So while I was in college I took some amazing classes that were not in my major. I decided to compile a list of classes to take regardless of your major. These are the classes that really changed my perspectives and got me thinking about so many things I have never thought about before.
- Psychology: Some of the most interesting class I took were in the psychology department. It wasn’t my major but I had heard great things about the professors in the department so I decided to take Intro to Psychology in the spring of my junior year. I loved it so much that I ended up taking two more throughout my last few semesters. I honestly think I might have been a psychology major (or at least doubled) if I had taken the class freshman year. I just learned so much about how humans think and act. Seriously, it is such a helpful class in just understanding how people interact and how to effectively interact with people.
- Environmental: In today’s world learning about the environment has become critical yet it is much easier to ignore it now. I found the several environmental studies classes I took to be incredibly fascinating. I also took lots of biology classes (my major) including ecology classes like ornithology which gave me such a different perspective on the things we see in nature every day.
- A music or art history class: I actually took both an art history and a music history (The History of Rock) class and found both to be eye-opening. Those classes were unlike anything I had even taken before. They were really fun and I learned a lot about our cultural history. Many things surprised me and I am very glad I got some perspective on different cultures and societies through an art form. The origins of rock music, for example, come from old jazz and blues which can be traced to old slave music.
- Education: I took a class called Pedagogies of Place during my senior year and it was amazing. It was an education class with an emphasis on experiential learning which was exactly what I needed. It combined many environmental aspects with educational techniques and concepts. Taking a class on education can really put things into perspective. Most people spend the first 15-20 years of their lives in the education system and learning why and how the systems we have were formed is very interesting.
- A writing class: This is one thing that I feel like I really lacked in college. I took two writing intensive classes but I wish I would have taken some sort of creative writing course to really help develop my voice on the page. I realized how much I loved writing far too late in my college career. Even if you do not like to write, it is such a useful skill to have. Being able to adequately express yourself in writing is useful in almost any profession, it is a great way to have an impact in your field.
Welcome back to the second post in my series on college life and preparation! This is a series I am doing for the next couple months on getting ready for college and making that transition. For this post I round up the items that I found to be essential to living in a dorm. I tried to choose the things that I felt were essential to my experience but that aren’t necessarily everyday objects (like sheets and pillows which are very essential).
Command hooks: This one may seem kind of strange but it is something that I didn’t think about at all. I was prepared to hang any decor with things like pushpins or tape but when I began setting up my room the walls often didn’t hold up tape and because they were made of cement you could not push anything into them. Command hooks can give you so much room to design your room how you want. You can even get ones strong enough to hold up coats and school bags.
A rug: So this is one that I completely missed myself. I just didn’t think having a rug would matter that much and rooms can look sometimes better without them. I was very wrong, rugs are essential in a dorm room. It is so much nicer to walk on and it actual makes the dorm rooms look so much better. Once I added a rug, my room actually felt like my own and I finally felt comfortable hanging out and having friends over.
Fairy lights: Many college dorms have pretty harsh dorm lights. It definitely works but I found that adding some nice warm fairy lights made a huge difference in how my room looked and in how I felt while doing homework or hanging out with friends. There are also so many different ways to set them up. You can hang them on the wall/ceiling or on your bed or over you desk.
A simple first aid kit: Although these types of supplies can be found in health services on most campuses, having at least a few bandaids around can be surprisingly useful. I can think of multiple instances where I have needed band aid and not had one on hand (eg. paper cuts, mosquito bites etc…). I guarantee there will be a time that this comes in handy.
A travel mug: I used my mug all the time during college. Yes, I lost two of them over the years and had to quickly replace them because it I realized how much I use them. Having a cup of coffee in some of those early morning classes can really make the difference and it is much easier if you have your own mug. Dining halls differ in what they provide, however most do not proved take away cups (many smaller coffee shops do however). Having your own mug can be so useful and it is a much more earth-friendly way to drink your coffee!
I am sure I missed some things however these were the items I found to be essential or that I completely missed in my preparation for life in the college dorms. I hope this list was helpful!
It is already August and I know so many people are getting ready to begin one of the most exciting adventures of their lives! Back to school is such an exciting time and can be even more exhilarating when you are starting a whole knew chapter in your life. I loved college and there are certain things I did that made my experience so incredible. There are also some things I wish I had known before starting college. This list is actually kind of a mix of the things I did right and the things I wish I had known. I hope you find it useful and would love to hear your opinions and thoughts!
- Talk to everyone: This can be incredibly intimidating for many people but it is the easiest way to make friends, get to know your professors and meet business contacts. If you know you don’t like to talk to people there are ways to make it a little bit easier. Talking to peers in the first few weeks of school can actually be the best time because most people do not know each other so it is completely acceptable to ask where someone is from, what classes they are taking, what they might want to major in, etc. Getting used to speaking to professors can also be difficult but I highly recommend going into their office and asking questions, even if you do not necessarily have any. Just ask for clarifications on class material. Make sure they know who you are! I would say going in once a week is a good place to start. Throughout my four years of college I became friends with my professors which was incredibly beneficial for me.
- Take every opportunity you can get: Even other students at my own school asked me over and over how I was able to go so many places and do so many things. I took advantage of every opportunity that presented itself and went out of my comfort zone to do so. If a professor was taking a group of students on a short weekend trip I went, even if it meant missing out on some weekend relaxation and even if I knew nothing about the place we were going. I applied to many things even if I thought I wasn’t qualified for or that I wasn’t likely to get as a freshman (this seriously paid off!). On the academic side of things this one goes along with talking to your professors because I was offered lots of opportunities because I was engaged and frequently spoke to my professors.
- Know when to say no: Yes, I know, this is sort of contradictory but it is also so important to be able to say ‘no’. I got way two involved in so many different things in college during my first two years that by the time senior year came around I was beyond burnt out and I regret not spending more time with my friends. It can be really nice to be able to say yes to other things that pop up when your schedule has some built in free time. Some of the greatest memories I have are the unplanned adventures that popped up.
- Don’t stick to what is expected of you (by anyone): College is truly the time to try everything because you never know what you might fall in love with. I really wish I knew this before starting college because I definitely had it in my head that my parents had certain expectations of me and I followed one track in the first two years that I did not necessarily love. Because of this I soon felt like my professors, friends and even myself expected a certain level and a certain path. I wish I had been way more open because as I started to try other things around junior year I realized how much more is out there and how many other interests I had.
- Leave high school behind: Seriously, college is so much better without all the drama of high school. I think one reason that sometimes freshmen are looked down upon is because they are still partially high schoolers and there is definitely a difference. Leave the drama. Don’t get me wrong, there will be drama in college however people seem to deal with it very differently and in more adult ways. The first year can be a lot more fun if you do not play into at all. Just meet knew people, focus on school and get involved with extracurriculars. If you do not like who you were or how people perceived you in high school, college is a chance to completely start over. I believe in staying true to who you are, but people definitely change and you may not really be who many people in high school thought you were.
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