Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How to Survive your Freshman Year of College

Getting ready for my first year of college was kinda like getting ready for Kindergarten.

 I didn't know how it was going to be like, I was terrified and overly excited at the same time, and I asked my parents so many questions that they threatened that they were going to ground me for a month if I didn't stop (that only happened when I was getting ready for Kindergarten though).

My Freshman year was a learning experience, (and for the majority of it, all I wanted to do was just curl up in a ball and either bawl my eyes out until I slept or just sleep) but it was also an experience in itself in showing me how to be an adult, how people who write textbooks have no lives, and how a professor's only goal in life is to make their student's lives miserable.

Here's how to survive your Freshman year at least (in no certain order):

Read the textbook
Of course this is way easier said than done, but at least try to do it! Do it as soon as you get the textbook, because if you wait until class actually starts you will get left behind (that happened to me during my fall semester with Chemistry. I was so far behind that I just stopped reading the textbook and relied mostly on homework and (badly written) notes. I passed anyway, but still don't do it!!!). Reading the textbook ahead of time is also a way to know in advance what your professor is going to be lecturing about anyway. If you already know the material already, it is then that much easier to understand a complicated subject the second time around (and you'll have much more "free" time).

Plan everything in advance
Get a planner! Or an Agenda Book! Or a Calendar! (Or your mother!) You will need this in order to keep your brain intact and preventing it from turning in a bowl of mush at the end of the year. My mistake was that even though I did have one, I never used it, because I survived my entire middle school/ high school career memorizing everything I had to do. It will not work in College, unless you have a photographic memory (which would be very useful if I did have one). Although I never once forgot what I had to do, I screwed up my priorities and ended up procrastinating on the majority of my assignments.

Nervous Breakdowns are OK
Starting out College is nothing like high school, unless you happened to take a boatload of AP/ College Prep classes (or if you were home schooled), then you're fine. But, if you only took a few or none at all, realize that it's okay to feel overwhelmed with the sudden change in how you do practically everything. It's okay to suddenly break down and cry when your GPA is not as high as you want it to be. Attempting to study for exams that cover nearly half the textbook in only a week, along with studying for 3 other exams (depending on your major) or writing essays for all of your classes (including math) is the norm. Eventually you will get the hang of doing and studying for your assignments and it will almost be a piece of cake (or more like a quarter of a piece of cake... would pie be better?).

Make friends with your professors
Being friends with your professors will get you far in life (or in the semester at least)! Just try to do so in a non-scandalous kind of way. Even if you only get to spend only 15 weeks with them, being friendly allows you to be in your professors's good graces and it will be much easier to convince them to move up test and assignment dates.

Join Clubs
This is a great place to start if none of your friends wanted to go to the same college as you (I'm lucky because only one of my friends came with me, but she's in none of my classes). You can find people who have the same weird interests as you do and start hanging with them for the rest of your college life. Clubs also get your mind off of the assignments that you should be doing. (If the meetings for the clubs at my college weren't held all at the same time I could probably go to more clubs, but logic is not a trait that college possesses.)

Be friendly
At times, trying to make friends in an unfamiliar place might feel like getting all of your wisdom teeth getting pulled out at the same time. It might even feel like betrayal, because while your childhood friends are studying in other states, here you are making new ones. No doubt, it will be awkward. But at the same time since you don't want to end up all alone and crying in a corner, you try your best! In the end you'll get people who you can share your experiences with and they'll be right next to you through it all.

Eat lots of food
A happy stomach = a happy brain. Eat so you will be able to remember everything you need to and you'll be able to accomplish all of your assignments. Eat too little and you'll forget everything. Eat too much and you'll fall asleep trying to remember everything. Why must food be so mean?

Study within your means
I'll tell you right now, I hate studying (who likes studying?). But, you gotta do it or else you get a low GPA. And a low GPA means spending more time in school. School's boring right? So, do it right the first time! Cramming, no matter how well you know the subject, is never a good idea. If you continue, you might as well turn your head into a toilet, because nothing will stay in it. That's about as smart as writing a 10-paged paper without once hitting the save button, going through a blackout, and losing all of your work. Instead, plan your time wisely. Study only a few hours a day, everyday, and be sure to take breaks in between studying sessions. (Note that taking breaks between sessions does not mean going out and hanging with friends or just abandoning your work for video games for hours at a time. That's stupid and mostly counterproductive.) Little by little you will grasp your information and soon enough everyone will beg ask for your help.

Sleeping vs. Napping
Everyone has different opinions when it comes to sleeping vs. napping. I personally feel like crap every time I wake up from a nap, so I usually forgo the nap and go straight to work, using sleep as a reward for all the good work I did. Or, if I'm feeling really unproductive, I don't just optimistically take a nap, have an epiphany, and get back to work. I just go to sleep and leave my assignment until the next day, and sometimes the day after, or even the day after that. Whether you like taking naps for short intervals of time while doing your assignments or just waiting until you're finished to sleep, it will be the same end result, but just don't skip it all together, unless you're procrastinating.

Learn how to drive
On my third week of school I got into an accident (and it was only about 6 months before that I had gotten my probationary licence).
When my daddy came rushing to the scene of the accident, he looked in even worse shape than the car.
It might sound stupid if you're a resident, but as a commuter it is imperative because if you don't really know how to drive then you're screwed (or at least inconvenienced like I was).

The year will go by in a flash  
If you're worrying about how your first year of college will go, chances are that you will spend more time worrying than the time you'll actually spend in class. The semesters will go by quickly, you'll have a whole entourage of friends, and if you're lucky you'll take over the entire school in only a year.

So, Forget about it and have fun! But, don't forget about studying...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This is not Really a Blog Post, but an Update

I'm sorry that it's been about 8 days since my last post, but a lot of things have come up. I noticed that since I haven't posted anything, my site views have gone down (like I had that many..). I just wanted to let you guys know that I haven't forsaken this blog yet! Don't worry!

For the last 5 days I've become the battleground of a fierce battle between my immune system and this really terrible mysterious cold/flu/sandpaper throat/feeling-like-a-rubber-chicken syndrome. I feel like I'm suffering from every single infectious disease known to man and it sucks!

I think my body's confused. I'm hot then I'm cold. I'm dizzy. I have no sense of smell. I feel like I have cotton balls stuffed up my nostrils. I feel like I'm dying. I feel like those floppy balloon things that you find in front of car dealers. I am constantly at risk of "dying" from asphyxiation by phlegm. My nose is now the 8th wonder of the world, next to Niagara Falls. I am in desperate need of sleep. My parents have constantly threatened to kill me if I don't allow them to sleep. I also think that I've probably coughed up a whole bunch of vital organs, which I probably don't need, because I haven't died yet (Y'know like your heart and lungs?).

But you know what makes things even worse? At the moment I have no Health Insurance (Right at the perfect moment right?). Because I'm apparently too old (19) to stay under my parent's Insurance. (Obamacare is looking pretty appealing right now...) So, now I'm also playing the "waiting game" to see if I get accepted.

Other than that, I'm great! And I'm trying to get back on track and writing new posts. I have so many ideas, but right now, with my extremely clouded brain, I can't remember any of them. So, stay tuned!  Or rather just sit in front of your computer screen, holding your breath until I write a new post.

P.S: I'm eating lots and lots of vegetables and soup and instant noodles. Plus I'm also drinking lots of water and tea, so hopefully I get better soon.

UPDATE: So yesterday (2 days later) I went to the doctor's office and I was prescribed a whole bunch of medications, including antibiotics (which immediately told me that it was definitely more serious than a cold). I found out that I have Sinusitis, which is an infection where your sinuses (which are supposed to be empty) fill up with liquid and then drain into your ears, nose, throat and lungs. (If everything is being drained why do I still feel like a clogged-up pipe?)  So, now I'm all drugged up and on the road to recovery!

Monday, July 7, 2014

You'll Never Catch Me Drinking These Names (not now at least)

DISCLAIMER: (This post doesn't really need a disclaimer, but I just wanted to put one just because.) The people who made up the names of the following alcoholic beverages that you are about to see were probably drunk off of beer and thought to themselves: "Heeeey (How I would assume a drunk person would sound like)! We should make our own beer! But let's give it a really "drunk-off-my-butt" name! It's complete GENIUS!"

And thus, that supposed conversation between really creative, but extremely drunk people is what created fuel for this post and therefore this picture:
Does the fact that there are two "Sweet Baby Jesus!" cases cancel out the exploitative and "Ghost Rider's shaving equipment" cases surrounding them? (Note that all these beers are made by the same "person")
I can imagine that if you said the name of each beverage in a drunken stupor then I guess these names would make sense. But, as a person who is still too young to enjoy the prospect of potentially damaging my liver and contracting an extreme case of the "giggles," (like my mother. The giggles, not the liver damage) the names really go beyond me. Unless, they are trying to attract their market of really drunk people, which in that case would also make sense, but would also be a major faux pas because I don't think anybody in my town gets that drunk (not in public at least).

How did I get there? Well, I was out with my mom yesterday, shopping for wine at an establishment that sells a whole variety of wines and other alcoholic beverages (because she enjoys drinking cooking with wine). And I happened to see a whole bunch of things that made me laugh, one of noteworthiness was the fact that the store had an entire subsection dedicated to different types of cigars, which immediately made me think of all those James Bond movies in which Bond either drank or smoked a cigar (I tried to find a video of him smoking and drinking at the same time to prove the store's logic--because that was obviously what they were thinking of--but I couldn't find any examples.) You see the picture right? (I assure you I am not crazy.)
"Shaken, not stirred...The martini, not the cigar."
And the other thing that I found funny is what constitutes that entire blurb in the beginning. (Maybe I should have written in chronological order? Nah. It's way more funnier this way, in my opinion.) Oh well, at least as a consolation prize for suffering through this whole post, here's a bonus:

See kids? This is why you should never drink alcohol.
I think this is wonderful marketing. This says: "Drinking this is soo dangerous, it's basically the same as "Running with Scissors."' A note to all children who will eventually start drinking (including myself). Keep this in the back of your skull, if nothing else.

NOTE: I sincerely apologize if you can't read what it says on the bottle very well (My smartphone camera isn't very smart). I tried to correct this with my vast knowledge of photo editing, (through mostly using filters) and that didn't work... So, here's a link to the website.

2nd NOTE: In writing this post I was kinda inspired by this post written by The Bloggess. Completely different subject matter, I agree, but funny nonetheless.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The 16 People You Meet In Kindergarten

Remember that time when you'd think to yourself, "I wish I could go back to Kindergarten."? No? Then you're weird. But, if you do then you were no doubt remembering the days when you lacked responsibilities, could get away with murder, and had a curfew before 8 p.m.

Reflecting back on my childhood, I realize that it was great. No matter how many times I complained about how quickly I wanted to grow up, the amount of peas on my plate, or how many times I had lost my favorite toys at school out of pure forgetfulness, I will never forget the people around me who were the first ones to expose me to an actual community. Or the people who I continued to grow up with from Pre-School/Kindergarten all the way through High School and even into College. Thank you. I miss you all and this is dedicated especially to you guys.

But on a much less serious note, when you think of Kindergarten what images first come to mind? Well, maybe children eating glue, or getting gum stuck in other children's hair, wild imaginations, finger painting, snack and lunch time, nap time? Not at my school. I'm kidding. Of course at my school, (and I would hope that at everyone else's) this type of behavior thrived because it's Kindergarten. The "children's garden," (when literally translated from German) meaning that when it comes to children's personalities, there is a whole lot to choose from.

For example:
  1. The Booger-boy:
    If I could re-write the story of Hansel and Gretel and kick out the kid-eating witch and Gretel, it would definitely be about this kid, because you could follow his trail of boogers to find him. His name should be "Salty Harry," because he obviously loves anything fitting that description. Ironically, he's pretty smart and you definitely know when he's thinking of something because while his mind wanders off in space, his fingers wander up his nostrils. He also cares very much about hygiene, so when he's finished "digging for gold," he'll wipe his hands on whatever surface becomes available to him (He also believes in marking his territory). He's also very friendly and will shake the hands of everyone he meets.
  2. Mr. Poopie-Pants:
    "I wonder if Lord Voldemort had a sense of smell," should be the first thought that comes to mind when you meet this kid. He's already five years old, and a really big kid, but if he told you "I'm a big kid now!," he'd be lying, because he has yet to be potty-trained. It's not through nervousness or weak bowels, but just plain laziness in my opinion. I mean, the bathroom was right in the classroom! No need to walk up endless flights of stairs or to the bathroom that was also conveniently placed right outside the classroom! But you're just so lazy that even when people complain of a smell and every one knows that it's you, you just ignore everyone and continue playing like nothing's happened.
  3. The Princess:
    I've never met anyone so perfect...ly annoying! While it is apparent that your parents have made you up to be a different breed of child, it doesn't mean that you should subjugate us under your tyrannical rule in the process. The first things we learned in class were: how to share, how to make friends, and how being mean is bad. You just take each of these lessons and throw caution to the wind, because those rules were never meant for you. You did whatever you wanted and you got away with with it, just because your grandmother is the principal of the school. While every little thing we did was heavily scrutinized by our teachers, your bouts of abuse and attempt at human trafficking warrants no reaction because the principal specifically told our teachers to pay no mind to her little "angel." We know otherwise.
  4. The Poacher:
    Even though you might have to makings to becoming the first "real Pokemon master," your real pride comes when you show off your collection of dead animals. It doesn't matter that your prized possessions are a decomposed and mutilated mess. The more guts that are seen the better. Your parents have already gone through about a dozen pairs of shoes because of your gutsy design choices. But we all know what you love even more than finding dead things. You like making living things...dead. If you were the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland (albeit a male one), then you would have been right at home determining the fate of innocent animals. Everyone knows that you're weird, and that they should stay away from you, but you're such an awesome person that they have no choice but to hang around you.
  5. The Mute:
    You don't say much. You don't cause trouble. But everyone thinks that something is a little off about you because instead of playing, you choose to sit by yourself. On the playground, during snack time, during story time, and you especially love watching people during nap time (but you fail to realize that no one actually naps during nap time). Are you plotting something? Do you like and/or hate us? Do you just hate people? We all ask you these questions, but of course all you do is just stare blankly back at us. Everyone's tried in vain to be your friend, so don't repay us by claiming that no one ever wanted to be your friend. Like you'd ever say anything anyway.
  6. The Drama Queen:
    You've never taken an acting lesson in your entire life. So, explain to me once again why you insist that your life is taken out of the script of a movie that I saw with my parents last week? Everything you say, everything you do is overly exaggerated and so drawn out that I'm surprised that you still have time to make friends, because all you seem to have time for is losing them. Everything must go your way, since your entire life is apparently scripted. Your favorite phrase to say is: "I'm gonna tell my mom!," because all your life you've gotten whatever you wanted and on the rare chance that something didn't go the way you wanted...let's not go there. Every scrape, every push, every time you accidentally bumped into someone in the hallway, you think it is imperative to make a spectacular scene of how you're dying. If you were a cat you probably would've died 3 times (that's 27 lives)! Please, I beg of you, spare us your "antic disposition" and probably people will actually like you.
  7. The Tattle-tale:
    You're the only person in the entire world who could disprove the undisputed fact that light travels faster than sound. Whenever anyone sees you coming he immediately stops what he's doing and stands still until you move onto another target. You see everything and miss absolutely nothing. When you grow up, you'll either be a paparazzo or a writer for TMZ. You're best friends with the drama queen (or rather her lackey) and you'll back up anything she says with convincing evidence, even if it's fabricated. You're wise beyond your years and know way too much for a kindergartner, but your teachers won't move you up any grades because they, even though they want you out of their hair, don't want to give the problem to anyone else (just yet). They love you very much, but would rather do without your go-to catchphrase: "Ooooooh, I'm telling..."
  8. Mr. Lack-of-self-Control/ Mr. Spazz-Attack:
    You're so bad at controlling yourself that you have plenty of nicknames. I, for the sake of space, only listed two of those names. You spend your time chasing after girls and then proceeding to pull your pants down in front of them in order to show them how much of a boy you really are. If you were a grown-up, no doubt, someone would've filed a restraining order against you. You also lack a solid connection between your brain and your appendages, and therefore take no responsibility when someone gets hurt by you. You enjoy sniffing everything including: hair, markers, paint, and glue. Your teachers are afraid that when you grow up you might turn into a crackhead, but that's far from your mind right now. You just appreciate smells. You're best friends with Mr. Poopie-pants, the Booger-boy, the Poacher, the Overly Excited Weirdo, and the Corner Kid. You're extremely popular with everyone, but there's a strange rumor that you're the carrier of a strange disease called "cooties."
  9. The Mommy:
    You love playing "house." You start crying when it's time to go home, because that would mean leaving behind your "baby" at school. "Who's going to take care of her? Feed her? Change her diaper?," are the questions that you ask your teachers everyday when they accompany you to your bus stop. You're never satisfied with their answer, but at least you get to take "her" home over the weekend. You claim to be "married" to the Booger-boy, but would rather it be to Mr. Spazz-attack since he genuinely cares about your baby (but you would never say this publicly because you're afraid of catching and spreading his "cooties" to your baby). You have a wonderful work ethic and are able to accomplish all of your activities in record time. You are at odds with the Princess, because you believe that hard work and friendship trumps laziness and slavery. You don't even pay attention to the Drama Queen, because you're way too busy taking care of your baby to deal with drama.
  10. The Overly Excited Weirdo:
    You remember those kids who were extremely excited at the beginning of the school year, but then their excitement plummeted down on the second day of school? Well, it's definitely not the case with this kid. This kid is excited everyday, 24/7, for all 365 days a year! You've never seen him cry once. You've also never heard him use his "inside" voice. He's always yelling at the top of his lungs and announcing everything he finds to his very best friends: the Poacher and Mr. Spazz-attack. When he grows up you think he'd be the perfect commentator on Univision during the FIFA World Cup. His teachers find him a bit overbearing and kind of creepy, but hope that he holds onto to his overly excitable personality throughout his school career. Too bad in High School he's going to turn into the Anti-social goth kid.
  11. The Corner Kid:
    You've practically never seen this kid's face because it's always turned towards the wall. He might as well walk into class and right over to the wall, because that's all he seems capable of. What did he do? No one remembers, but it must've been way worse than sticking gum in a girl's hair, because no one's ever stood in the corner for that. He's pretty fond of the Mute, because she always finds a way to listen to the Corner Kid's problems and even shares some of her lunch with him when he can't eat it because he's in time-out. His teachers hope that the Corner Kid will one day stop causing trouble, but he's a repeat offender. He's also gotten so used to standing in the corner that sometimes he'd voluntarily take his nap standing up.
  12. The Equestrian:
    If you could sum up "high class," using this kid would be an understatement. Everything about her is absolutely perfect. Her walk, the way she talks, the way she comports herself, even her clothing is perfect. She's best friends with the Princess, but she'd much rather hang with her other equestrian friends from the other class. Together they go horseback riding all around the playground (on the backs of other children) while using their riding crops as motivation. At lunch when you hear the talk of candy, it is probably safe to assume that the Equestrians are talking about their horses. They enjoy eating cucumber sandwiches and lots of carrots. They also enjoy making fun of people's laughs when it sounds like a horse. They could get into trouble, were it not for the fact that collectively, the "Equestrians's" moms are all a part of the PTA (a.k.a the mafia of mothers).
  13. The Adaptable Race Car Driver:
    When it comes to playtime, this kid is a wizard. He can turn any toy into a race car. The Mommy absolutely hates him. Even though he's her baby's "uncle," whenever she leaves the baby in her brother's care she always comes back to find a Transformer (baby in disguise). Whenever he's doing classroom activities he's almost as bad as the Squirrel, because he can never get his work done and always ends up turning his pencils into race cars. He hangs regularly with the Corner Kid, but he hates him because instead of listening to the Corner Kid's problems, he just takes random objects and turns those into race cars. Ironically, he doesn't want to be a race car driver when he grows up, but an archaeologist... like Indiana Jones.
  14. The Squirrel:
    Like the name suggests, this kid has the attention span of a squirrel. She hates following directions and would much rather continue playing instead of taking a nap. She's an extremely likable person, but she is literally everywhere. She can't stay in one place for a prolonged period of time (that includes the corner) and getting her to talk coherently is just as difficult. She also gets into everyone's personal space. She has big ideas and dreams that are even bigger, but everyone just thinks that she's just talking "crazy talk." It might be true, because besides the multitudes of friends that she possesses, she feels the need to create "imaginary" ones. She often sits by herself looking out of the window, because she thinks that it's much more interesting than following what's going on in class. Her teachers have mixed feelings about her, but they still love her unconditionally (she's sort of a teacher's pet).
  15. The Momma's Boy:
    Is it a good thing if your mother also happens to be a teacher at the school you go to? Maybe...but this is not the case. Your mother loathes you. Not in the "I wish he was never born" way, but in the "I wish he would stay in class and leave me alone" way. Your mother is a second grade teacher, but apparently you show characteristics of someone who actually wants to skip a grade (or two). But, just for the sake of being with your mother is not a good enough reason to do so. You're extremely clingy and you get in the way of mother's teaching. Your teachers know not to let you out of the classroom, but you come up with so many crafty and convincing excuses, it's hard to know when you are or when you aren't telling the truth. You have no friends, besides your mom and you're failing Kindergarten! I don't know how that's possible, but I guess you can explain this to me next year, granted if you move on to the next grade.  Thankfully, (at least for your mom) you're going to be transferred to another school, in another district and you'll never be heard from again.
  16. The Crybaby:
    If crying was a superpower, you'd definitely call upon this kid. But, it's not like she can always control it. Sometimes, it just happens. Niagara Falls at will. She cries for anything and everything. Her teachers find her aggravating and have witnessed her crying so many times that they have grown deaf to the sound of her crying. When you come around to asking her "why are you crying?," she'd eventually tell you that she doesn't remember and continue to cry even harder. She's cried so much that she even has perfected 3 different forms of crying: the Projectile, the Waterfall, and the Crocodile. Fortunately it's only just a phase, but unfortunately, this nickname lasts with her until the end of middle school. 
Why am I writing about Kindergarten? Well recently my youngest brother just finished Elementary School, and I just sat back and thought: "Huh. So, 6 years ago my youngest brother actually started school... And now he's practically halfway done? He is going to middle school now after all... Wait, I started school 14 years ago? Wow, I'm getting old (not really). I wonder if I still remember how I was when I was in Kindergarten..." (And yes, I do have these really deep conversations with myself, don't judge)

Anyways continuing on, being a Kindergartner exposes you to the world and takes you away from the isolated nest that your parents were counting down the days to throw you out of. It gives you a taste of what possibilities actually lie in the world and the belief that those possibilities could one day turn into realities. As we age, these realities turn back into possibilities and then they turn into dreams. Ideas, waiting to be plucked from the sky and rethought of again and again until it becomes a tangible reality.

These people who we meet in Kindergarten, no matter how strange they come off as, make us who we are. They allow us to go on bravely into the world in order to conquer whatever obstacle comes our way!

That is of course before we move on to first grade and the notion of homework is introduced.

NOTE: If you're wondering why I have 16 people, instead of 10 or 15, here's the reasoning behind my logic. I was originally going to put only 10 people, then I remembered some more character-types and increased it to 15, then I thought: "Hey! What the Heck! Why don't I add one more!" So now it's 16 people. I was going to increase it again to 20, but then I thought: "Ain't nobody got time for that!!"