Surviving College!

Wow, to think that my first year of college is done and over with and I am now onto my sophomore year. This is crazy to me. Where did the time even go? I’m not going to lie, freshman year of college was very stressful. It was my first year away from home, so of course I wanted to go out and party every weekend. The typical college student to-do list. Let me be the first to tell you, it really takes a toll not only on your grades but your health as well. Towards the end of my last semester I was not feeling myself at all, I would completely snap on people that I love, I would sleep at least 8 hours every night go to school the next day and then come home and take a 2-3 hour nap. I could not keep my eyes open no matter how much coffee I drank each day. I could not keep any food down, or anything inside of me for that matter. I couldn’t walk outside without feeling sick instantly. Needless to say I was miserable.

This summer about a week and a half before school started again I was hospitalized. They didn’t know what was wrong with me, they did numerous tests and they all came back negative. When they tested my blood they saw that my hemoglobin was a 7.1 (normal is 14-18), my potassium was very low and my white blood cell count was sky-high (means your body is fighting an infection) I also had a very hard time breathing and was constantly having serious migraines all day long. Within the next couple of days I then went to the hematologist/oncologist (blood doctor), when they checked my blood my hemoglobin had dropped to a 6.9. He looked at my mom and I and said that I was being directly admitted into the hospital. I was filled with emotions, I tried fighting back the tears but they were overpowering. I felt like I was losing control of myself. I mustered up the courage to tell my mom that I was driving myself, no ambulance, no one was going to drive me (I needed to feel like I was in some sort of control) luckily for me she didn’t put up too much of an argument. That night at the hospital my nurses had such a hard time finding veins to put my IV’s into, as well as they took 14 vitals of blood from me just that night (as if I had enough blood in my body to share) by the end of the night my hemoglobin was a 6.2, I could hardly keep my eyes open let alone breath properly. During my stay at the hospital I underwent numerous x-rays, a colonoscopy (at 19, talk about freaking out), 2 separate transfusions of blood so I had 4 units all together, an iron transfusion, I was then taken off of all foods and drinks for 4 days, I had a pic line put into my arm and followed a vein all the way down to my heart. They finally came to a conclusion about my diagnosis, but they still are not 100% sure.

Chron’s: the college girls disease. This disease is linked with female college students who are under a lot of stress and pressure, as well as not getting enough sleep and nutrients that the body needs to function properly. Ladies I cannot stress this enough, GET SLEEP, EAT WELL, DON’T PARTY EVERY WEEKEND…trust me, it isn’t worth your health and feeling like you are almost about to die laying in that hospital bed for a week and a half.

Tips for surviving college maybe a little less stressed:
1. GO TO CLASS: Most of the time attendance is mandatory, you’re only hurting yourself by not showing up. Yes, I understand some classes may be boring and the professor just reads right off of the slide but you gotta go to class. That attendance grade may be what is helping you pass your class.
2. DON’T WORRY ABOUT BOYS/GIRLS: You are at college to learn and to further your education for your future. You will have plenty of time later on to go and search for your soulmate.
3. DO YOUR HOMEWORK: Holy cow, homework! Yes, homework can take five hours for one class but you need to do it. Homework is for sure one good way to either make or break you for that class.
4. STUDY STUDY STUDY: How do I elaborate on this..? Oh, STUDYY!! That’s all I can really say. You need to study. I know I sound like your mother but god forbid you don’t study and then you have to retake the classes, trust me it’s not fun at all.
5. ORGANIZE: Get a planner. It doesn’t have to be fancy, go to Wal-Mart and buy a $5 planner. Use it, and learn to love it. Refer to it every day and tote that bad boy around with you in your backpack or if it’s small enough then just slip it on into your purse. College is a busy time juggling exams, papers, extracurricular’s, and social engagements. All of this should be written in your planner and checked off once you have done that task.
6. CHOOSE CLASSES WISELY: If math is not your strong suit and you are choosing between an easier and a harder class, take the easier class. Use it as a refresher before taking the harder class. If it turns out to be way too easy for you then consider it a boost in your GPA!
7. GET ENOUGH SLEEP: We’ve all pulled an all-nighter at some point (come on, we’re in college). It’s not worth it, your work won’t be your best and you’ll know it. You were exhausted, loopy, jittery from caffeine, and checking the clock every 5 minutes because you can’t believe that you are still somewhat functioning at such an ungodly hour. Give yourself 2 days in advance and treat your exam or paper as if it needs to be completely wrapped up by then.
8. GO TO OFFICE HOURS: If you have questions, need clarification about an assignment or exam then go to the office hours. Remember to introduce yourself and your professor will see that you do care about the class and are looking to get a better grade.
9. MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS: If your like me then distractions are so well..distracting. Remove these distractions from you. Have your roommate take your phone and not give it back until you have finished your assignment or whatever you are working on.
10. MASTER A STUDY SYSTEM: Everyone studies differently, you need to find out what works best for you. Whether it be studying by yourself, or studying in a group setting. Figure out what is best for you and do it.
11. REVIEW: Too many students fall into the cycle of blowing off their work until the night before it’s due. Then they go crazy cramming the night before. If you study a little bit every night then you should be able to walk into the exam and breeze right on through it.
12. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK: Yes, there is a thing as studying too much. Know when you need to take a break, it isn’t a big deal. If you work all week long then take all day Saturday off and do something that makes you happy. Don’t be the person who stays in their room all semester long and never comes out because they are too busy studying or doing homework. You need to get out and have a little interaction with people every now and then.

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