Advice on the new semester

By now all college students have hopefully made a smooth transition into the fall semester – each with their own ideas of this college year in mind. For seniors, the final stretch is in focus, yet at the same time, spring of 2012 seems like an eternity away. Other students are preparing or adjusting to the halfway point as sophomores now understand the ins and outs of college and campus life, and juniors are confident experts of the college routine. Freshmen get to watch it all with a fresh, albeit possibly naive, perspective.

It is my goal to soon cover all the challenges that students at each level will face this year and the upcoming school years – from the temptation of carelessly breezing through senior year, to mid-college career “slumps”, to freshman anxieties.

I will admit the obvious: I am no expert on college. Yet at the same time, after four years of higher education and a diploma in hand, I can safely say that I am not new to the rodeo. I have my own college experiences that will undoubtedly influence this blog, but furthermore, I encourage the readers to not hesitate in giving input, especially on challenges that college students face – and how to overcome those obstacles. Whether you are a student, a teacher, or a random person out there in cyberspace, feel free to leave your comments on the blog.

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Today, I have some words of wisdom for all scholars out there:

Some eternal words of wisdom that can be said (and were once stated to me by Northern’s very own Lisa Slie) are the following: “Education is the only thing you can bank on.”

The statement is on that is rather inspirational and profound, yet the concept is not difficult to grasp. Think about it:

So many seemingly good things in life are at risk of expiring – so many experiences have a risk, big or small, of turning bad. Yet one thing that each of us are in control of, that we can be confident we will never lose, are the lessons we have learned – including academic lessons.

Each of one us experiences our own battles. Perhaps one student has just broken off a long-term relationship. Perhaps another reader has had trouble with the law. Another one of you may be dealing with a bad work situation or a bad home-life. Some of you may not know where you are going to sleep at tonight or how you are going to get some extra cash for dinner. These all hold a lot of meaning within the simple statement: sometimes life is bad.

You may not be able to control everything in your life, but I encourage those of you who are currently students here to always prioritize, and always make your education a main priority. Each time you leave a classroom, you are taking away something intangible and priceless – your education. The information you obtain from books…the brain-stimulating lectures and group discussions you have in class with your peers…the positive feedback you receive from a professor, the A+ you received on that especially grueling and challenging Accounting exam…these are all educational experiences that can’t be taken away from you. And when you’ve taken about all you can from present reality, keep these experiences in mind & smile knowing that these are unique successes that are your very own.

It’s not my goal to give a long-winded pep talk on this blog, but there is no better time than today to remind students to keep their heads in the game. It may be tempting to go out for that “beginning of the semester” party, to skip today’s Bio lecture, to procrastinate on studying and “wing” that first exam, but don’t. These bad decisions eventually turn into repeated bad habits, and nothing worthwhile ever really comes out of such things.

Being a college student isn’t easy; being a good college student is even tougher. I can promise you though, that despite how tough things may seem right now, or how tough they can and will get, once you hold that diploma in your hand at the end of it all, you’ll know that all the experiences…both good and bad…were worth it. This worth can overcome and can last a lifetime.


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