Things You Learn In College

It’s strange to think that a year from now I’ll be finishing up the last few weeks of my undergraduate career.  It’s even stranger to think that just two years ago I was finishing up the first semester of my undergraduate career.  My time at college is flying quickly, but there are so many things that I’ve learned outside of the expected curriculum:


1. You will lock your keys in your room, or your car, or somewhere else relatively unattainable without the keys. 

This will be one of those moments where it is the most inconvenient time to not have your keys.  You’ll be on your way somewhere, and bam!  No keys.  Just try not to do it all the time.  Check your pockets and purses before you leave places!


2. Mac’s can get viruses too.

I just learned this one—and I learned it the hard way, when my laptop shut itself down, turned itself back on and opened every single file ever saved.  If you have a computer, you need some sort of antivirus software.  I’m not very technologically savvy, but in this day and age most people need their computers for their jobs and schoolwork.  Just keep your computer safe—and make sure you change your passwords.  There are hackers out there.


3. You shouldn’t ever go shopping when you’re hungry…

because you will buy everything in the store and blow your whole paycheck on Ben & Jerry’s, Ramen, and Easy Mac.  Don’t shop hungry.  That’s all I have to say.


4. Or when you’re in a hurry.

This one seriously trips me up.  If you’re rushing through the store, you will forget things!  Even if you have a list, because chances are, you probably forgot at least one thing when you actually wrote that list.  Trust me, you’ll regret rushing when you get home and realize you forgot deodorant or toothpaste or something you actually needed.  Also, it just looks bizarre to rush through a store.  You’re weekly or biweekly shopping trip isn’t a game show race.  Let it be a time to unwind and do something slowly!


5. If you fill one of those handheld shopping baskets at Target or Walmart you’ll spend about $50.

You probably don’t believe me, but I’ve made enough shopping trips where I’ve grabbed the shopping basket thinking I’d save a ton of money.  But you can’t save that much money if you cram those things full.  You might only get four bags of stuff out of the shopping basket, but it will consistently cost between $20 and $50.  Only shopping lists are 100% guaranteed to prevent overspending.


6. It’s okay to buy the generic brands. 

I used to think that it was unacceptable to buy the generic brands.  I have no idea why.  They don’t taste worse; they won’t give you diseases; they won’t break your piggy bank.  Really they’re just the same stuff but in less fancy packaging.


7. Sometimes you NEED to call in sick.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a personal day if you need it—and sometimes you need it! It’s easy to spread yourself too thin and become overwhelmed.  A day of rest will save your sanity.


8. Fruit flies are born from rotting banana peels.

Not really.  I’m not actually sure where they come from, but the point here is that they will invade!  It doesn’t matter if you leave a banana peel out for thirty minutes or if you leave a banana ripening for a week, fruit flies can smell that like a shark can smell blood.  Just make sure to prevent fruit flies because they’re really hard to get rid of!


9. Food expires and it’s not always clear at first sight.

You have to smell your milk and check expiration dates.  When you live on your own, your mom isn’t there to throw away food that is bad.  I’ve eaten enough spoiled food to know that…


10. It’s okay to be down to earth.

When I came to my campus, I didn’t realize I would be entering a world of people completely different from myself.  A large majority of the students I encounter come from a much higher socioeconomic standing than I do, and at first, I thought I was wrong because of that.  There is nothing wrong with being of a lower socioeconomic standing though.  I’ve learned frugality; that money can’t buy happiness; that people can be selfish beyond belief; that people can have goodness like no other; and most importantly that love is the most valuable wealth a person can have.


Things You Learn In A Long Distance Relationship Part 2

4. You’ll make it through the goodbyes.

When it’s time for you or your significant other to leave each other again, you probably feel down.  You might cry or have a lump in your throat or a terrible stomachache.  But as bad as you feel in that moment, try to remember it will get better.  You won’t stop missing your partner, but with time you’ll realize you’re down less often, and the things that remind you of them make you happy, not sad.

5.They aren’t really goodbyes.

If you really think about the meaning of goodbye, then the gaps of time apart from your partner aren’t really goodbyes.  Joey and I always say, “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.”  It’s a great way to think of an entirely unappealing situation.  After all, just because you’re spending time apart it doesn’t mean you’ll be apart forever.  You’ll be together again soon enough.

6. You don’t have to be sad to be missing someone.

I know I’ve touched on this one already, but I think it’s important to reiterate.  This is always something I come back to because my first instinct is to be sad about missing Joey.  But I think we can all agree, that our partners don’t want us to be sad, and we don’t want them to be sad.  They still love us, we still love them, and most of the time they’re just a phone call away.  Remember the happy moments (it doesn’t hurt to have pictures to look at of the two of you together!) and look forward to the new moments you’ll make together.

Put Yourself In Their Shoes

Earlier this evening, I chatted with my friend who is studying abroad this semester.  She told me about some trouble she’s run into with other students who are being judgmental and catty.  While, I was upset to hear that a few people are making her trip less enjoyable, I was not surprised that judgment and unkindness know no cultural boundaries.

I have written previously on judgment in my post “Let It Go,” but after several similar conversations, I’ve decided to dig a little deeper on the subject.  It seems that more and more often people judge one another mostly because they have a desire to compare themselves to the people they judge. But what grounds does this comparison stand upon?

For example, say two people are in a room that is room temperature.  Subject A is too hot and Subject B is too cold.  Both think the other is wrong, but under what grounds?  Subject A says that Subject B should just put on a layer, while Subject B says Subject A should take one off.  They’re comparing based on their own standards, but this isn’t fair.  Everyone is different and some people have naturally higher or lower body temperatures, and thus natural aversions to certain temperatures.

The same thing goes for every other comparison that comes to mind.  Not everyone has the same tolerances, and people certainly don’t respond to criticism in the same ways.  And you know what, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

People go on and on about how we need to accept people’s differences, but then turn around and judge based upon comparisons. What we really need to do is put ourselves in other people’s shoes.

Yes, I know you’ve heard it a thousand times, but really think about it for a moment.  When people are judging you, don’t you want them to think about how it makes you feel? Exactly.

So to my readers, let’s all try to be a little bit more open, you never know who’s spirit you might encourage just by putting yourself in their shoes instead of judging.  And to my dear friend on the other side of the world, try not to be down because people are mean.  Just remember the friends who love and support you.

Things You Learn In A Long Distance Relationship

Two years ago, when I started my freshman year of college, everyone told me not to worry about starting a long distance relationship.  Joey and I had already been dating for almost two years, and besides, it was just college.

Joey and I the summer before we started college.

Joey and I the summer before we started college.

It wasn’t like we were being shipped off to war and might not see each other again.  It would just be four months apart, Christmas break together, four months apart, three months of summer break together, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.  Piece of cake.

“It’ll get easier,” everyone said.

Two years later, now engaged to Joey, but still in separate states, and with just a little over a year left to go in my undergraduate career, I can look back at that moment, smile, laugh, and say, “Boy, were they wrong!”

Long distance relationships are anything but easy, even now, though I’m only in Wisconsin, while he’s home in Illinois.  Take it from me, Joey and I spent two years in Florida and Wisconsin respectively, it isn’t an easy feat!

Joey and I now.

Joey and I now.

I know what you might be thinking, isn’t it easier now that he’s two hours away instead of sixteen?  No.  It’s not.  Apart is still apart.  In fact, I’m finding that it’s even harder being so close because he’s close enough that I could in theory see him if I just drive two hours, but I can’t. 

Even though saying goodbye and being apart doesn’t ever get easier, I have to say that I think both Joey and I have learned a lot by experiencing a long distance relationship. Here are a few thoughts:

1.     It’s okay to spend time apart.

Every relationship needs a little bit of autonomy.  Some people like more than others, but regardless, everyone needs it.  Think of it as a time to relax or a time to grow and learn something new that you can share with your partner.

2.     Don’t take your time together for granted.

Treasure the little moments.  Not everything you do together has to be an extravagant dinner date.  Go for a walk, go shopping together, enjoy a bike ride, or just sit on the couch and talk about life.  It’s your relationship, just do the things you love together, even if right now that means sitting on the phone for an hour to talk about last week’s episode of The Voice.

3.     Risk everything for love.

Time is fleeting and nothing is certain.  So, if you find love, and it’s really, truly love, don’t let anything get in the way of that.  If you keep waiting around for the right situations to arise, your relationship will never be successful.  Take chances and enjoy love while it lasts, whether it’s a few days or a whole lifetime.