Throughout high school, I shared my room with my siblings. While it was a great experience to talk when we went to bed at the same time, we hardly had the same sleep schedules. On the weekends, we stayed up getting to know each other, but during the week, I went to bed much later. College thus far has been a different case.
Having a roommate in college has been a central part to my college experience. Because we have had generally the same sleep schedules, I have been able to get really close to both my roommates from freshman and sophomore year.
My freshman year, I had a roommate who also played sports. She was on the softball team, while I was on the basketball team. Although she was from a completely different part of the country, New York, we both got along well. The key to our relationship was talking at night about what we did that day, and what we had learned. Being athletes, both of us were extremely busy during the day with practices and schoolwork. Seeing each other on campus hardly ever happened, unless our practice times overlapped and we saw each other in the training room, or at meals in the mess hall. But at night, we were able to learn about each other’s personalities, and also give advice to each other.
Now, during my sophomore year, I have a fellow RA as a roommate. She is also from a different part of the world than me, Bulgaria. However, her cultural differences have been interesting to discover in our talks at night. As a junior Bio major, who also works more than 10 hours a week, Bilyana is constantly busy during the day. I also hardly ever see her on campus, save for some planned dinners. But through our night talks, we have bonded much this year.
In both cases with my roommates, talking at night has been our bonding moments. I think this is a similar experience with many other college students. You don’t always get paired with a similar person, but throughout the semester, if you are willing to talk and get to know each other, your commonality in struggling through school will bring you two together.
My advice for someone anxious to share a room in college? Be tolerant. But also, be yourself. Try to understand your roommate’s habits, and be ready to share part of your life with them. I have been so happy with the atmosphere created in my room. It’s always nice to know you can come back to your room and trust your roommates with your stories.
The Key to Success
“It took God six days to create the World, why should you expect to do everything in one?”
This phrase enlightens the unrealistic expectations many students, athletes, parents, and teachers have of themselves. God, from the account of creation in the book of Genesis, chose to create the world in six days. Although he could have created everything at once, God shows us that to make something great takes time. God focused on specific aspects of creation in the World, and thoughtfully ensured he created his vision of creation perfectly. Thus, why should we expect perfection in what we do all at once?
The key to being successful is patience.
Patience aids the learner in the student because it stops one of the most destructive things to learning: frustration. Patience allows people to dive into the material they are learning to fully digest and understand it without giving up on account of it taking time. For students learning something new, it takes patience in their abilities to do well. They can’t expect greatness on the first try. Especially after getting that C on the first exam or paper, it takes patience in learning to overcome frustration and get better.
For athletes, learning comes in a different form – the physical. Currently, I am learning how to shoot the basketball in a new, better way than I had ever shot in my life. It has been a rather frustrating process. However, my coach keeps telling me I must have patience in myself. It takes a while to feel as though a new habit is natural. New muscles must be formed, and your body needs to adjust. This same process happens when people start competing at higher levels, such as from the high school level to the college level. Everyone in college is faster, quicker, stronger, and better. The athlete can’t expect he can just waltz in on the game and be the star on the first day. He must have patience in his abilities and persevere to reach that goal.
For parents and teachers who help others learn, patience in the ability to teach and the ability of their children/students to learn is absolutely necessary. I remember in my youth, when my mom just started to homeschool me and my siblings, she had a packed schedule for each day. However, it was impossible to do every single thing she had scheduled. And while we learned much in a school day, my mom would voice her irritation with not completing everything. After adjusting to the homeschool life, my mom learned how to prioritize what she wanted us to learn, and which activities were the most beneficial for us. Thus she was more patient with her scheduling, as well as with our abilities. This patience gave both her and her students peace in the school environment.
We have to learn how to be at peace with knowing we did our best, and be patient in accepting our bodies’ performance.
¿Spain? why not
This summer, I will be an Au Pair for a family in Spain. Last semester and up until my Christmas vacation, I hadn’t even thought about travelling abroad in a different country and living with a new family. But, as I returned back to school and started thinking about my possibilities for the summer, I realized that I wanted to experience something new. Every summer up until this point, I have done relatively the same things – I go to the beach with friends and family, go camping, and just spend time with my family. And, although these things truly elevate my soul, I thought it was time for me to force myself out of my comfort zone yet again and broaden my vision of reality.
As a college student, I have learned much from different experiences. I have learned how to live (almost) completely on my own, how to apply for a debit card, how to email professors, how to take care of my health, and how to better manage my time. These experiences have helped broaden both my own capabilities and my vision of the world. Experience, thus, was the driving force in my determination to live abroad. I had hoped that this experience would teach me more life lessons, as well as aid in my Spanish fluency.
As someone rather proud of my independence, I initially researched my plans on my own. I found a website online which helps connect Au pairs with families (aupairworld.com). Once I had limited down my search to three families, I told my parents. They were very excited for me. Both my parents had travelled much during their early twenties, and they saw the learning opportunities for me through this experience. However, although they were happy for me, they both expressed their sadness that I would not be home during the summer. This was one aspect I altogether hadn’t considered. I only looked at the experience for its excitement and positive consequences. Bringing in this whole new factor made the trip much more serious than I had perceived it. Nevertheless, my determination for more experiences did not deter.
With the help of my parents, and intervention from the man upstairs, I found a great family for me. I had skyped numerous times, introduced the parents of the family to my parents, and felt confident in my decision. Both families were delighted to meet each other, and the calmness visible in my dad’s eyes upon speaking with the family reassured me in my plans.
I have already learned much in my preparations for Spain. The most important things I have learned so far have been through experience. From my applications for my passports, to planning out my flight patterns, I have had to spend much more time and thought than I had initially expected. I have also learned to be a little less intimidated by government processes. By going into the post-office, the Czech consulate, and AAA office, I have realized that there are people behind the labels of institutions who usually are much less intimidating in reality than it would seem.
Through these experiences, and through my parent's allowance to let me have these experiences, I have grown.
Starting in mid-May, I will write about my experiences in Spain (as well as my flight with a Russian airline).
An Ode to Parents
A couple weekends ago, Hillsdale College hosted Parent’s Weekend. This weekend was a time when parents came to Hillsdale, Michigan, visited their son or daughter, and experienced what it is like to live and study at the college. Parents spoke with their child’s professors, met with coaches, and gave their growing, young adult attention.
On first glance, and counter-intuitively, this weekend seemed to be centered on the college student. For many students, this weekend was full with the desire to please their parents and win over praise for their hard-work at school. For others, parents brought a reminder to place more attention on studies and avoid distractions. Regardless, parents during Parent’s Weekend surrounded their child with Love and blessings (money), boosting their confidence for the rest of the year. In this way, as parent’s weekend allowed parents to experience a little piece of their child’s reality, it gave parents more opportunities to help their children. The student seems to become the greatest benefactor from this weekend rather than it being a weekend solely for the parents.
However, Parent’s Weekend seems to be moreover a gift to the parents. In the short span of two days, parents resume some of their practices or duties they once had when their child lived under their roof; educating their child in knowledge through discussions, providing a place of comfort in the home, and nourishing them with food and drink. Parents had to hand over these responsibilities to the college. Parent’s Weekend provided parents with the opportunity to practice these duties and educate their child once more. In this way, Parent’s Weekend ensured the parents’ welcome at the college as it gives parents an opportunity to witness the passing on of their roles of education to the college.
As I sat by, jealously watching my classmates enjoy time with their parents, I started to pity myself for not being the attention of my parents, who were at that time taking care of my six other siblings in California. I felt as though it was my right as their child to be the center of attention on this weekend. I deserved a visit from them. However, later I realized just how selfish I had been. My parents do so much for me; they think and pray for me all the time, they text and call me, and they help me finance some of my adventures. And while I started realizing how much this weekend is more for comforting my parents in the passing of responsibilities in shaping my mind and heart from their hands to the college’s, I concluded that missing this weekend must have been much harder on my parents than on me. In the bigger picture, my parents were not able to witness the shaping of my character at this school and were left having to trust from what they understood of the college that I am in a good environment.
Jessica De Gree
Jessica teaches 5th grade English and History as well as 11th grade Spanish III at a Great Hearts Academy in Glendale, AZ. In addition to teaching, she coaches JV girls basketball and is a writing tutor for The Classical Historian Online Academy. Jessica recently played basketball professionally in Tarragona, Spain, where she taught English ESL and tutored Classical Historian writing students. In 2018, she received her Bachelor's degree in English and Spanish from Hillsdale College, MI.