My Second Year of College: Part I

With all final projects turned in and tests completed, another year of college is completed. My sophomore year has managed to slip by and I find myself reflecting on the way my life has changed since this time last year. With every mile marker of my education experience, recording the things that I’ve learned outside of the classroom is just as important to me as what was taught inside. In my second year of college, I learned the following.

1.How to take care of plants.

I got really in to plants this year. With Pinterest as the prime inspiration, I invested in plants ranging from $5 to $65, and only then realized that each has a different watering schedule, light exposure level, and temperature requirement. Although not all of them have died, I recommend doing more research before diving in.

My prized possession, still going strong!

2. A social media break will result in a calmer mind.

I took about a month-long hiatus from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and found myself happier, more productive, and satisfied with my life. While social media helps me to feel connected to our society, it’s difficult to not find yourself wishing for a flatter stomach or a luxury apartment. I plan on taking a break at least twice a year to remind myself of how fortunate I am rather than feel disappointed in everything I am not.

3. Go to the local library.

I am ashamed to share that in the two years I have lived in Lawrence, I never stepped foot in the local library downtown despite hearing great things about it. Last week, I walked through the doors on a rainy day and my mind was b l o w n.  I got a card and quickly became immersed in the environment, and plan on going weekly during the summer.

4. Skincare is important.

Taking care of my skin became really important to me this year, and I am hoping that this will pay off in the long run. Gone are the days of using a single half-dried out makeup wipe to scrub my eyelids then going to bed. I have a silk pillowcase, a 5 step process, and limit my sun time. There are many products on my bathroom counter and keeping a clean and healthy face has become a goal of mine.

5. Apartment living takes a bit to adjust to.

While I learned quickly that weekends on a college campus could get pretty noisy late at night, living in an apartment isn’t all that much better. While I do live in one of the more reputably quiet complexes in the town, the people above us have a rather large dog who likes to bounce around the room after midnight. You get used to the sounds of life after a while, and it’s nice to be allowed to light candles and pop popcorn without fear of destruction.

6. Dog cuddles fix most kinds of sadness.

Piper is a registered ESA, and having a dog to come home to on the hard days seemed to fix the problem nearly every time. With a particularly cuddly personality, my dog can sense the mood and snuggle her way into every emotion.

7. Know what to do if you get in a car accident.

One of the worst nights, and certainly the most traumatic of the year happened a few weeks ago. While I’m considering expanding the story into a longer post, in a short version, I learned that no matter how good of a driver you are, you can’t stop someone from rear ending you (especially on the freeway going 65). Calling my dad in a panic, he walked me through the steps of giving the police the necessary information and trying to stop the terrified tears. In my future cars, I will keep this information tucked away in the glovebox along with emergency contacts, but pray I never have to use it again.

8. Listen to Audio books.

I spent a lot of time this year cleaning, doing my hair and makeup, cooking, driving, and walking. In the past, I usually turned on my Bluetooth speaker and jammed, but this year I began listening to audio books during these in-between moments and feel that the multi-tasking/learning has helped me grow (and beefed up my Goodreads). My last read/listen was Becoming by my queen, Michelle Obama. Highly recommend!

9. When in doubt, take your dog for a walk.

This may seem obvious, but both Piper and I had better days after we got some air and stretched our legs. Cold seasons are particularly difficult for me but throwing on a hat and some mittens helped even just a five-minute stroll around the complex bearable. Even on the busiest of days, finding time for a walk made things seem manageable. Walks help to relieve anxiety and get some of that crazy puppy energy out!

She’s happy regardless of the weather!

10. What you focus on manifests itself.

After my car accident, a series of scary and negative things happened to me within the two days following. Looking back, I realized that my mindset was stuck in a cycle of fear and closure, and the energy reflected around me was rebounding those feelings. Once I intentionally began focusing on the blessings and positivity in my life (and spoke with my therapist), the fog of fear lifted and life moved on.

As not to overwhelm my readers, I will be posting Part II within the next few days. Stay tuned, and hopefully one or more of these points rang truth in your life, even if you’re not a college sophomore!


Madeleine Rheinheimer

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