Lessons from Sophomore Year

Sophomore_Graphic-01As I mentioned in my previous post, Sophomore year of college was quite the doozy—the Spring semester especially. It seemed that I was constantly either at work or doing my homework, with very little time for socializing or sleeping. Several times I felt extremely burnt out and spent a week in bed watching Netflix, dissociating, and not getting much of anything done. As is life.

Between that though, I managed to learn a thing or too. Here’s some of that wisdom:

When they say “overloading” they mean it. At my school, overloading means going of 18 credits, fairly easy when each class is typically 4 each. During the spring semester, in order to graduate on time and go abroad, I decided to take five courses, including two writing courses. Writing has always been my academic bread and butter, but first and foremost quality writing requires time, and between the heavy course load there was little of that to go around. I felt I could have succeeded in either class, but instead I was stretched far too thin and ended up doing mediocre (for me) in both. Hopefully that’s the last time I have to take that many classes again.

Transferring, while worth it, isn’t easy. I would 100% advocate to anyone thinking of transferring schools. However, the process of getting credits sorted and schedules arranged is certainly not easy, and you have to be ready to advocate for yourself. I sent quite a few emails (including one to an assistant dean) appealing, questioning, and begging for a handful of credits to go through. However, doing so prevented me from taking redundant courses in science fields, something that will only be useful for the required credit and never for my career. Speaking of appeals…

Ask. Appeal. Repeat. At any college, especially a large university like mine, there are layers of bureaucracy to get through. There’s always someone to email, always a form you can fill out. You’d be surprised the benefits you receive when you just bother to ask someone for something. For instance, I appealed my financial aid several times throughout the semester, and while it didn’t drastically change my financial situation, the process resulted in several thousand dollars in new grants. A drop in the ocean, sure, but it’s money I didn’t have before and don’t have to pay back. People are also often willing to bend the rules a little or help you out if you take the time to ask them (and be polite about it!).

More than 20 people have been born on Antarctica. Apparently Argentina is pretty serious about their claim. 

Unhappy? Change something. Transferring is one of the best decisions I ever made, but more than that, I took charge of my own happiness. I wanted to try to be more active in making friends instead of laying at home every night (did actually make that many new friends? Not really, but I did try!). I signed up for things outside of my comfort zone, like being a tour guide for the university. I applied and was accepted to be an RA next year. Making money makes me considerably less stressed, so I got a job (though that came with its own problems). On my way home from campus I would have to cross a bridge that spanned that Mass Turnpike, and everyday I would cross that bridge, look out towards the city, and feel truly privileged to be where I was. So incredibly happy to be someplace where people are as passionate, motivated, and engaged in their projects as I am.

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Weird Sunburns and New Tattoos: the Start of Summer 2017

I have undeniably been terrible in every way about updating this poor, neglected blog. Hey! Who knew college was actually really difficult and time consuming! I do, now. It’s even difficult to write about what I’ve been reading, because I honestly have not been reading as of late. My Goodreads account pleasantly informs me that I am a whooping six books behind my goal. The last time I published something was on January 16th. Most of the time, this blog is an angry snarl of guilt in the back of my head.

But hey, it would be worse if I never published again, right?

The entire Spring Semester was a whirlwind of stress and my schedule was packed for the majority of it. Despite the arduous time, I still feel like I learned quite a bit, some of which I’d like to share. It was also my first full year at my new university, where I managed to feel like a Freshman all over again. My retrospective thoughts, however, deserve a post all their own.

It’s 90 degrees here in Boston as I write this, so the summer has undeniably begun, even after the cold and misIMG_0336erable May we’ve had. I even have the strangest sunburn to prove it. On a sunny and hot Thursday my new coworkers and I took the train out to Revere Beach, a location I was skeptical about. Being from Maine, I guess you can call me a bit of a beach snob. However, the beach turned out to be really lovely, and not the watch-out-for-needles kind of place I expected. The water was even not-freezing, though my friends didn’t exactly agree with that.

Also to celebrate summer I got myself a new tattoo! I managed to get an appointment at Brilliance in Allston, a badass shop with all lady artists. There’s something very relaxing about getting tattooed by another lady, and my artist Hannah and I chatted the whole time. The tattoo, of course, is gorgeous. Roses for my newly-graduated sister.

I’m both excited and not about staying in Boston for the summer. I have a job at the school that provides housing, and not having to worry about paying rent is certainly a luxury. I also have an internship at an all-female social media agency, which makes me a little less stressed about my future (trust me: communications students are always asking each other about what internships they’ve had). It’s hard not to miss Maine, though, especially in my tiny, stuffy room.IMG_0334

Besides going to work, I spend most days in the school library, where there is beautiful, beautiful air conditioning and couches to lay on (also where I took these pictures, as I’m sure you’ve guessed). To be quite honest, I have no idea what to expect from this summer. Hopefully (fingers crossed) I will be able to dedicate much of my time to reading, to learning to code (more), and to writing this blog.

As we’ve learned from the last, though, I promise nothing.