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Student Life

College Lessons: Outside the Classroom

College may make you have realizations on a wide spectrum, from the profound to the downright ridiculous.

Laura Magerkurth

October 22, 2012

College Lessons: Outside the Classroom
Ahh, hello, midterm break! It’s finally time to set the homework aside and unwind. During this brief respite from my freshman year, I've done some reflecting on my first two months of college life, and have had a few realizations I'd like to share. Long car rides by yourself aren't necessarily awful.

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I live about three and a half hours away from my hometown, and while I was nervous about driving back that first time by myself, it turned out that with the help of an audio book, I managed to stave off the worst of the freeway blues. I would recommend, though, that if you have friends who live along the way, you concoct a buddy system for riding company as often as possible. Putting sheets on a lofted bed is really, really hard.

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Maybe I’m just making this process a lot more difficult than it needs to be, but, for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to re-make my bed in less than 15 to 20 minutes. If you have a trick for getting this chore done more easily or with minimal ceiling head-bumps, please divulge!

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Don’t be a homebody. If you think you’ll get pretty homesick, attend a school that’s far enough away from home that you won’t want to go through the drive too often. For some of you, this point may be one hour; for others, it might be more like three or more. As much as I’m enjoying college now, there was a period during which, if I had been able to go back and hang out and sleep in my own bed, I totally would have. Being several hours away from your hometown may be painful at first, but you won’t truly feel like a college student if you go home every weekend. Here, you can be who YOU want to be. As cheesy and clichéd as this stereotype is, it’s true. Not many of the college stereotypes we’re taught to look forward to actually come fully to fruition, but this one really does. For me, one of the best ways to start inventing myself was to choose a few organizations to join and participate in. One is related to my major, one is a service club for Spanish students and another is one that I am just interested in and joined for the heck of it. I feel like being a part of these has helped me construct different aspects of the person that I am—because for a while after I left home, I felt a little bit lost. I was unsure of myself after being away from everything I’d ever known. Now, though, I’m beginning to build who I am and am working towards who I want to become. Education is everywhere. The lessons that come outside of class can often be more educational than the ones you get from a lecture. As you inch closer to your own life in college, or as you experience more of it, you’ll have some epiphanies of your own that will help ease your way.

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