It's almost that time of year again. Soon freshmen all around the country will pack up their bedrooms and move to their new home — college. It's really up to you how it goes, but for most, college was and still is, one hell of a ride. But freshman year is a great year. You're new, so people still find you interesting. You're discovering the meaning of independence. And you're discovering yourself. One thing I wish I had when I was a freshman though, was an upperclassman to key me in on fun and valuable classes to take. Freshman year, you have no real academic commitments. Take advantage of that freedom. Here are eight courses worth taking before that year is over.
I ended up focusing in Arabic. That language has taken me around world and back. I hear the Grand Canyon is nice, but have you ever been to the Sahara in Morocco?
It's breathtaking. Learn a language, get the next flight out you can, and make your own adventures.
Ditch everything you learned in AP English. No one cares if you got a 5 on the exam — never turn in a five-paragraph essay to your professor. There are two big differences between college and high school papers.
1. Length: Learn to write longer.
2. The "research paper": Just about everything you write is going to have to respond to the work of some scholar. That means searching the crypts of your university library for a book that only two people have read. You get to then write obnoxious statements like, "Livingston's assertions about the primitive man are unfounded due to their reliance on Nicholson's faulty and biased theories." Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes it's nauseating. Just learn how to do it.
I'm already 150% sure that you all wanted to take this class anyway. Who doesn't take this class? Just thought I would remind you.
I've learned invaluable lessons through theater. To play a different character and understand why they make disgusting, frustrating, or even lovely decisions, helps you understand choices of you own. Gaining clarity about your decisions is one of the most important things you can do in college. If you're willing and unafraid, it might help you understand who you are. And the best part of all, theater helps you let loose! That's always nice.
Now, to something practical. Computer science is one of the highest paying fields you can get into after college. AOL Jobs noted that the starting salary is $50,000. Apart from the great pay, don't you think we should all know a bit about the technology that drives our everyday lives?
We're always going to be "finding ourselves." It takes time. And even years into university you'll still be wondering: Who am I and what the hell am I doing here? That feeling doesn't really go away. But writing is a great creative outlet to channel your ideas and frustrations. It's cathartic. You never know, you might be brilliant.
Here is one of my favorite poems.
You're going to take this class. And you're going to tell yourself that you "think it's really important" and you "just want to learn." Look, it's okay to go into finance. We might all be judging you for it, but that is partly because we know we're going to be poor one day. So stop telling yourself (and everyone else) you want the "learning experience." Just take the class and get on with it.
PolicyMic editors debated the importance of philosophy.
Nick Baker, Newsletter Editor vs. Michael Luciano, Breaking News Editor
Nick: Philosophy is the field of learning how to think critically —
Luciano (interrupting from across the office): No, it's the search for truth.
Nick: The fundamental takeaway from studying philosophy is an appreciation of how to think critically about a variety of issues.
Luciano: I agree with that.
They both majored in philosophy in college. They would know.
Think this is gold? Follow @chechkalu Uchechi is usually the politics intern at PolicyMic, but she took a break to write this one.