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.