Five things I’ve learned as a first semester sophomore

Hi everyone!

Now that finals are over and grades are out, I can finally say that I am halfway done with my sophomore year! This past semester has definitely been a crazy time, and I have learned so much about both college and the real world. Most importantly, I am pretty sure I have grown into someone who is better at balancing my time while still participating in 10000 extracurricular activities (okay maybe this one is a bit of an exaggeration). I have decided to compile a list of five things I have learned this past semester from all different aspects. These are in no particular order—enjoy! 🙂

  1. Take the campus circulator and sleep in. 😛

Did you know that Wash U has its own bus system? The circ comes every 20 minutes during the school week and stops in major places around the Danforth Campus like the Mallinckrodt Center, Skinker Station, and Millbrook Garage. As a lazy student, I have taken the extra effort to calculate how much time (especially sleep time) that I can save by simply taking the campus circulator. It usually takes me around 20 minutes to walk from my dorm to my classes that are further away, such as Music Theory in the Music Classroom Building or Business Chinese in Busch. If I can catch the circ, it takes me way less time than walking. Plus, beauty sleep is always important, right? As a result, I have taken the circ way more often lately and saved myself so much valuable time. Even sleeping for an extra 5 minutes is worth it!

  1. Never get in line for food at the hour.

Most students are busy and therefore plan to grab food with friends at the hour (5 pm, 6 pm, and 7 pm). I lived in the Village House this year, which is where the food is located for many upperclassmen. Even if plan to arrive right at, for example, 6 pm for dinner, there will still be super long lines for food. My solution to this is to go get food at “weird” times like 5:22 or 6:47. This way, the lines will be way shorter. My favorite station is the Village Stirfry, and the wait for that line can take up for 40 minutes. If I can plan to be there with less than 10 people in front of me, then I can definitely get dinner in less than 20 minutes.

  1. Always carry extra lined paper to class. 😯

Since I am an International and Area Studies major, a lot of my courses require me to use my laptop to take notes in class. Even if I know for sure that I have the .pdf documents of my supplementary readings and my short response papers on my laptop, it is still very useful to have extra lined paper handy. Earlier on this semester, one of my IAS professors randomly asked us to draw diagrams in his class. This was surprising because we usually just take notes from the board. Similar to that student who hands out gum in class, I automatically became everyone’s best friend as I handed out my extra sheets of lined paper to everyone. 🙂 The next time that something similar happened, more people were prepared and brought paper! Haha.

  1. Set alarms for small tasks.

This is especially important for short breaks in between study sessions. I have an iPhone, which comes with a “timer” function in the Clock app. USE THIS. I never realized the importance of setting alarms until now. Most people only use this when doing laundry. However, you can still use it for simple tasks like printing homework from the computer lab in the Village Basement or even getting hot tea from the café. For me, this ensures that I am using my time wisely and not wasting any extra time doing other stuff. I get distracted *super* easily, and the timer keeps me on top of things. Even if I am in Olin Library working on homework, I would set alarms on silent, and my phone lights up when the time is up. Honestly, doing this has probably helped me save more time to binge watch Netflix T.V. shows later on!

  1. Attend events with free food/benefit nights.

Okay, I just had to put this one in my list. This semester, I ran out of meal points with three weeks left of school. So how did I manage to survive Reading Week and Finals without meal points? Well, I attended events with free food! Student groups know that free food is a great selling point, especially around the end of the semester when everyone is starting to run out of meal points. Last semester, I bought meal points from my friends who were on the Gold Plan. This semester, I decided to go to fun events instead of buying meal points. It was definitely worth it. I have learned so much about organizations on campus that I didn’t even know existed in the first place! In addition, student groups will also have “benefit nights” in which one restaurant (usually on the Loop) donates a certain percentage of the profits to a cause. These are also really fun, especially if you go with friends. So, I ended up being able to have fun, eat with friends, learn about student groups, and not need “extra” meal points! 😀


Happy Holidays, everyone!
~ Nancy 🙂