Learn to Work It

*throws ludicrous amount of confetti into the air*
One semester down, three semesters to go.

A few weeks ago I finished my last test of the semester, and felt kind of like…
Well…

Imagine you drank a gallon of water earlier, and have finally made it to a bathroom after 3 hours of waiting to reach one…
It felt like that. Pure satisfaction with everything around me. A complete release of everything weighing me down (Hahaha).
Anyway, I learned some things, forgot some things, and altered some views that I’ll tell the internet about a few of now.
*Please note that these are not my “top lessons”, nor are they arranged in any particular way.

1. Make All of the Friends
I figured this out my freshman year of undergrad when I realized that teamwork makes the A+ dream work (especially when taking a test), but I think it stands to be more helpful in graduate school. Why? Because while the other benefits are still there, here I am sitting at 23, and a majority of my classmates are 35 and older. Lessons learned, wise words, different perspectives and experiences, networking, mutual frustrations, and sooo many resources all available in an instant. Gotta love it.

2. Become a Better You
Initially I found myself thinking about what I needed to change to fit this “type” that everyone seemed to be. I’ve never been one to conform, but something about wanting to be a successful product of my program broke me of that for a few weeks. Eventually I realized that the “type” I saw was made up in my mind – probably out of nervousness – and in actuality what I was noticing was how they had all found their “personality niche”, if you will. Again, my classmates have kids, a spouse, established careers, etc., and have had time to figure out how to be themselves unapologetically, anywhere, 24/7. I’ve always had a broad ideal of “who” I am – calm, cool, collected, loving, sarcastic – now I just have to learn from these folks how to refine and define it even more so I can REALLY present my full potential.
I apologize for how terribly cliché this title is, but at 2am it’s the best I could pull the effort to come up with.

3. Expectations are for the Birds
Do you capitalize “are” in a title? I’ve forgotten, and I refuse to Google it. Oh well, I’ll fix it later. Maybe.
So, expectations shouldn’t always exist. Yes, I paid for the course Animals 101 (not really) and I should expect to be taught about animals, but I shouldn’t expect my classroom to be in a building on campus vs. taking field trips everyday to the zoo or aquarium to have class there. I shouldn’t expect a project to take 10 minutes to complete, just because it is titled “The 6 Minute Project” (It actually took about 5 hours). I shouldn’t expect to be bored out of my mind because a lecture class also requires reading 6 novels a week (super exaggeration), or expect to be entertained every class because the subject is magic (I think magicians are pretty awesome). Basically I have a new kind of respect for the phrase ‘expect the unexpected’. I had to in a sense forget what an expectation was, because the notion just messes you up.

4. Sometimes Instead of Dying, Old Habits Change Address
When it comes to school, procrastination has been my homie for as long as I can remember. Some of my best papers and speeches have been the result of a 2 hour countdown to a deadline. However, when I took up this new obstacle I promised myself that I would try to do better with waiting until the last minute when I’ve had ample time to do an assignment. It worked, and I complete work the day I get it. However, now instead of the day before, I wait until an hour before a test to start studying… Baby steps, folks. Baby steps.

5. Don’t Be So Serious
The first day of my favorite class, I took a seat in front of a model-esque guy in a slim-fit tailored suit, hair gelled and styled to perfection with a look of “stone cold professional” on his face, who was silently typing something on his computer while classical music filled the room. At exactly 5pm, he surveyed the class, stood up, and made a comment about bosses sending emails after hours and how he doesn’t have time for their tomfoolery while he’s trying to enjoy life. While the topic of the day wasn’t funny in the least, he kept us laughing all period. This guy became my favorite teacher.
A few days later I found myself sitting in the office of one of the colleges’ (I think it was business… Or maybe engineering?) professors , and on her wall in the middle of all of her degrees was a framed Star Wars picture. On her desk sat Darth Vader, LeBron James, and Cinderella bobble heads, and if I’m not mistaken her fancy gold nameplate had a small slanted crown etched into the top left corner. This lady had degrees and awards to the ceiling and couldn’t care less what you thought of her decorations. Loved it. I’m fond of telling people to not be so serious in the workplace, heck even given presentations on the subject, but some moments this semester just kind of cemented the idea in a new way for me.

6. I Hate…
*Online group discussions – those ‘type a response to the excerpt and respond to two of your classmates’ responses’ “discussions”; hate em’. I find myself leaving the most generic responses ever, or searching the depths of my mind for any question I can ask about a post that explains everything.
*5 minute presentations – it’s maddening having to do a ton of work and gather a ton of info, then only having 5 minutes to present what you would like to have 30 minutes for. It’s not a big problem, and I’m thankful for the easy A, but darn it I hate 5 minute presentations.
*Waiting in line for a chicken sandwich – Not sure why, but suddenly I super duper hate waiting in line at the campus Chick-Fil-A. There was one in my undergrad’s food court, but I didn’t mind waiting for my turn to select an item from the huge 5 item menu. Now, not so much. I want my spicy chicken sandwich with pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, and Polynesian sauce, and I want it now. Right now.

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