Work hard, Party Hard

Photo Taken By: Cherishe Cumma

When this current semester began I thought that I would be in for a treat seeing as I only had class for two days a week. In my mind I imagined all the sleep I would get during my time away from school, as well as how easy it would be to manage my classes since my workload decreased in comparison to previous semesters. It wasn’t until my first day of class, that I realized this semester would actually turn out to be the most complex semester since the beginning of my academic career.

As I began to come to terms with the fact that I had misinterpreted how my semester would pan out, I decided to find a balance between my academic and social life. You may be wondering: what is this “balance” word that people often speak of, which seems to be non-existent in academia? My answer to you is very simple, the way that I find balance during the semester is to practice positive reinforcement, meaning I work hard and party hard.

The process of using positive reinforcement is simple, and if completed properly can promote a positive college experience. All one has to do is to work hard during the semester, and get the highest grades possible on their assignments/exams. After executing each task and receiving a great grade, the student should then reward themselves in whatever fashion they choose. In my experience, the most fulfilling moments of life are the ones that are either spent with my loved ones, or consuming a treat that will send AMAZING sensations throughout my body. However, there are some cases where a simple outing or treat from a well-known bakery isn’t enough, and more appropriate rewards are necessary. If that is the case, I suggest rewarding yourself with an unforgettable experience such as an epic night out on the town, or a vacation during spring break that you’ll remember even when you reach the seasoned age of 100!

I decided to share this tactic, my personal tactic, with you because I’ve noticed how gloomy students tend to look while I walk through the halls of City Tech. Students move slowly through the hallways looking exhausted, and often drag into class, plop down in their seats, and let out a sigh of despair. What most people fail to realize is that the success of your academic career solely depends on your attitude towards your studies. If students go into class with a negative mindset, they won’t absorb the knowledge the professor is providing them with. However, if students go into class thinking “I’m going to do my best so that I can get good grades, and treat myself to cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery when I ace this class”, then they are setting themselves up with a positive mindset that will definitely benefit them in the long run.

My suggestion for students who find it difficult to complete a semester with great grades is to set up a reward system at each major milestone throughout the semester. For example, last semester I took a Professional Editing and Revising course, with a professor that required students to complete a specific amount of assignments during the semester. I set up my semester in a way that every time I finished an assignment I would go to a restaurant that had food I absolutely loved. In the following weeks after handing in the assignment, I would go back to working hard, and once I received my passing grade, I would reward myself by going to get a pastry from Betty Bakery. I continued this process of working hard, passing, and then rewarding myself for the whole semester, and at the end of the semester, I got the A that I deserved.

In retrospect, I would say that the reason I was able to do well during the semester is because I propositioned myself with something I love, so that I could ultimately get good grades, which I also love. By giving myself an incentive to look forward to, I pushed myself to do the best I could on every assignment so that every reward was well deserved. I feel that as college students we often find it difficult to balance our lives, so much so that we often drown in a sea of anxiety, assignments, and examinations. However, the best way for students to get the most out of their semester is too work hard and reward themselves in the process. Students must give themselves reasons to do well, just like back in elementary school, when teachers gave out prizes for passing the infamous spelling quiz. Do you remember how great it felt to get a gold star on your test when you got a 100? Well great! Now apply that same logic to your current academic life, and I’m sure that you will be successful.

Take your studies seriously, get good grades, and then reward yourselves with something that will bring you great happiness. College is about learning as much as you can so that you can get good grades, and ultimately a great career. However, college is also about enjoying your freedom , taking advantage of your twenties, and most of all living your life to the fullest. Just remember to go into class with a positive mindset, then work hard, and after you pass your classes don’t forget to party hard!

Be Careful During Your Morning Commute

Each day that I wake up I lay in bed and prepare myself for the day ahead by listing of all the tasks that I must complete by the day’s end. After organizing my time around assignments, household responsibilities, as well as making time for myself/ my needs I prepare myself for my train ride to school. I know you must be thinking, who needs to prepare themselves for their train ride, there’s nothing to it? Well that’s where you are wrong and you don’t even know it. Train rides are one of the most unpredictable aspects of life that can either make or break your day.

Most people aren’t aware how dangerous train rides can be because everyone walks around with their ear buds in their ears, with the intention of blocking out the world. In my experience I find that in order to have a safer and more productive commute, using headphones to drown out the world around you is ineffective. The best way to deal with the morning commute is to be aware of your surroundings, and be ready to react if necessary.

While I’m on the train, I like many other people, am guilty of listening to my music loudly to ignore others on many occasions. Recently I’ve noticed how dangerous it is to be on the train with my headphones on full blast. A few summers ago I was running a few errands and I decided to catch the three train so I could get to my destination quickly. During my train ride a man came and sat across from me and stared intently at me, but because I had my headphones in I paid him no mind. I felt a bit uneasy because I was in the train car alone with him but since my stop was coming up I didn’t fret too much. After a few minutes I decided to look up and get a good look at the man sitting across from me. He had a strange look in his eye, and he struck me as a person who may be going through a rough time. On his wrist I noticed a band that appeared to be from a medical center, and I also saw that his clothes were shabby and unkempt. After looking him over briefly I went back to playing with my iPod, and before I knew it I had arrived at my destination. I got off the train, and never thought twice about the man who sat across from me until I saw him again.

A few days later I was on the two train going to Flatbush and the same man got on the train, in the exact same outfit. To my surprise as soon as everyone saw him people either started running out of the train car, or moving as far away from the man as physically possible . I thought maybe he smelled bad, but since I was listening to my music I once again paid him no mind. An older woman tapped me and told me that this man, that I had sat across from and ignored a few days prior, was actually mentally ill. Not only was he mentally ill, he liked to fondle himself on the train, and once he was finished, he would wipe his ejaculation onto other people surrounding him. I was shocked at my own insolence, that I sat across from a man who appeared to be mentally challenged, but because I was too busy listening to my music and ignoring him, I didn’t pay attention to the cues in my surroundings.

I share this story with you because I want to explain how dangerous train rides can be when we do not pay attention to the world around us. This man who I sat across from was ill, and I was too caught up in my music to realize that I was in a bad position. It was by the grace of God that I was not assaulted by this man while being in a train car alone with him, and I am so grateful that the situation worked out in my favor. After this incident I decided to find other ways to occupy my time on the train. If I do decide to listen to my music, the volume is low enough that I can hear people around me. At other times I will complete assigned readings, so that my mind is occupied, and I can still be cognizant of what’s going on around me.

Paying attention to the world around us has become more of an option than a necessity, and I want people to know that they are doing themselves a great disservice by distancing themselves from the real world. By ignoring the people and the world around you, you are not preparing yourself for danger than can occur at the slightest moment. Instead of trying to drown out the world, embrace the universe, deal with the people or aliens that inhabit it even if they are unpleasant, but just stay safe and don’t allow yourself to fall victim to others. Listening to music on the train is a great way to pass the time, but it’s also a great way to put yourself in danger during your commute. My advice to all people who use the train as their main form of transportation is to be aware, be smart and most of all be careful during your morning commute.

Stop Wasting Your Time!!

Yesterday as I was walking down the hallway aimlessly during my two hour break, a new student approached me in Namm Hall and asked me to direct him to the Voorhees building. You can only imagine my demise thinking about how to instruct someone on the journey to Voorhees from the 6th floor in Namm! In my mind I thought, this poor soul has to walk those long blocks to the V-Building and has no idea what he’s getting himself into. At first I contemplated the best directions to give him so that he wouldn’t get lost. After a few seconds I realized there was no way I could direct him efficiently without the possibility of him getting lost, and on his first day at that.

My heart crumbled inside thinking that he would be lost in school, and it would be my fault. So I decided to walk down the stairs with him so that I could at least show him which direction to walk in. After exchanging our last few words, and me double checking that he was okay with the directions I gave him, we parted ways at the Main Entrance and I felt better that I helped him instead of brushing him off. It was at that moment I realized that I could be using my break between classes in a more efficient manner than just walking aimlessly until my next class. Instead of just chilling  I decided to put my free time to good use, even if that means giving someone directions to a specific part of the campus.

After that experience I walked back to the elevators in the Namm building so that I could proceed to my class on the tenth floor. While in the elevator I noticed that I had about a hour and a half of free time and I decided to use that time wisely. I walked down the hallway in search of an empty classroom to sit in, instead of having to sit on the floor in hallway. After a few minutes, to my surprise I found a room that wasn’t occupied,and then I got comfortable. I  used my break to start an assignment that was due for the following day. As time progressed, I noticed that in the same time span that I would have spent walking around bored during my break, I was getting work done that would benefit me in later parts of the day.

By the time class started I had already read a sufficient amount of my assigned literature for class, and I was able to move on with the rest of my assignment.  Once class was finished I left and made my way to meet my partner so that we could spend quality time together. Had I not completed my schoolwork during my break, I would’ve had to cut my date short and run home to do my work. However, since I took the initiative to manage my time in a way that would accommodate my personal needs, I was able to do my work and have fun at the same time.

My main point of sharing my experiences during the first day of class with you is to show you how easy it is to Stop Wasting Your Time! I know that it’s difficult to get back into the swing of things in the beginning of the semester. However, I promise you that learning to use your time wisely will benefit you greatly in the long run. All you have to do is buckle down and devote a certain amount of hours a day to your studies no matter how taxing it may be. Trust me I have days when I’d prefer to be watching Hero Academia, Empire, Power, This is Us or any of the various other shows that have held my interest seasons upon seasons. However, I have learned that the years we spend working hard in college will groom us for experiences in the outside world.

College is hard, but this semester and the semesters that follow will fly by, and you’ll be graduating sooner than you know it. So during this time, make school a major priority in life and don’t get distracted. Give Facebook, Snapchat, Youtube and Instagram a rest for a few hours, knock out your homework, and once you’ve completed your assignments go out and have some real fun. Balance your time so that you never miss an assignment, but you also have time to enjoy yourself. Just DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME, because once it’s gone you can never get it back.

How To Save Money Before The Semester Starts!

Over the summer I contemplated the various methods that I would use to make sure I get the most out of the upcoming semester. Immediately I was consumed with ideas of purchasing a completely new wardrobe such as cute pencil skirts, sneakers and fancy shirts, but then I realized I already had enough clothes. Next, I entertained ideas about buying new lightweight notebooks, or multi-colored pens to take notes with. I even thought about purchasing organizational tools so that I could keep track of my assignments, as well as the various meetings and seminars that require my participation for the duration of the semester.

With the constant stream of new ideas that flowed through my mind, I came to the conclusion that there wasn’t any tool that I could buy that would help me be more successful. Regardless of how many sticky notes I put on a page, or how many highlighters I use in class, my grades are not going to reflect all of the unnecessary things I bought during the summer. My grades will be a reflection of me, and the amount of effort that I put forth to execute each task given to me.

I feel as though students flock to department stores and malls to buy all the latest fashions, and all the new gadgets with hopes that they will have an amazing semester. However, I have learned from experience that in college the best way to succeed during the semester is to preserve as much as possible. Constantly purchasing new products with hopes of a having a fresh start to each semester is not as beneficial as it may seem for a few reasons. The first reason is that by spending a substantial amount of money at the beginning of the semester on unnecessary items, students are limiting how much money they can spend on necessities such as food, and transportation fare throughout the semester. Secondly, students are putting themselves in the position to become dependent on purchasing new things so that they can have a positive mindset about their school work. Becoming dependent on materialistic things to enhance the college experience takes emphasis off the learning aspect, and gives more importance to the vainglorious parts of college.

As a current student I’ve realized that worrying more about what you wear instead of studying your notes from the last class lecture can eventually cause your grade to decline. Lastly, but most importantly purchasing new items each semester will continuously alter the way students absorb information in my opinion.  For example, I require certain things in order to absorb as much information as possible in class. I have trained myself to learn using the following tactics like: dressing comfortably, sitting in the front row of the classroom, taking handwritten notes in a notebook specific for each class, while only using black or blue ink. Imagine if I changed up my whole routine to accommodate new items that I purchased over the summer. I would have to reteach myself how to absorb information, while also finding ways to incorporate these new tools into my daily learning schedule. Ultimately, these new items become more of a hindrance than a benefit because I would have to devote time into learning how to use them, that could actually go to my school work. In retrospect adding new tools into your academic repertoire can be helpful, but in my experience I’ve noticed that less is more, and sticking to a specific routine has produced better results than constantly changing your methods of learning.

My advice for any students looking to be successful this upcoming is to understand the meaning of the saying “Less is more”. Instead of spending large sums of money on new outfits, and gadgets to improve your academic status, save your money and be careful with your time. Focus on making each day a productive one by completing tasks, studying your notes and preparing for the following day in advance. Devote a specific amount of time each day to understanding new concepts, and figuring out what tactics you must use to absorb the necessary information for each class. After you figure out what works best for you, make a conscious effort to be consistent. Don’t give up on yourself when the semester becomes “too difficult”, and you start to feel downtrodden about life. Keep up with your academic life, and do not let your minor effects detour you from your path. College life can be sustainable for any student as long as you set a goal, stick to your routine for success, and omit from your mind the idea that materialistic things are necessary for you to be successful. In the end items of monetary value will not make your grades magically improve, hard work and dedication is the only way to truly achieve academic success. So for all the students who are starting school in the upcoming days, do yourself a favor “Don’t splurge, Preserve!”