College is Hard…Period!

By: Kate Devine Twitter: @katiedevinee Instagram: @katedevinee

VERA
*Editor’s Note: Only the real will remember

Let’s take a trip back in time to my first day of junior year of high school.

I am sitting in Mrs. Kelly’s classroom, ready to flaunt my new Vera Bradley pencil case for the world to see*. (Yes- I was one of those girls.) After helping pass out all of the unnecessary forms, I saunter back to my desk to check out my schedule that was just passed out. Double-checking to see that everything is correct, I immediately start to stress out over the course load I picked out. 3 APs and all Honors? (Weird brag, much?) I look over to my friend sitting next to me and say something to the effect of, “Wow, it’s going to be a rough year.”

Hoping to find some reassurance from my friend, I instead get slapped in the face with, “You’re not taking AP Chem, so don’t even complain.”

Don’t even complain? My mind started to wander a mile a minute. Am I not taking hard enough classes? Do people think I’m stupid for taking AP Bio over AP Chem?

If I could tell my Junior year self anything, it would be two things:

  1. Vera Bradley ain’t it.
  2. You are smart enough!

I, for one, thought that this toxic competition of classes had ended in high school, but unfortunately, it only gets worse in college.

As a Biology major, I constantly hear my peers complaining about our major and how they wish it was easier, like the Criminal Justice major. Meanwhile, my friend, a CJ major, service learns 30 hours a week for one of her courses and takes intense research classes each semester.

Newsflash: It doesn’t matter what major you are, college is hard for everyone! 

Am I always 100% understanding of this concept? Absolutely not! If you scroll through my Twitter likes, you are most certainly going to find some hilarious content mocking nursing majors or business majors.

As finals season has unfortunately come around the corner once again, here are a few handy reminders.

The fact of the matter is we all have challenging, time-consuming homework. We all have crazy professors. College is hard, because it is supposed to be!

College is meant to challenge you. If you think college is difficult, then you are on the right track! If you hate college and truly believe you aren’t getting anything beneficial from it, it might be time to think more on what you are passionate about and if your current course load reflects that.

Some of my friends tell me how they can’t imagine having two three-hour labs each week, but, I couldn’t imagine college without it. On the other hand, the idea of writing multiple essays a week like my English major friends do, makes my skin crawl. College reels out our skills and strengthens them. Not all of us have the same skills, and that is normal.

Why do we find it normal to compete with each other about who has it worse?

Being proud of being more stressed or ‘having it worse’ isn’t just something that applies to school. Unfortunately, we see this twisted ideology all throughout our society. We find it cool to be sadder than others, broker than others, lonelier than others. When are we going to stop competing with each other’s struggles and instead acknowledge the fact that we all have them and should help each other get through theirs?

Maybe one day we can stop being Negative Nancies and Debby Downers and instead be normal college students, all trying to make it by, together. In the meantime, you can find me minding my own business and shading nursing majors.

Good luck on your finals and remember you always know more than you think you know.

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NNNN Episode #24 with Matt DiPesa

Had a great conversation with Matt that will give you plenty of ammunition to liven up the banter at your Thanksgiving dinner this year*

https://anchor.fm/s/9f00fb0/podcast/rss

Article referenced:

Title: Inside the Radical, Uncomfortable Movement to Reform White Supremacists

Inside the Radical, Uncomfortable Movement to Reform White Supremacists

Quote from article:

“What the fuck am I doing with my fucking life? How are we the supreme race? We’re fucking idiots.”

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Editor’s Note:

*- Or maybe wait until Christmas**

**- Or maybe just think about these topics for yourself and have a fantastic holiday season being grateful for all that you have***.

***- Tell a family member you love them.

 

 

 

 

The One About ~Rejection~

By Kate Devine

Oh that bittersweet feeling.

Everyone has experienced a stinging sense of rejection at some point in their life. Whether you come from being a big fish in a little pond to a little fish in a big pond, or even if you have always been the little fish, everyone faces rejection.

And it still sucks every time.

The girl you met last Saturday left you on ‘read’, your fantasy team just keeps on losing, or you just dropped a FAT 60% on your Biostats quiz (wait, just me? okay, moving on).Rejection is an unfriendly reminder that you are not always the shit. It’s also a funny thing in that it affects all of us differently. Some of us overcompensate in the face of rejection while others stop trying completely.

How do I handle rejection you may ask? Well I’ll tell you what I definitely don’t do. I absolutely do not act like a six-year-old and cope through whining, complaining, and maybe even shedding a few tears.

How completely immature! I can’t relate whatsoever!

If you are like me and came into college still riding your high-horse of self-esteem built upon your high school experience, you definitely got a reality check within the first week. It has you reacquaint yourself with the uncomfortable and urges you to reconstruct what is actually important to you. You get knocked down a few pegs by being thrust into the whirlwind of college classes, new friend groups, and meeting your archenemy-  FOMO (FOMO can be translated to ‘Fear of Missing Out’ {for all you horse-and-buggy folks}).

You eventually put yourself into a mentality of not feeling ‘good enough’ since all the things that came easy to you in high school just don’t anymore. Entering my sophomore year, I was quick to learn that the same rings true for the next year as well! And eventually what I’ve realized is that this will be a recurring theme throughout my entire life.

Because let’s face it:

-We all deal with rejection.

-We all will continue to face rejection.

-It’s just a matter of life.

Now that we know we will be experiencing rejection in its many shapes and sizes for the rest of our lives- what good does it do for us to hate it?

Think of it this way:

Next time I get my Stats quiz back and I’m staring at an unfortunate grade (which we can all agree is bound to happen again soon) is it easier to whine, curse the professor out, and feel sorry for myself or rather to take it as an opportunity to learn and grow?

What good is it holding on to that negativity?

If you are reading this right now wallowing in your own sorrows- cut it out! Say thank you to your rejection. It helped you learn, it helped you grow, and it made you more self-aware. And hey, it’s healthy to be knocked down a couple times because it makes the come-up that much better.

So, whether you’re the big fish, little fish, or whatever down on your luck creature, know that there’s a point to all of this.

It’s bigger than us; and we have so much to learn.

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My Mid-College Crisis

By: Nicole Bates

I always heard the cliché: “College is the best four years of your life.” However, since arriving at college, I have become skeptical of this statement, because if college is the best four years of your life then I guess life is just downhill from here!

Now don’t get me wrong- college is fun! I love getting drunk with my friends on the weekend and having very little responsibility, but I think to myself: “There must be something more to it than this.” I know I’m getting deep here, but seriously! When you think about it, that cliché does not make sense. College may be the most reckless four years of your life, or the years where the most change happens, but is it really the BEST four years of your life?

I wonder to myself if that cliché has been spread as a means of control. They tell you that, so you are motivated to get good grades in high school, get into college, and get a degree. Then you can “contribute something meaningful” to the world. But sometimes I find it is easy to lose sight of why you are really here; to learn and grow as a human being. And in that case, you are really just following a socially constructed path: you graduate, get a boring, well-paying job, start a family and live in the suburbs. Before you know it, you’ll be just like your parents!

I am letting my cynicism take over a little here. I don’t necessarily think that lifestyle is a bad one. For some people, their goals revolve around stability and family. However, I feel as though the system doesn’t really allow room for students, who may not necessarily fit that mold, to explore other options.  So, now that you have some idea of my stance on college, let me tell you about the mid-college crisis I experienced when I arrived at school this fall.

I have never felt truly settled at UMass, but I think coming into my junior year, I went into full-on crisis mode. With two years in and two years left I thought: what am I actually doing here?

I’m starting to get antsy because now the novelty of being away from parents and going out to college parties has worn off, and I’m left to think about what I am actually getting out of an education that is costing me (and my parents) tens of thousands of dollars every year, and will leave me in debt for years after I am finished.

So, there I was a few days into the semester, sitting in my dorm room, having a BREAKDOWN. I was questioning my major, questioning my intelligence, and most importantly realizing I had become completely disillusioned by my education.

I called my parents and told them: “I know I’m a junior but I think I have to change my major.” Coming into this year I was a communication primary major with a theater secondary major and a minor in French. But I wasn’t fully invested in what I was learning; I missed reading challenging books in English class, I missed learning about animals in biology, and I never thought I’d say it but- I missed math. I discovered I actually love learning, and if I am going to be paying for this education, I want to feel like I am being educated.

My Dad’s solution to this crisis was to drop out. And I’m not going to lie; I seriously considered that as an option. But when my roommate heard me on the phone and gave me a worried look I knew that wasn’t a serious option.

I would be sad if I left.

Because as disillusioned as I had become at UMass, I knew I still had some good things going for me. I have amazing friends, in-state tuition and access to university resources I would not otherwise have access to.

Realistically, looking back at my life decisions, I think I would have really benefitted from a gap year, and I wish that was presented to me in high school as a viable option. But there’s no point in dwelling on the past, so I decided I needed to pull myself together and figure my shit out.

So, I acted.

I changed my secondary major to something where I felt I would be more intellectually engaged, and now in my four years I will come out with a double major and two minors: talk about making the most of your time here!

If you are anything like me and college isn’t what you hoped it would be, don’t get discouraged. And if you are younger than me and already questioning your major, DO NOT HESTITATE to explore your options. Because in the end, your undergraduate major won’t really matter, so you might as well study something you are passionate about.

A cliché I do agree with is “everything is what you make of it.”

No matter what kind of college experience you are having- make the most of it. Because though I don’t think it is necessarily the best four years of your life, it is definitely an influential period in a young person’s life, and you should be stimulating your mind in classes, in conversations with peers and in exploring everything the world has to offer.

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Letters to Pat

The Letter:

Dear Pat,

I have been following you for quite some time now and want to first commend you on your impeccable wit and internet suaveness. For these reasons, I figure you are the best person to give advice about all things college.

I am an incoming freshman and my mind has been racing trying to figure everything out. What should I know about parties? What clubs should I join? Is the whole thing even worth it?

I know you’re probably spending the majority of your time fending off beautiful co-eds but if you can spare a few minutes to reply I would greatly appreciate it.

Sincerely,

Concerned Freshman

The Response:

Dear Concerned Freshman,

First and foremost, thank you for your generous compliments. It is not easy being the voice for college students but if I don’t do it- who will?

As far as the specifics of your question:

Partying (If you’re a guy):

When I was heading into school last year I was ready to turn ‘Animal House’ into a modern reality. But after deciding not to rush a fraternity, I failed to study the ancient questions of “What’s your ratio?” and “Who do you know here?”.

Big mistake. (look for open windows)

Partying (If you’re a girl):

You’ll be fine.

Clubs:

If you’re a nerd:

Daily Collegian

If you’re a dummy:

Amherst Wire

If you’re a little bit of both:

nonamesnonumbers.com (Contact nonamesnonumbers1@gmail.com if interested)

Is the whole thing really worth it?

UMass mission statement:

The University’s mission is to provide an affordable and accessible education of high quality and to conduct programs of research and public service that advance knowledge and improve the lives of the people of the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world.”

Let me start by saying; I have loved a lot of things about college.

I love meeting all different kinds of people, I’ve taken some interesting classes, the social aspect is fun, and getting the opportunity to use a sweet radio studio is second to none.

But the price is outrageous.

Right now I’m looking at around $50,000 dollars in debt post graduation (and I’m lucky enough to have my parents helping me out).

A lot of advice from adults in terms of uncertainty around a career path entering college is “Oh don’t worry about it! You’ll figure it out!” followed by the all-time cliche “These are the best four years of your life!”. The latter part of the first quote is true; you will figure it out. The question becomes whether or not you will be facing $50,000+ of debt before you do.

I’m not saying this to be a debbie downer but rather because it is a harsh truth of the world we’re living in. I’m also not putting the blame on adults who say this because as we all know it was a “different time” when my parent’s generation went to school. I spoke with a UMass alumni this summer who told me tuition cost him $1,200 .

He’d be lucky to get textbooks now.

I honestly believe that if you take the “These are the best four years of your life!” advice then they will be; and that scares me more than anything- cause life can be pretty damn long.

So my sage wisdom with one whole year under my belt boils down to the four words so eloquently stated by modern day philosopher Wiz Khalifa:

“Work hard, play hard”

And hopefully things will work out.

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