friends

College Friends in the Post College World

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Attend any high school graduation ceremony across the country and you’re likely to observe the same scene; girls in tight embrace, the football team coming together for one last huddle, scores of students weeping. Instead of a scene of jubilation, many of these rituals resemble a wake as people realize that this is the death of many of their friendships. There may be a few best friends that attend the same university or a handful of delusional couples that swear their high school relationships can survive a freshman year of new guys and winking sorority girls, but most accept the reality that they will grow up and thus, grow apart.

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Though we may have a better hold on our emotions in our early twenties, the scenario remains the same. Post collegiate commencement, we will continue to grow. While the leap from high school to college mainly meant being in new surroundings, the growth that transpires after college graduation takes us somewhere much larger; the real world. Once in that real world, we migrate to many different places.

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Take for example, the case of my undergrad best friend and myself. Once outside the halls of higher education, we grew in two opposite directions. While I got married to a southern belle, sired a future sorority president and eased into domestic life at 31, she maintained the single persona, moving out of our home city and remaining a mainstay at happy hours and ladies nights any day of the week. Both lifestyles are suitable for each of us as there is no handbook on how a thirty year old is supposed to act, however the stumbling block appears when we talk on the phone. While I’m not really interested in “Oh my God, two of my exes were in the same bar at the same time last night and last night was Monday”, I’m sure she is less than excited by “I’m up to my arms in baby poop and statistics homework.” Things become even more convoluted when we are in person, as the idea of a fun night for one of us is to storm the college bar for $5 pitchers and cheese fries while the other would rather be tucked away in an art gallery for a local artist’s opening. I’ll allow you to guess who prefers what.

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The moral of the story is that while you and you’re college roomie may be as thick as thieves in the current, post college growth finds us all. In our institutional lives, personalities may be the bookends of the spectrum, but the bond is the school you call home. In the post graduate world, that bond disappears and the life blood of a friendship depends on common interest. Although there is not much one can do to stop the growth process, it is manageable. Just as there were different tables in the high school cafeteria (the jocks, the preppies, the theatre folk) so too are there tables in the post graduate world. Today when I wish to lament about my daughter’s struggle to sleep through the night, I look to my friends sitting at the “We Have Kids Your Kid’s Age, We Feel You Bro” table. When looking for companionship at football tailgate, I drift to the “No Kids, Just Career” table. Lastly, when I’m in a mood that makes me reminiscent of my days as an undergraduate, fraternity scoundrel, I dip to the “It’s Still 2003, Let’s Get Crunk” table, where I find my undergraduate best friend, with smile on her face and beer in her hand. You see reader, the trick to growing up isn’t how to keep from losing friends, it’s how to craft a three dimensional life where everything has its own, awesome place.

Getting to Know People on Campus

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It can seem daunting to land on a huge university campus, much bigger than your high school, and just be expected to make friends for life. Here are some tips to meet people and get to know people so college will seem a little less overwhelming:

  • Meet People On Your Floor- you can do this by going around with a box of cookies and knocking on people’s doors to introduce yourself, stopping into a room with an open door or just leaving your door open when your in your room to let people know that they are welcome to stop by!
  • Go To Social Events- especially at the beginning of the semester, there will be a ton of events, whether fairs on the mall or festivals on the quad, homecoming or sports games there is always something to go to- check them out and meet new people!
  • Find A Club You Are Interested In- if you are too intimidated to go to a huge social event, check out clubs that interest you- you’ll meet people who like the same things you do, and who can introduce you to yet more people.
  • Introduce Yourself To The Person Sitting Next To You- in each of your classes. Having friends in class is vital to getting notes when you “accidentally” miss class. This also gives you an automatic study-buddy for midterms and finals, and homework-helper to bounce problems off of.
  • Hang Out With Your Roommate- Who knows? Maybe he or she knows other random people on campus who you’ll sit with in the dining hall and become super close friends with…
  • Share Chocolate Cake In The Elevator- this only works if you have chocolate cake and your dorm has an elevator, but this worked for my mom and her best friend from college!

However you decide to go about it, making friends will make your college experience that much more fun and exciting! It may also be really helpful when it comes to your GPA if they are helping you out in classes also. So, don’t forget to make friends and be social while in college!

Top 5 Reasons to Study Abroad

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During your time in college, you may have an opportunity to study at an institution in another country. Many college students partake in this opportunity, as it can be a life changing experience. Here are some of the top reasons to study abroad:

1. New Way of Learning

You may have a 4.0 GPA at your home institution, but wouldn’t it be great to step outside of your old familiar classrooms and libraries? Studying abroad can offer a fantastic opportunity to continue your studies in an environment that is completely new and fresh.

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2. Travel

Once you graduate college and have a full time job, you may not have the opportunity to spend a few weeks or months in a foreign country. Take this time to travel while you have minimal responsibilities elsewhere.

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3. Interact with other cultures

Everyone does not have the opportunity to interact and make friends with people from other countries. Studying abroad could give you the chance to see what college life is like in a country that is unfamiliar to you.

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4. Expand your world perspective

It’s easy to get comfortable in your own mindset and cultures, but traveling internationally can give you a fresh perspective on the world, your life, and how it all fits together. The world will seem much smaller when you realize that we all have much more in common than we think!

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5. Learn a new language

Studying abroad can be especially beneficial to those studying linguistics or who wish to learn another language fluently. No amount of textbook studying can compare to one-on-one conversation with a native speaker of the language you are studying.

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Have you studied abroad? What were your reasons? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Conquer Finals Week

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With the semester nearing an end, finals week is quickly approaching! Wait what?! Where has all the time gone? Here is my list of the 3 biggest distractions during finals week and my expert advice on how to conquer them.

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1. PHONE

We all love our phones because they are able to connect us with the world and let us know what’s happening around us at all times. The problem is that with so many social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Yik Yak, StumbleUpon to check, it can take hours to get updated. Even games on your phone are a terrible idea during finals week, you might as well say good bye to that G.P.A. if you have any games like Tetris on your phone.

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Game found @ www.flash-gamer.eu

 

HOW TO CONQUER:  Get a friend to change your passwords during finals week! Make them promise not to tell you the passwords until after finals, not matter how many times you beg. This way after finals you can take as long as you like to get caught up on life, you should also check out the eCampus social media sites for even more updates!

2. FRIENDS

Friends or “study buddies” are great to hang out with when you have nothing to do. In fact they are a ton of fun… but maybe not the best influencers during finals week. You always have that one friend who only has one easy final so they become the biggest distraction you could imagine.

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HOW TO CONQUER: The best strategy for this is to start studying early and give yourself enough time to do what you have to do. Take some time for yourself to get majority of your work and studying done ALONE, so that you can meet up with your friends to take a break at Starbucks.

3. INTERNET

Your phone is pointless now without social media, you have your study breaks with friends under control but the one thing harder to stop is the World Wide Web. It’s always so tempting to get on YouTube and watch goofy cat videos for hours. This one below is hilarious but definitely not what you need during finals week.

 

HOW TO CONQUER: Approach looking up random websites, online shopping and watching funny videos by a reward system. You study for 3 hours and then you get rewarded with an hour internet break. This way you’ll be able to get through your studying much faster but don’t forget to retain the information otherwise this reward system doesn’t work.

HAPPY FINALS WEEK. MAY THE GRADES BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOR.

The Brighter Side of Winter

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If you don’t live under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that this winter has been particularly harsh thus far. So if your plans have been ruined and your classes have been cancelled—AGAIN—here are a few ways to stay sane while you are cooped up indoors waiting for the blizzard to pass.

  1. Don’t feel bad about cancelling plans.

This one is important. If you made plans with someone before a snowstorm, don’t feel bad about changing or postponing said plans. Remember, your safety comes first. If you must drive in this weather, be sure the roads are safe and make a list so you can get as much done in one trip as you can.

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If something were to happen when you were out getting milk and bread, be prepared to build an igloo for safety in the case of an accident. This basic skill could save your life and even if there was no accident, practicing in the backyard could lead to hours of worthwhile fun.

  1. Learn a new skill

Between Pinterest and StumbleUpon, it’s easy to find something new to learn. Maybe you’ve always wanted to crochet a scarf. Or play the harmonica.

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You could even learn how to go ice fishing, I hear Eskimo’s do this a lot in their free time why not try it out and see what the rave is all about.                                                                                   

  1. Catch up on homework

Okay so this one isn’t actually enjoyable but hey, it needs to be done. If you’re an assignment or two behind, now is a good time to catch up.

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If your fireplace is running low on wood, you could always use that homework assignment your professor gave you last week. Staying warm or doing homework? I think we know the answer.

  1. Skype your family

Your parents are probably worried about you, as parents often are, because of the severe weather. Take some time to let them know you’re okay and while you’re at it, let them know what you’ve been up to lately.

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Like how you’ve become a famous YouTube star from sledding down a hill on your campus, then flying up 15 feet in the air and planting your face into the snow.  The Today Show has already contacted you about a guest appearance – mishaps in the snow aren’t so bad.

  1. Hang out with your friends

Just because you’re staying in doesn’t mean you have to be alone! Call up some friends in town or around campus and have some fun.

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You could have a movie night, play some board games or participate in a philanthropy event! Every year, my campus hosts an undie run, you show up and donate your clothing to a homeless shelter. Then you get to run across campus in your undies, doing good and having fun all in one!