to listen to stories of those willing to talk with me. But I have been afraid to go alone because I have stage freight. I am insecure about my guitar playing abilities since I make mistakes while playing in front of people even though I don’t make mistakes when I’m by myself. But I also have a soft voice, and I don’t know how many would even be able to hear me. I also don’t talk to many people I don’t know. It’s always been hard for me to strike up a conversation with a stranger, even when I want to.

I’m filled to the brim of my glass with love today that I don’t know how to give it out any faster. I’ve been telling a lot of my friends and family the past couple days how much I treasure them, and I find myself in tears most of the time while writing to them. I think that’s partially because of the fact that my monthly gift arrived this morning. But the other half is truly because I feel blessed beyond words. I don’t know what this year would have looked like without them. There are so many hugs yet to give, so many experiences yet to occur, so many people to meet and stories to hear that part of me feels like I’m wasting time sitting here writing this. However, I’m only human, and there are days my glass is tipped over, kind of like how I’d like to flip over the tables of customers that test my patience. But thankfully those days are limited. Emotions for me tend to be overwhelming because they hit me like a train, and sometimes there’s not much I can do to hold them back. I found myself crying quite a bit at work this year, no matter what I told myself to calm down. But I will take those days if it means I can love people more deeply as well.

Only God knows what will become of me by next December. But I’m excited to see where I’m led.

 

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College can be overwhelming at first, but it’s just another part of life. It gets easier, and you’ll end up enjoying at least the parts that don’t involve a lot of homework. You are now studying what you want to do, not what high school is making you take…

But if you feel you want some advice, here’s a couple. Hope they help:

1. First things first, if you can, make a trip to your college and find all your classes before the first day if possible. The first day of my orientation, I got lost twice just trying to get there. If you have an idea of where you’re headed, you’ll have more confidence, and it will be one less thing to worry about. A couple of the buildings my classes are in can get confusing, so you will look less like a freshman if you know where to find your classes as well.

2. College may be a new start for you, and you may want to show off and make new friends, but whatever it is that you do, don’t act all smart-alic in front of your teachers. If you were the jokster of the grade, whoop-dee-do, but your teachers may not find you as funny. Not right now anyway. You have to let them get to know you first—plus then you’ll learn which teachers you can joke around with and the ones that even your dad would hide from.

3. Most of the time, you’ll probably have to be the first to say hi. So far, I’ve only had one person speak up and say hi to me first. If you don’t know what to say, start out by asking what year they are, what major they want to go for, and maybe what other classes they are in to see if you have any more of the same ones. Once they start talking and asking you questions too, it’s easier to think of more things to say. I’m sure they don’t know what to say either. The less awkward it feels, the more comfortable you’ll be. I had a class where no one talked even when the teacher wasn’t in the room…the entire semester it was always quiet, and believe me, it felt awkward. Like I’ve said in previous posts, I’m more of a listener than a talker, but in the beginning of school, you’ll find a lot of freshman not feeling themselves because of a new place, and helping them open up will help you to open too.

4. Look for some hangouts around the college where a lot of people tend to go. On your free time, you can grab some lunch or a book or homework and head over to that area. Maybe you’ll be lucky and meet some friends there. But you won’t make any if you hide in your dorm or at your house all day by yourself. Sometimes people will come up to you first instead, but you have to actually be around people for that to happen. College is a lot more fun and enjoyable when you have friends to share it with. People are already looking for new friends when they get there, so it’s easier than trying to start in the middle of the year when everyone is already getting settled with their new lives. The beginning of the year is the time to take some action.

5. Make sure you are prepared. High school teachers may get a little annoyed if you are always forgetting to bring a pencil, but you will get lectures and “the look” from your professors if you aren’t prepared. In my high school, it wasn’t really “cool” to carry around a backpack, but everyone in college has one. Don’t kill yourself by trying to carry everything by hand. Your arms will die. As long as it doesn’t have Dora the Explorer or Captain Underpants on it, you’ll fit right in.

6. Get involved in extra-curriculars or sororities. If you go to a big school with like 500 kids in each class, it may actually be a little more difficult to make friends, but if you join choir or a capa house, you’ll be more likely to get that best friend bond that you may be looking for if you don’t find it in your roommates. When you join clubs or special classes with people who enjoy some of the same things as you, you find a lot more to talk about. Once you have a friend, he/she can lead you to some of his/her friends, and you can lead him/her to some of your friends, and before you know it, you don’t feel like such an outsider.

7. Put on some clothes. You’re not at the playboy mansion, so skip the lowcut shirts and the shorts that could be swimsuit bottoms. “You want a man to give you the time of day, so leave a little up to the imagination and respect yourself. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and the beholder is anyone you want it to be.” (Saw it on Pinterest, don’t know who said it). And dudes, pull your pants up. I’m not saying wear tight booty jeans–that’s just awkward, but down to the knees is just ridiculous. You might as well just wear boxers to class. I don’t know who said that was attractive anyway. It’s not. Stop it.

8. Get your stuff in on time. Procrastination is the devil. This ain’t high school anymore kiddies, and college professors don’t accept late work as much as high school classes. For each hour of class, you should be doing two hours of homework just for that class. It doesn’t matter if you try hiding yourself in the back, teachers pay attention to your work and start making opinions about you by how you act, how prompt you are, and how much time you put into your work. So do yourself a favor, and get some things done so you don’t have to worry about it. They aren’t gonna go around making sure all your I’s are dotted, they expect you to be prepared, pay attention, and get it done. If you fall behind, good luck catching up. They go easy on you at first, but once the semester gets rolling, you gotta buckle down. Partying is for the weekends and summer. Get your work done first. They expect you to put in the time and effort, and won’t wait for you to catch up if you fall behind. This is also a good way to get on a teacher’s bad side. Bad idea. Don’t do it. No. A lot of times teachers are the people who can help get you internships or give a recommendation to companies hiring people. Being dependable will help get you there.

9. Take time for you. It’s gonna feel overwhelming at first, and sometimes you feel homesick. I know a lot of people that cry after their first couple weeks; so take a little time and do something for you. Read a book, play guitar or listen to your Ipod while you go for a walk. You won’t do well on your work if you’re constantly stressed, and your face won’t like all the new pimples either. You think clearer when you have a relaxed mind.

10. Get enough sleep. I had been going to bed at 11pm and waking up at 6 every morning. Come Friday, I was exhausted. Personally, I’m someone who needs around 10 hours of sleep to be satisfied. If you do okay with a little less sleep, then hop to it, but after a couple weeks of the same stuff, you are gonna be worn out, might wake up late to class, tick off your teachers when you slept through homework…well it’s just not pretty. That whole “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” thing is a load of crap. We’re only human after all. Take care of yourself. Naps become your best friend. Yes they will.

Other than all of this, have some fun. That doesn’t mean go to every party known to campus, but spend time with your new found friends, and enjoy your new freedom and new life away from high school. These are the days where you are working to learn how to do your future jobs, and you can finally do some classes that you have been waiting to take. You aren’t stuck with a curfew anymore, but you learn more responsibility for yourself. First year freshman can be annoying cause they are so oblivious to college life, but we have all been there, and should help them out when we can. Freshman–learn the mistakes of your peers, and listen to them so you don’t make the same mistakes. Making older friends your first year is awesome cause they can give you little shortcuts and hints on teachers and the buildings. Sometimes the people who made the most mistakes are the ones who can give you the most wisdom.

Stay safe, don’t be stupid with your choices, and enjoy the time you have before they let you out into the world of work and bills. It may seem like you’re busy all the time, but believe it or not, this is the most free-time you will get until you’re retired. Make the most of it 🙂

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