Things Learned This Semester

The semester seems to have moved faster than usual. As I’m sitting in the airport, headed for home, writing this, and despite the gray clouds covering the sky and finals being over, it still feels like it should be September. So much has happened, these last few months, and it still seems absurd that in less than eight hours I will be home.

Here are a few of the things I’ve learned this semester:

  1. Resist the urge to just do the bare minimum. It’s easy to skim over readings, take half-hearted notes. It doesn’t matter if the professor is wonderful or terrible, you’ll get less out of the class if you don’t put in the effort. Thinking critically will allow you to evaluate the world in a different light. It will enable you to think of other people complexly.
  2. Write down funny quotes that your friends say. Maybe add context, for later purposes. But you’ll look back at those quotes and be reminded of the moment and that is important.
  3. You should go watch school sports. This was a strange one for me, because I don’t particularly dislike sports, in fact I rather enjoy watching both soccer and basketball. Much to my own surprise, I manage to get wrapped up in the game, in the way the players interact with each other. Still, until this semester I somehow managed to not go to a single sporting event. (I know, I know.) I suppose I’m just saying: try something new. Something that you aren’t sure whether or not you’ll like. Maybe you’ll be surprised.
  4. Pretzels dipped in Nutella is delicious.
  5. Don’t be afraid of being honest, of being blunt. People have a way of dancing around the truth and never really saying what they want to say. Don’t do that. Don’t be afraid of what other people will think, let them know what you’re thinking.
  6. Sometimes the timing just isn’t right.
  7. Space out your dinning dollars, but know that if you get to the end of the semester and have none, your friends with extra will be more than happy to buy you food.
  8. Go on walks. Tacoma is truly beautiful. Go look at the houses, at the Little Lending Library’s scattered across the streets, at the Sound.
  9. Give your friend’s hugs.
  10. Talk to new people. They’re nice. You’ll probably have something in common with them. Make an effort to make new friends, they’ll help you gain a different perspective on college.
  11. Don’t forget about your old friends, though. Make them know they’re important.
  12. Get off campus. Walk to the Met, explore Seattle, go to Frisko Freeze late at night in your pajamas, and wander around Point Defiance.
  13. Read The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan; “Some Extensions on the Sovereignty of Science” by Alberto Rios; On Writing by Stephen King; and The Sheltering Desert by Henno Martin.
  14. Remember that it’s the little things that don’t seem important that matter the most. Those stupid moments, those times when you’re just laughing, eating breakfast with friends. Those moments are the foundations to a friendship.
  15. Cry when you need to cry. And don’t be afraid of crying in front of other people. Your friends care about you, they want to help you. They want you to feel better as much as you want to feel better.
  16. Let yourself have lip synch battles with your friends, even if you’re in a semi-public place. Also: improv rap battles.
  17. Don’t put off things until the last minute and get a good night’s sleep. Especially before tests.
  18. Email your teachers from high school. I read this poem in high school and I could only remember a few lines (“My student wrote star smoke, star love, star cape… / into poem after poem and told me once that her father / never said he loved her”) and pointlessly spent hours attempted to google the lines to figure it out. Eventually, I decided to email my high school English teacher, as I read the poem in her Creative Writing class junior year. She wonderfully emailed me back the poem and asked me how school was going. Don’t loose those connections.
  19. Have weird conversations, have deep conversations.
  20. Know that you don’t know everything. You’ll never know everything. And that’s okay.