July 28, 2014 by Zuri
Ok! It’s almost August, and I’m wrapping up my second summer class, it meets only once more, the day of our final project, and I have a TON of work to do in regards to completing that.
A lot of my friends/loved ones have decided to return to school this far, and to me, that’s fantastic! I’m so glad people are realizing that it’s never too late to go back to school, further your aspirations, strive to achieve your dreams (and hopefully a better paycheck, too!).
I’m not really sure what kind of words of advice I can give, so I’ll just run down the things that have popped up over the past twelve months at HCC and see how it’s affected my life.
Don’t Let The Man Get You Down
Ugh. The first problem I had going back to school is the Administration. Anyone who has watched me blindly stagger through my college experience this year, knows that I’ve had nothing but headache and heartache from the paper-pushers. I couldn’t get my residency approved. I couldn’t get my financial aid approved. Everywhere was disaster after disaster. The only thing I can say is keep pushing. Don’t phone the financial aid office – GO TO the financial aid office! In my experience at HCC, the phone number goes to a call center, NOT to the university (as I’ve been told by a number of different offices on campus…) and they have NO FREAKING CLUE what they’re talking about. Seriously. They don’t. They call center for a number of schools at the same time, and have a tendency to confuse policy between institutions. Go and talk to a real human being – a lot of the time the wait will be the same, sometimes even shorter, than it would be to wait on hold.
This is where a lot of us might have gotten a bit confused our first time around this block, and it’s something that kind of burns me up when I walk around campus, and see the students who spend all their time in the student lounge, never attending classes. I’m sure at one point, there was someone looking down on me in that same way, many moons ago. I think as we get older, we get to the point where we realize, where it sinks in, WHY we’re here. I’m at school to learn. I’m here to open my books, bust my ass, and learn as much as I can with the best GPA I can manage. If I’m not studying, if I’m not reading, if I’m not doing the work, then I’m not doing my best. It’s a bit obsessive of me, I know, but if I’m getting a 92, and I’m not giving it my all, then a 92 isn’t my best work. Remember why you’re there. There’s time to make friends and connect at school, sure, but the priority is the education.
Professors Aren’t Scary
My first semester all my professors intimidated the hell out of me. Even in some cases where they were my age or younger, I still found their position of authority to be somewhat of a roadblock to accessibility. It’s probably just a ‘me’ thing, but don’t be afraid to talk to your professors. Sure, they’re not your buddy, and you shouldn’t treat them that way! But if you find things they might find interesting, or you want to discuss the coursework further, then by all means approach them. Most professors (I won’t generalize by saying ‘all’) are quite eager to listen or help out. I’d love to thank Professor Fisk of the Anthropology Department for breaking me free of this bit of phobic behavior!
You Are What You Eat!
The freshman 15 is alive and well. I discovered my near-vegetarian anti-soda habits bit the dust when I got to school, when it’d be a danish and a soda for breakfast and some other manner of junk for lunch. After gaining about ten pounds that I had previously lost, I made the switch: Tea or flavored water to drink, grapes and cheddar cheese cubes for lunch, sometimes with the addition of yogurt with granola and berries. MUCH better. Lots of protein, lots of goodness… you need a good healthy source of energy for the learning brain! The rough part is trying to squeeze in food between classes kinda sucks, especially if you only have fifteen minutes between classes. Pack things in small containers and have ready to eat finger foods for those little interim scarf periods. I don’t like eating or drinking in class. I consider it kind of rude to the professor, and in our school there are signs posted everywhere not to eat or drink in class. So I make sure that whatever I’m drinking can be in a container with a seal. That way I can stuff it in my back and not worry about spilling drinks all over my desk and notebooks and stuff.
Oh – and stay hydrated. Super important stuff right there.
That’s all I can really think of. It’s really nothing that we don’t all already know on some level, but it’s something else entirely when you actually LIVE it. So go out, do your best, and I can’t wait to see your comments and facebook posts about the greatness of getting back to school!