9 ways you know your 1st semester went well

The days following your last exam is a time to let go of your stress, sell back all your textbooks and hope that you won’t forget everything you’ve just learned. But at some point during those dormant Winter days you should reflect on those five months of first semester madness.

During this reflection, try to stay away from the memories of two am conversations at your local eatery, and instead think of the type of experiences stressed by Acamdebot writers. By that we mean the classes you took, the people you spent time with, and the newfound interests that make you a neater human. You know, the slightly...nerdy stuff....

1st Semester Checklist

1. You can talk for more than two minutes about “what you learned”

What’s the point of learning about something interesting if you’re never going to talk about it outside of class? If a family member or friend asks how one of your classes went, and you can casually (or passionately) start riffing on the subject, then you’ve done well.

2. You’ve checked out a few extracurricular group

College is about exploring interests. That’s it. If you have any interests (we hope you do) there should be a club for you on campus. Still, the first semester comes as a rush and you aren’t quite sure of what you can handle yet, so don’t feel like you’ve failed if you didn’t jump right into a number of obscure, basement-meeting clubs. But if you didn’t make the effort to at least find out what clubs are offered, you may have failed this part of the checklist…

3. You enjoyed a class that you don’t want to major in

Having diverse interests is important, not just for the sake of witty conversations or trivia nights, but to keep you challenged and curious. That’s why this whole gen-ed thing hasn’t gone away. Having knowledge and ideas thrown in addition to your major courses will make your future a lot more interesting, and may even compliment your profession. Finding out your peripheral interests is how you get there.

4. You took a trip off campus

If there’s a city, quaint town or downtown area with museums, restaurants and music shows close to your campus you oughta take a trip. Most schools have a surprisingly inclusive campus with perpetual entertainment--but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore other worlds. Taking trips to your local downtown spot is a good way to get to know the area, see what city life is like and keep things socially diverse. If you think people only go to bars in the city, you’re wrong. Cities are playgrounds for adults where whatever type of play you want is included.

5. You know how much money you spent month to month

Oh money, you matter so much and yet we never want to think about you. Chances are you don’t know how much money you spent during your 1st semester, let alone per month. Many people will fail this part of the checklist, I certainly would have, but it’s important get in the habit of paying attention to how much you spend. I mean, you don’t want to be a gluttonous consumer do you? You don’t want to have to ask your parents for money do you? You shouldn’t. And you won’t have to if you act properly. Here are some articles that can help more with that.

6. You aren’t sleeping-in past 11 am over break

There are two reasons why you shouldn’t revert to your “sleeping to 1pm” routine. The first is that you will have a detrimental transition back to the early mornings college often calls for, and the second reason is that sleeping away your break is about as cool as sleeping away college.

7. You found yourself excited to participate in class

There are all sorts of reasons not to participate in class. You could be nervous around all the strangers. You could think you don’t know the right answer. The right answer could be so obvious that no one cares to say it. You just could be sleepy. But after a few classes these deterrents starts to wear thin. People start getting interested, opinionated, and tired of the vapid silenced rendered from an unenthusiastic classroom. Did you help break the silence? If so then check this off.

8. You want to do some reading over the Winter break

While there’s no shame in spending time over break doing some ‘good old’ passive activities (Internet wondering, TV show binging, etc.) it would be pretty awesome if you had the desire to do some personal reading based on something you were studying in your first semester. If you do have this itch, then check out how to keep your momentum going into Winter break.

9. You’re excited to go back
This one doesn’t really need an explanation.

College Advice College Life

Should I Join a Theatre Group in College?

Take it from a former college theatre geek, your school stage will most likely be the best and last stage you'll ever be on. 

After graduation, it’s all community theater and church ensembles, and who has the time for that? Nobody, that's who. 

Going to the farmers market is one of those things that just feels good.

They're quaint and novel, full of happy people buying hand-grown food, and sometimes, they even have a guy playing an accordian over by the pickle stand. It doesn't get better than that, my friends. 

On-Campus Farmers Markets

The lost art of growing vegitables and selling them directly to the community isn't lost yet at these awesome college, where students and professors alike are able to walk less than the length of the campus to a fresh and fantastic farmers markets.

Disc Golf is Everwhere on a College Campus

What do a statue of a university founder, a liberal arts building and an on-campus coffee shop have in common? They can all be disc golf targets.

That’s right, practically every college campus can and should be used as a disc golf course. It’s done at St. Mary’s University, where students get to throw over streams and historic graveyards. And it’s done at the University of Oregon, where students shoot through skinny, sprawling oak trees.

Why Chess is Such a Great Game

Chess may be one of the most important games in humanity.

It has taken geniuses and robots to master, has lasted through centuries of sporting, permeated across the globe and found its way onto almost every college campus in the country. Yet despite its prodigious back story, it is still one of the most democratic games, funneling down to just two individuals and their wits. 

Who is Wes Anderson?

Wes Anderson is half-average guy half-magician. His fashion, visual style, films and characters are all relatable, genuine, cool and absurdly different. He’s been making amazing cult films since the late 80’s, attracting fans of all ages and backgrounds. But at one point he was nothing more than a dude sitting in the back of a college play-write class, looking to make friends and talk movies. 

Having something you wrote with your name attached to it on a website that you didn’t create is resume gold. I'm not talking about your personal blog (which can still be very impressive), I'm talking about guest blogging. 

Guest blogging shows initiative, skill, and business cunning. And although it seems like everyone’s doing it, trust me, it’ll still make you stand out.

The best thing about SpoonUniversity is that its writers understand students. 

College students go to class. College students study in libraries. College students go on $3 hot dog runs at 2 a.m. What they don’t do—is cook. At least not as much as they could.

SpoonUniversity is fixing that.

Having trouble making friends in college?

Worry not - you're not alone! Making friends at any stage of life is a challenge, especially if you're somewhat shy, introverted, or -- we're just going to come out and say it -- "picky". 

Some think it should be easy to make friends in college since there are so many people around, but that's not true. If anything, the amount of options and directions students are pulled in can make it harder to find someone you can really get along with. 

Alright, if our calculations are correct then between move-in day and graduation day you could meet a Prince, a future American President, a surfer musician, a quarterback, or a genius.

You could also meet some other non-famous cutie hanging out around campus, but that wouldn't be as exciting. 

Competitive people can’t help being competitive just like lazy people can’t help being lazy. It’s simply in the blood. But for obvious (and unfortunate) culturally American reasons, teachers, parents and honest friends will berate you for being lazy, but wont for being overly competitive. That’s because competitive people tend to excel: top percentile grades, multiple extracurricular activities and popularized class rank are among some of the achievements of those who win at school.

Should You Listen to Your Parents College Advice?

For the most part, yes. When it comes to picking a degree or figuring out the finances then your parents can be a huge help.

But there are other things about they don't know a whole lot about, and that's because college has changed so much since they went. 

The basics are the same—find a subject you like and excel at it, enjoy your social life but don’t get carried away, try to get a degree in four years—but some of what they tell you will only get your hopes up or stress you out. Here's what's changed. 

College is Full of Surprises

There are a lot of cliches about college. Even friends, family, and former students can give you false information.

Every school (and people's perceptions of them) are different. And sometimes people just flat out embellish (you know those people). 

They say that Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but they're wrong, it’s called Google.

Everything you need to know to be able to write a good research paper, bring relatable current news to your classroom, back up your arguments and lead a rewarding life you can be found through Google.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of bad information out there that will clutter your search results and force you to miss the good stuff. We don't want you to miss the good stuff. 

The End of Winter Break...

The start of the second semester is a strange time to be a student. For the past several weeks, your lifestyle has been the complete antithesis to educational development—you’ve probably finished a shameful number of Netflix shows, spent some quality time with hometown friends, and haven’t been waking up before 10 or reading from a textbook.

Now, you'll soon be going back to campus where you'll be asked to do the total opposite.

If you don’t start a club in college, chances are you never will. That’s just the truth. I mean it’s the perfect place. It’s full of active, fun-seeking, mostly adventurous students—enough to flock around most obscure/unique/weird interests you may have.

If you’re down with all this and want to continue or start an epic tradition, then listen up, because there are still some things that can go way wrong.