Last week, I concluded my junior year of college. My spring semester was insanely busy and full of stress, but thankfully that part is over. It’s so crazy to think that I only have one more year to do all the awesome, unique, fun shit that’ll be way harder to do after I graduate. It feels like I just discovered everything I was missing out on because I always played it safe and didn’t want to venture out of my comfort zone, and I’m kind of sad about that. But, I’m still really determined to learn from everything I went through over these last five months. The funny, upsetting, aggravating, and unique memories all surfaced at once, so I decided to write this post. And because I’m lowkey excited for the fall semester to start already even though I’ve only been home for four days, I also included some of the goals that I have for next semester. First off, here are the lessons I learned:
1. Some of the best experiences are the ones that happen spontaneously.
I know, this is one is a cliche but it was proven true for me over and over again this semester. I’m a very meticulous planner, and I don’t like straying from my schedule, but there were a couple of times when I randomly decided to do things, like make a quick stop at the beach to catch the sunset with my friends, and I always had so much fun. I have so many cool pictures from photoshoots and so many cool memories that I wouldn’t have if I stayed in my room bored out of my mind doing homework. Now I can’t tell if I’m still a crazy planner person or if I’m more go-with-the-flow. Is it possible to be a mixture of both?? What if I’m taking one of those personality tests and I can only pick one?? Maybe I’ll answer this question next semester…
2. Simply wanting something isn’t enough.
I always say I have an idea for doing something and then I rarely act on it. During the fall semester, I thought it would be cool to study abroad somewhere before I graduate, except it wasn’t going to keep on being just a thought for me. I took the necessary steps to learn more about the programs offered, talked to my parents about it, and did all the planning and research I could do for my study abroad experience (which turned out awesome!!) This semester, there were a lot of moments when I thought things like, wouldn’t it be so cool to have a fashion internship in Boston? I’d love to finally check out that ice cream shop everyone’s crazy about. Did I try to apply to said fashion internship? Did I make plans to visit said ice cream shop? No, and no. Sure, there will probably be more times when doing something turns out to be just a passing thought, but the next time I really want something, I’m going to put in the effort to plan for it so I can make it a reality.
By the way, if you’re thinking about studying abroad, check out my post on things to consider before you apply!
3. Having a good attitude will attract good people your way.
How you carry yourself is how people will see you — and remember you! This semester, my roommate told me that she remembers getting good vibes from me when we first met. We met for 15 minutes more than a year ago and she remembered me and liked me enough to want to be my roommate this year. This semester, one of my closest friends (who just graduated and is going to medical school!!) told me that he remembers first seeing me at a meeting for an organization we were both involved in, and he thought I seemed cool so he decided to talk to me. It felt so nice to hear that peoples’ first impressions of me were really good ones, but it was still a wakeup call to the fact that in the same way that you can be judged for the good things people see, you can also be judged for the not so good things people see.
If you think you’re doing a good job hiding the fact that you’re pissed about something, you’re probably not; someone is bound to notice and it may turn them off from you. Being more aware of this will definitely help me think about how my attitude affects the decisions I make and how I carry myself.
4. If you have even the tiniest feeling that you might regret not doing something, you probably will.
I think the only thing worse than regrets about the things we did are regrets about the things we didn’t do. Holy wow, I need to put that on a shirt or something. Anyway, ever since I applied to live my dreams of studying abroad in a foreign country, I decided to live by a new life philosophy: If you’re saying no because you can’t afford it or don’t have time for it, you’re probably holding yourself back. A tinge of fear or a love for being too comfortable is no longer an excuse for me to not do something. Five years from now, will I remember the time I sat inside in the air conditioning on a hot day, or will I remember the time I drove from New York to California with my best friend?
5. Sometimes great experiences are worth spending some money on.
Was studying abroad expensive? Hell yeah. Would I want to do it again if I had the money? Definitely. I’m probably biased but I think that any travel experience is well worth the money. You get exposed to something new, you learn a lot, and you make so many new memories. This can also be applied to attending a ceremony or conference you’ve wanted to attend for a long time, or signing up for a workshop you think is really cool.
6. But I also spend money frivolously sometimes…
I sometimes think I spend too much money, even when I think I’m buying something I really need. I sometimes forget that I should save my money for something that I really want, and then I feel bad once it’s spent. I’m definitely gonna work on this, though. If you’re in the same boat as me, be sure to check out my tips on how to save money in college.
Goals for next semester…
1. Go to the gym six days per week.
Towards the end of the semester, I got into the habit of attending the gym almost everyday. It was great because I was able to make some progress towards my fitness goals, I felt healthier, and it was something fun to do with my friends. Of course, there were some times when I didn’t feel like going because the weather was really bad and it was a long walk from the gym to my room. But next semester, my residence hall will LITERALLY be a three-minute walk to the rec center, so I don’t plan on making excuses for not going to the gym.
2. Get my bartending certificate.
My college offers a bartending class (not for credit) that you can pay extra for. It’s a semester-long thing and in the end you can receive your bartending certificate. I’m not a drinker and I don’t know much about alcohol but I hope to use this class to learn more about mixing drinks and the unique qualities of each.
3. Make more friends in my new classes.
Friendships played a very important role in making this semester a successful one for me. So, I hope to keep the new friendships I formed strong and create more. At my college, there are so few journalism majors that it’s easy to walk away at least knowing everyone’s names. I hope to get closer to some of the journalism majors I didn’t get to talk to much in the spring. I also hope to make more non-journalism friends, too, which may be a little harder because I don’t have classes with them but we’ll see how it goes.
4. Keep posting at least twice per week.
Maintaining my blog got really difficult this semester because I was dealing with a class that ate up so much of my time, it was a miracle if I got two hours of sleep some nights. But, I made it through. There wasn’t a single week where I didn’t post, and I’m really proud of myself for that. I love blogging and getting to share things with you all on this site, so I definitely hope to keep doing that next semester.
5. Get straight A’s.
Getting A’s in your classes is such a great feeling. Grades aren’t everything, but sometimes seeing an A on your transcript for a class you know you really worked your ass off in can really be encouraging. I hope I can get those straight A’s, though it will definitely be difficult, more so than it was this semester. There were times when my brain was so fried that I couldn’t concentrate, but hopefully this summer will be a chance to get back on track and get focused for the fall.
6. Attend every football game at my school.
I’m not a huge football fan because I don’t understand the game sometimes, but I am a huge fan of college athletics. I love getting dressed up in red and going out to cheer on our teams while listening to the band, and possibly catching a t-shirt mid-flight. Football is huge at my college, and of course, so is homecoming, but everyone goes to homecoming. It’s gonna be my last semester getting to be a Seawolves Football fan unless I come back to visit as an alumna, so I hope to make the most of the season.
7. Work for the athletics department.
Working for the athletics department is something I’ve always wanted to do. I adore our mascot so much that I even wanted to be the mascot when I was a freshman, but alas, I am far too short for the position. There was an excellent opportunity with the football team that would be perfect for strengthening my video editing skills, but the timing doesn’t work with my schedule, so I’m going to have to keep my fingers crossed for another upcoming position.
8. Actually use my financial tracker.
I made a financial tracker in my bullet journal last year and used it all of two times. I mentioned that I may have had a money spending problem this semester, so in the fall I hope to actually use my tracker to stay on top of my spending.
9. Start building good credit.
While we’re on this real-talk, adulting thing, I might as well throw this one in there. Moment of truth: I don’t have my own credit card yet. *gasp* At least not one that’s completely my responsibility. I don’t use cards often at all because I probably wouldn’t be able to stop spending if I did. But I do want to start building good credit because I don’t know where I’ll be a year from now. I could be living at home with my parents; I could be on the hunt for an apartment in another state; I could be on the hunt for an apartment in another country. Good credit is important for many adult decisions and things, so better late than never, right?
10. Decorate my room really nicely.
It’s my last fall semester in a dorm room, so I want to go all out with decorating. Well, not exactly all out. For my internship last summer, I wrote an article about two college girls who basically turned their dorm room into what I imagine a room in a palace would look like — I’ve never walked inside a palace, so I wouldn’t know for sure. Their room is goals AF but I doubt I can get on that level, but I still hope to create something that’s even half as enviable!
Thanks for reading this almost 2,000-word post! What are your goals for next semester?