Stocking Up on Snacks

To ensure that I have the most streamlines finals experience, I’ve decided to stock up on snacks for the last few weeks of classes.

Although Upper Court is a two minute walk away, to be completely honest, the prices are a rip-off. I ended up going to a grocery store down in South Bethlehem, a measly 15 minute walk from my room, and got my snacks from there.

I got two boxes of pop tarts with 8 pairs in each, a giant bag of Tostitos chips and salsa, a bunch of apples, and a bag of Doritos, all for less than $18. Yeah. To put that in perspective, Tostitos and salsa by themselves at Upper Cort would have cost me 6 dollars and one pair of pop-tarts would be $1.25 each.

Now I just have to make sure I don’t eat all of it within two days like the last time I did, because although it’s tempting to lie on your bed and watch Netflix while munching on chips all day, those aren’t real meals, and eventually, you’ll become a full-fledged vegetable.

There are plenty of grocery stores available, depending on how much you’re willing to spend vs quality. I mean, the one I went to wasn’t very nice but it’s not like I’m going to get food poisoning from chips. Right?

What I Learned in College

Other than course work, I did learn quite a bit in college. I learned that Sprite serves as a great base for mixing drinks as well as how to roll cigars. I’m just joking, please don’t arrest me, I didn’t do any of that stuff. I legit stayed in my room 90% of the time playing video games that I 100% bought.

I also learned that staying in your room playing video games does not help you grow as an individual. What a shocker. In high school, I did the same. Most of my interactions with my friends happened online through video games and Skype calls, as sad as that sounds, but it was fun.

But in college, you’re on your own. There’s way more people so you don’t necessarily see the same person sitting next to you in class every day, so it’s on you to go out to meet people. It’s on you to establish connections.

Sure, you can hang on to your old friends through texts, Skype calls, Face Time, or whatever, but the point is, it’s time to move forward. In my sophomore year, I’m looking to not only right the disastrous academic failures of this semester, but I’m also looking to grow outside of academics, and to grow as a person. Being dull and cynical can only take you so far (not very).

 

Every Mistake is a Lesson

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone’s heard that already. Everyone knows that people who learn from their mistakes are those that succeed. And even though everyone has heard that phrase already, who actually applies it to their life?

If you don’t do well on one exam, and you don’t change your habits at all, you don’t have the right to complain about bombing the second one again. I know that feel first hand. Trying the same thing over and over again while expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

If you fail an exam, what caused you to fail? “I didn’t study enough” is the most popular answer. Well of course you didn’t study enough. But that’s because 1) You’re texting during class, 2) You’re not paying attention in recitation, or 3) you don’t push yourself to do more than just the assigned work, the list goes on and on. And all of these little things add up to “I didn’t study enough”. Sure you can do the homework. Sure you can pass the quizzes. But then the exam comes and you don’t do well, then it’s time for you to step it up another notch.

You can’t just do all the homework and pass all the quizzes again, you have to go to your textbook and do practice problems.

I’m not saying this because I do all of this and get beast grades, but because this has happened to me. When my methods don’t work, I often just say “next time, I’ll study more,” but nothing really changes and I end up not doing well again.

So really, you need to apply yourself to fix your mistakes. Simply acknowledging your mistakes isn’t enough, but it is the first step.

 

Taking Advantage of Your Resources

Other than studying notes on your own and doing practice problems either by yourself or with friends, how can one prepare their anus themselves for the upcoming exams?

  1. Office hours. Many intro courses that freshmen take are things like CHEM30 (Introduction to Chemical Principles) or ECO001 (Introduction to Economics) which are lecture size classes. Professors don’t have time to help an individual during class if they have a problem, because they have 90 other students to teach at the same time, but if you go in during office hours, you can get some one on one action to help you understand the material. That sounded dirty.
  2. The CAS, the Center for Academic Success. The Center for Academic success offers tutoring for most freshman-sophomore classes for free. And if you’re thinking “I’m not stupid, I don’t need tutoring because I’m smart and I know everything already” go get your head checked. You’re an undergrad, there’s still so much more for you to learn. There’s also nothing shameful about asking for tutoring – I’m talking to those egomaniacs out there. Tutoring can really help you step up your understanding of a subject.
  3. Pay attention in class. Well this one seems obvious. But there is a difference between showing up to class and writing what your professors says down on your notes. My eight year old brother can do that. If my dog knew how to write, then he could do that as well. There’s a big difference in actively listening to what your professor is saying and just barfing out what he says onto a piece of paper.

Well that’s about it, I’m sure there’s more than just the CAS that Lehigh has to offer, but hey, I’m just a freshman, I don’t know that much yet.

What’s With These Weather Patterns

The weather has confused me recently. One day, it’ll be so hot that wearing nothing but a t-shirt, khaki’s, and slippers was enough to keep me cool. The next day, it’s 30 degrees and raining all day. We even had snow some time this month, I don’t remember the exact day.

What is going on? The weather changes more often than Trump changes his opinion on people. And don’t get me started on daylight and stuff. I was procrastinating one day, thinking I still had time since it was bright out, then lo and behold, I check the clock and it’s already 7:30, and it’s as bright as it was in the afternoon.

And then you look at Iceland in the far north where it’s pitch black around the clock and realize that it’s not so bad after all. Sure could be a lot better though.

I’ve also been hearing that this years winter wasn’t bad at all. I thought it was awful. Just the memory of layering on an undershirt, a long-sleeved button down t-shirt, a sweater, and then my coat sends shivers down my spine.

And today, the brightness was the same throughout the entire day. The entire day was that dreary, gray color. Where it seems like it’s about to rain, but it never does, and it’s just all very depressing. So I lock myself in my room with the lights off and shades closed to cheer myself up.

The Last of my Meal Swipes

So the semester still has a good three weeks left in it before people start packing up and going home. But something that’s been on my mind is how few swipes I have left. I’m on the 255-block plan which means that I’m not limited in the amount of swipes I have per-day, and I definitely abused that privilege at the start of this semester.

Now, once again, I wish I had a time machine so I could go back in time and punch my fat face for stuffing myself with burritos from Salsa Rico for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I swiped into Rathbone today, and on my way past the register, I glanced at the display. 11 meals. That’s right. 11 meals. Remember, I’m on the 255 block plan, not the 14 meals a week or 17 meals a week plan. And I’m all out of dining dollars as well. Which means from now until May 17th (when I leave), I’ll only have 11 meal swipes to work with. Which means, that if I don’t want to starve, they’ll probably only last for around 5 days.

After that, I have to buy food. Now the food around here is pretty good. There are plenty of options, ranging from Thai food, to “authentic” (pah!) Chinese food, to Italian food, to Domino’s.

Only problem is that it’s rather pricey. So hopefully I have enough juice in my bank account to last me 13 days worth of food.

More Distractions

Literally twenty seconds ago, I made a post about how it was time to hit the books with finals just around the corner. Well, life sure isn’t making that easy for me.

  1. Game of Thrones season six is out, and I do more than watch the episodes. As an avid book reader and fan, after my first watch through, I go through it again to make sense of each scene and try to predict how everything will tie together.
  2. League of Legends is holding the Mid-Season Invitational where the best teams around the world compete, and my second favorite North American team will be attending.
  3. Dark Souls III just came out. And I’m really into Dark Souls. It’s challenging, there’s plenty of options, and it’s a gigantic time sink (especially if you suck at the game and keep dying over and over again).

Dark Souls 3 was released on Steam on April 11, 2016. And I’ve already invested 75 hours into the game. I literally wasted over three days of my life on that game in the two weeks that it’s been out.

And how much time did I spend studying for this third Chemistry final? Probably for about an hour. And that sure bit me in the but. Hard. Like, super hard, it did more than just bite me in the but that’s for sure (am I allowed to say stuff like that?).

Good luck everyone.

The Calm Before the Storm

The second round of midterms is over, and things have kind of hit a lull, where nothing seems to be happening except the daily routine of going to class and learning something new. But right around the corner lies our final exams. Literally, after next week, final exams are going to start.

And looking at what my grades are like right now, it’s not going to be pretty. Personally, because I screwed myself over super hard in quite a few of my classes this semester, these finals are going to be either the straw that finally breaks my back, or breathe life into my decrepit state.

You win some, you lose some. That seems to sum up my second semester. In one particular class, I got a 70 on my first final, only to immediately follow it with a 96 on my second final. In another class, I got a 100 on my first final, and a 60 on my second. It’s moments like these where you really wish you had a time machine. Not to go back in time to retake the test, but to beat the crap out of yourself for pigging out on snacks while watching Netflix the day before the exam.

But if you think about it, this is just one semester. There’s a total of eight semester, assuming you go the typical path. And it’s only the first year, meaning that you can only improve from here.

That’s no excuse to keep avoiding the inevitable though. It’s time to hit the books.

Giving Back

Greek life sometimes has a lot of misconceptions.  Between media sensationalizing, images of binge drinking and partying, and allegations of hazing, there are many people who forget what Greek life is really about. Bettering yourself and your community in the fraternity of others.  This week is my frat’s charity and philanthropy week, and I’d like to share a little of what we do.

Every event during this week has all the proceeds going to local South Bethlehem charities.  As a post-industrial city, I can tell you firsthand that many of these people need all the help they can get.  We feel it is our duty to help these people whom need it the most.

So, we created our Southside Service Week.  It started off on Sunday, where we had a Super Smash Brothers Tournament up at the house.  There was an entry fee and a prize, and after hauling up a countless number of CRT TV’s, I have to say it was a huge success.  The entire Super Smash Brothers Club (I actually didn’t even know we had one before) came out, along with many others.  It was a great start to the week.

Next up, we had volunteering at the local Boys and Girls Club of South Bethlehem.  I’ve talked about this topic before, but even now it was a really great experience. With the hype of the Southside Service Week, we had more people volunteering than ever before.  Seeing all those kids’ smiles while playing dodgeball and basketball was something I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

Then, yesterday, we helped keep a local sandwich shop, the Goose, open late.  For those who don’t know, the Goose is a nice sandwich place run by a guy named Tony, who makes pretty much just insane sandwiches.  Literally anything you could ever imagine on the sandwiches. Now, normally they close in the early afternoon, but for charity events, and if he has extra help, Tony will keep the store open late.  So, we helped him out, and as a result a portion of all his profits went to charity.

Today, we’re helping out yet another local food service in the name of charity. There is this cart that parks itself around campus called the House of Pi pizza truck, and they make delicious wood-fired pizza right in the cart.  We are helping them out for the day, and $5 from every $7 pizza goes to Backpack Pals, a charity that helps local children eat healthily on the weekends.  This is actually where I am writing this post from.

And then, to top off the week, tomorrow night we have our Southside benefit concert.  Located right on campus, we’re having local bands play with benefits going to yet another charity.  Even alcohol will be served, which is sure to attract many Lehigh students.  It’s gonna be lit, and a perfect way to end the week.

I just think to remember that Greek life, college, and life in general is more than just serving yourself.  It’s giving back to your brothers, your classmates, your community.  It’s why I’m proud to be in a house, and proud to be helping others.

Alternatives to Cable

So I don’t have a cable package here at Lehigh (I mean, I don’t even have a TV so why would I), but when Game of Thrones came rolling around I needed to find a way to watch it without breaking any federal laws. There were two options: HBO Now, or some other ghetto sites streaming in terrible quality. The good thing about HBO Now is that you don’t need a cable package to use it, you can just create an account any time and you’re given a free month to start.

Luckily for me, I have a couple friends who are also in Game of Thrones, so we each agreed to use our three free months to cover this and next season of Game of Thrones. Pretty good planning on our part.

Sling TV has more to offer than HBO (it’s not limited to HBO shows) but it’s a bit pricier and I don’t think they give you an entire month free, but when it comes to alternatives to cable, Sling TV is probably the best option.

Except I’m broke and I want to save every penny (unless it’s on food) so I’ll be abusing the free months of HBO Now.