3 Classes I Wish I’d Taken at University

Hello everyone!

I’ve been back State-side for nearly two months now. My plans have been going well and I’ve got to see quite a few old friends! We still have sunshine here in Georgia, but cold weather is coming and it may freeze soon.

 

Georgia On My Mind

 

I left the States in August 2017 as a senior and came back a year later as a college graduate!

I absolutely adored Uni and wanted to share another post on this blog about American university! I was a German Literature major, so this post will be most relevant for students of humanities. However, everyone is invited to read and may find some inspiration for their coursework here 🙂

Even before I began university, I was fascinated by the variety of courses offered in just one major and there were many other departments that interested me.  I really don’t have any regrets about my college years, but, of course, I didn’t get to do everything I wanted. To share some of my experience as an American college student and reflect on my major and classes taken, I put together this little post: 3 Classes I Wish I’d Taken at University

And before I dive in to the classes, I want to share a great resource for deciding on a major at college and, later, selecting a career specialization. “What Can I Do With This Major” provides an in-depth approach to career options with a particular major. I think it also gives insight into some steps you should take during your college career. So, I’m a big fan of the site!

 

3 Classes I Wish I’d Taken at University

 

1. Business Writing: 

Upon taking “Women Lead in Business” at my Uni, I realized that there was a lot I did not know about the business world.

The reason for this class is simple–being able to adjust your writing according to the proper style/convention is important not only during your college career but also in your professional life.

Not only would I have improved my writing in this area, I think I also would have learned a lot about business culture, ethics, research practices and verbal argumentation. Not to mention, it wouldn’t look bad to have “Business Writing”
on your resume 😉

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

 

2. Drama/Theater:

Looking back, there are a few reasons as to why I wish I would have taken theater.

But to be honest, I was not interested at all in taking drama class at high school and was usually shy and nervous about giving presentations until university. So, I thought that theater wasn’t the right place for me.

Oftentimes the performance is just as important as the quality or depth (think about speaking with a great accent in a foreign language despite only knowing a few phrases), and I think that is where theater has its role in preparing you to speak and perform, to be witty and natural, and to entertain your audience. Also, I would love to build my technical knowledge of theater. 

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Photo by Monica Silvestre on Pexels.com

 

3. Creative Writing:

Again, another writing class! While I have started adopting outlines and pre-writing techniques to improve my writing, I really would like to push my creativity and ability to describe something in words… to create a fictional world, to write a small scene or to embrace some lyrical rhythm in my prose.

I loved going to the Writing Studio at my school and getting feedback on my essays before turning them in! I would have enjoyed a creative writing class in poetry and fiction, which offered practice in styles, points of views, and structure.

I think most humanities majors would benefit from a creative writing class as they would not only get their creativity flowing, but also learn how to give and take constructive criticism, how to express themselves better, and writing regularly could serve as an outlet to relieve stress.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

 

Let’s start a conversation! Which classes are on your list? Like and share with your friends.

Stephanie

 

**Coming Soon: “My First Trip Abroad in Photos/Roots of this Blog” & “My Favorite 5 Classes at University”**

The Graduate? Graduating American University from Abroad

Hello there! Glad to have you on my blog=) If you are here for the first time, I’ll give a short introduction about the blog and myself:

This blog started as a project for my online coursework while I was studying abroad as a German language major in Erlangen, Germany. It has grown into something much bigger. I have articles on German culture, sightseeing in Germany, learning foreign languages, travelling Europe, tips for studying abroad in Germany as well as several articles about self-development and my personal journey.

This post  is based on a journal entry from May this year (2018), which I wrote after I had officially graduated, but was still completing the second-half of my study abroad. It will be more personal than most of my other posts.  At the time that I wrote it and, especially the next month, I experienced a certain life-anxiety.

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The Graduate, 1967

Mr. Braddock: Ben, what are you doing?
Benjamin: Well, I would say that I’m just drifting. Here in the pool.
Mr. Braddock: Why?
Benjamin: Well, it’s very comfortable just to drift here.
Mr. Braddock: Have you thought about graduate school?
Benjamin: No.
Mr. Braddock: Would you mind telling me then what those four years of college were for? What was the point of all that hard work?
Benjamin: You got me.

“Life-anxiety” for me was an ambiguous feeling from not having the structure that university gave me and from being uncertain about the next plans and not knowing the meaning of it all.

I wasn’t feeling negative. I was actually quite positive, but I had so many goals along with the feeling that time is so limited. I am a person who believes “life is too short to not take it serious enough” rather than the relaxed “to take it too serious.” I don’t mean worrying about the little details, but rather having a direction and pursuing your dreams.

On the other hand, I think it’s not necessarily bad to not have it all figured out because we are able to discover new things and can go on a journey to let our intuition guide us to what we really want and need. Thinking about our future is also important because without goals or reasons to do something, we may end up unhappy or just breezing through at a job that we don’t enjoy, that doesn’t challenge us or add meaning to our life.

Graduating from high school is also a big change. By my junior year of high school, I realized that I would soon be free of school obligations and it meant that I was no longer a teenager, but a young adult. Graduating from university is much different than high school. High school was the start to university. (And for some work, love, marriage and kids.) This feeling of freedom after graduating university is well… as Janis Joplin said, “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” It’s heavy. It’s great to have accomplished something, but being finished is also bittersweet. University encourages you to contemplate the universe and your purpose on earth and finishing university from abroad was almost as if the world decided to eat me and spit me out again. The weight of the world was on my shoulders.

But don’t let this intro intimidate you, here are the many different thoughts I had about graduating American university from abroad:

Before we get started, I want to say: I am no longer feeling like I did during spring. I have goals but no definite plans, but I am working on different things. As far as what my next official plans will be, well, you’ll just have to stay tuned.

9 Thoughts About Graduating American Uni from Abroad

  1. I am glad that I no longer have to do online classes. While my marks turned out fine, I didn’t get the usual interaction I would have when visiting a normal course at my university. I got a taste of the courses, but not the full thing, so my motivation wasn’t the same.. it just felt like busy work.
  2. I loved my home university. I knew my place there by my third year and spent my fourth year in Germany. So, I am a bit sad to leave it behind. Sad that I couldn’t have done more there as well.
  3. Being abroad makes me feel much different about graduation. After doing an exchange for 8 months abroad, not having cap-and-gown photos made and not going through the whole process with everyone, I’m definitely not experiencing the typical celebrations and worries.
  4. It’s also different because my Russian studies are finally starting off and I’ve started doing new things like French, travelling more, reading more, etc. In other words, I’m busy with new avenues and not just focused on being done with my home university.
  5. I feel proud and excited that I’ve finished university. I have a degree, great grades, honors, and other experience alongside the studies as well.
  6. I’m happier now that I have started working on grad school applications and preparations.
  7. In general, it’s still hard to believe that time went by so fast and many things just fell into place—it wasn’t a plan I had made years before I began uni. My studies found me.
  8. I’m stuck in some weird existential-crisis-zone. There’s capitalism of the 21st century vs. experiencing life vs. my true passion vs. adult life and so on.
  9. I am also looking forward to being “free” from university and paperwork as an (almost) expat in Germany and returning to USA. I’m coming back with many interesting experiences behind me and to friends and family who miss me. When I return, I’ll still be busy with a few things and I’ll definitely still be learning, but I want to use the time for myself and to travel the States. It will be interesting to see whether I will feel as free as I do abroad or if I will just feel out of place.

 

How did you feel after your graduated? Have you experienced a similar feeling?~Stephanie F.

A mini “interview” written Spring 2017

Stephanie Ford

German Literature Major, Junior

This was required by university housing as a way for the RA (resident adviser) to check-in with the students. It was also meant to be beneficial for Freshman students to reflect on how university has impacted their lives. Yes, I wrote this as a Junior. If you keep reading, you will discover why I was living in Freshman housing.

What were some of the highlights of this year? Why?
I had an article published on an online magazine
I worked in Little Five for seven months at Rag-O-Rama
I applied for an internship and scholarship that both required recommendation letters, essays and a lot of work (didn’t get internship; still waiting on scholarship)
I got to explore different types of German classes (found out I didn’t like translating but I like German poetry)
I’ve maintained regular lessons at Goethe-Zentrum and practiced my German consistently
I took a course “Women Lead in Business” and gained a lot of practical knowledge
I teach English weekly to non-native adults and truly enjoy teaching
I led a Book Drive for Golden Key Honor Society and gave a speech during the New Member Recognition Ceremony (in front of President Becker)
I’ve read 15 books since the fall semester began (not to mention all the articles and excerpts I read for my classes; and more than half of the books were in German)

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What were some of your personal successes? Why?
One of my personal successes was that I got a little tougher this year. Before I wanted to maintain friendships and relationships with people who brought me down. But this year, I have protected myself and have decided not to let people play with my emotions.
Another personal success is that I’ve managed my negative emotions well. I have used music or writing to express what was making me feel bad. I didn’t go to some of the negative coping options I used before.

What were some of your struggles this year? why?
Time management has not been a problem for me. It has been not having enough time to do everything (work, school, sleep, work out, shop, hang with friends, etc., etc.) Many college students do have to work, or have other responsibilities. This year has been the busiest for me. I have been exhausted so many times, and relied on coffee to keep me going. I have had to lack in certain areas like giving myself free time to go out, or hitting the gym. Although being busy is good for me. It keeps me in line and feeling good, I have been pushing myself and have neglected (although not to a ridiculous degree) my body and well-being.
The other major struggle I had this year was with my roommate before I changed dorms. We had to share a bedroom (and of course a bathroom). It did not matter how many compromises or roommate agreements we made, she always did what she wanted to do (including keeping me awake many nights and talking to me like she’s my overcorrecting aunt.) I tried to live in peace and keep to myself, but she truly began harassing me and I felt like I could not even breathe in my own room. So, my other main struggle was being practically tortured by a person who didn’t want to make things easy for anyone. On top of that, getting in touch with the right people at Georgia State, and them actually doing what they are supposed to do to change things for me has been a major struggle out of my control.

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What are things you can do in the future or things you’ve already started doing to help in the areas you struggle?
When I finally got to a point that I was so used to being busy all the time, but losing my drive a bit and relying too much on coffee and energy drinks, I decided to put in my two weeks at work. Now that I’ve stopped working, I am feeling much better and I am putting time into the things I neglected before.

Do you think anything has changed about you since coming to college?
Sure, a lot has changed about me since coming to college. My fashion sense has developed into a new direction. I am pickier about my friends. I have been to a few different foreign countries and have experienced different cultures. I also speak another language and am learning my third. In high school, I was more of an outcast and rebel. Although, I am not trying to please everyone now, I put a lot of consideration into my actions as I want to help others and make an impact on my community. I am still shy, caring, and a little nerdy, but I have challenged myself in many ways and done things that I would not have done in high school. I have matured in many aspects and have really learned a lot. I am more focused and have passions and interests that I didn’t have before.

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How have your relationships at home changed since you’ve come to GSU?
My parents see me as a young adult and have a lot to be proud of and share with their friends. Having more distance with my parents has also allowed us to understand each other better. My family is still important to me and I will never forget that my parents worked hard to provide for me and gave me a lot of support, but now I have become more independent and cannot rely on my parents to fix everything when something goes wrong. I think my parents have learned from me and hearing about my experiences; I can also appreciate hearing some of their old stories and points of advice.

What was it like at home over break?
Normal, boring, relaxing… Things do not change that often back home. Of course it is weird at first but I have adjusted to it and see that as where I’m from and where my family is. Everything was fine with my family and I kept myself busy, but didn’t overdo it and gave myself time to rest. I was still working in Atlanta during break.

How have your views on social or cultural issues changed since coming to GSU? Have they changed at all?
Apart from travelling abroad, I will say that Georgia State has exposed me to many different types of people. Because of that, I am used to working with people who are different than me. I do not let stereotypes or outside appearances guide my decisions.  However, I have also seen that people are very divided and are quick to blame others. I think that there is potential for all people to be treated equally, but there is a lot of pain and hate that hold people back. In a way, I have been inspired because being with all kinds of people is the norm for me, but, on the other hand, I have been discouraged because although Georgia State and Atlanta may be diverse, people are not so open-minded and misjudge others when they are different.

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Is there anything you’d like to challenge yourself or other students about regarding perceptions of other cultures or your own culture?
I think that everyone should either travel abroad or study a foreign language. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone allows us to see our flaws and our strengths. It also helps us realize that no one is always the insider and no one is always the outsider. There will always be similarities and differences between people. Exposure to new things and opening yourself up to different people is a great way to challenge one’s perception of their culture and other cultures.

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Have there been any programs or events on campus that have exposed you to different ideas about culture and society? What were they?
I went to a World Youth Alliance meeting and discussed stereotypes about homeless. I heard a lot of interesting stories from volunteers with experience around working with homeless people. I also learned some surprising statistics about how extreme poverty and homelessness are in Atlanta and the state of Georgia.

I enjoyed putting this post together. I did not make any changes to what was originally written in Spring of 2017. Now you know a little bit more about me.

All the best,

Stephanie