Miss Musings

A modern miss provides commentary on sociological and psychological issues concerning politics, the media, literature, and everyday observances.

14 Sneaky College Life Hacks

I will be the first to tell you that it is normal to feel clueless in college. During the first few weeks, you may ask yourself probing questions such as, “Where is the laundry machine?” and “Does Nutella on a bagel constitute a balanced breakfast?” Your greatest fears may come to mind as you take a lukewarm shower or get drenched in the rain that was not reported on your spiffy weather app. But do not fret – I am here to give you some tips on how to be successful in college, from grades to food to mental sanity.

  1. Listen to music while you grocery shop. This will empower you and make you shop faster in case you have to catch a speedy grocery shuttle.
  2. Do NOT boil an entire box of pasta. Don’t listen to what the box says; you cannot eat all of it.
  3. Go to your professors’ office hours! Introduce yourself and have at least one question to ask each professor. They will remember you, which is priceless for when you go to their offices to inquire about grades or difficult assignments.
  4. Do your laundry in between classes. Unless you would like to volunteer as tribute for the Hunger Games, it is advised to stay far away from the laundry room on weekends.
  5. Stay away from free food. While unlimited free pizza is tempting, you will get tired of the free food after a week or two. Just because it’s free does not mean you should eat it!
  6. Be done with homework by 7PM. If you do homework during the day, you will not have to turn down your friends’ offers to play Cards Against Humanity or go grab Steak & Shake. You will also have ample time to sleep. Speaking of…
  7. Do not sacrifice your sleep. Only rare breeds can manage crazy schedules and get enough shut eye. Prioritize your health above everything else, except going to class…
  8. Actually go to class. Even if you can get an A in a class without attending, it yields good karma to show up somewhere you are paying to be. Your professor will take note of your desire to learn, which could come in handy if you fail a quiz and need to seek assistance.
  9. Don’t stress making friends. The key to meeting people in college is putting yourself out there, not being afraid of being mildly uncomfortable for a few minutes at various meetings, introducing yourself a million times, and eventually, meeting really excellent people who stick with you to the end of the experience and beyond. Do not worry if you don’t have a “squad” or clique right away; just appreciate the people you do have in your life and deepen your most worthwhile friendships.
  10. Carry an umbrella. Everywhere. Always.
  11. Take a spiral-bound notebook to take notes on to class, and then rip out the notes at the end of the day and add them to a massive binder. This way you are not carrying all of your notes around with you every class day.
  12. Invest in a digital watch. You don’t want your professors catching you glancing at the clock, do you? Because trust me, you will.
  13. Shop with reusable bags. Not only is this good for the environment, but it allows you to cram more items into fewer bags. No longer will you have to keep track of ten plastic bags on the shuttle.
  14. Write down everything in one planner. This includes grocery lists, to-dos, finals, exams, quizzes, and fun. Make the planner your lifeline. Become one with the planner.


That is it, collegiates: you are now 14 steps closer to achieving success (or sanity) in school.

What is the most important thing you have learned this semester, or during your college experience? Leave a comment below with your tip!

You must fail to be satisfied

When you fail at something, you may feel like there is nothing to be gained; however, I am here to illustrate an occasion when I took a risk that incurred a loss, but sparked a fire that changed my life.

Photo Courtesy of the Public Domain

Photo Courtesy of the Public Domain

I often shoot for unattainable goals. It is just who I am. I tend to overestimate myself in order to psych myself into pursuing loftier dreams, and I used this mindset when I applied for the Young Scholars Program in 2013, a competitive research program for gifted science high school students in Florida. While I technically met the academic qualifications, I applied a year before the program recommends, as a sophomore instead of a junior. Naturally I was rejected, so I moved on, like most people would.

Here’s the key – I did not move on all the way.

Sometimes we want what we can’t have… yet. I would like to urge you, dear friend, to want uncontrollably and try repeatedly to achieve what you desire. You may be surprised at the luck the universe is willing to offer those who don’t give up. Life is there to live. It should not represent a collection of missed opportunities.

So, I applied to the program again a year later, and was accepted after my second try. My qualifications were stronger, but I was also much more emotionally ready to spend six weeks away from home with 39 strangers, who quickly became excellent peers of mine. Also, I was blessed with the company of humans that allowed me to think more positively in life and to challenge my perceptions every day for the better. I also met my best friend at the program, which I accredit solely to the fact that I pushed to create a stronger second application, and accepted possible rejection in the quest for a tried-and-failed goal. In the end, nothing was more empowering than knowing I could do something that I could not do before.

We have to take risks to change, to fall in love, and to discover we are more tenacious than we even imagined. Try and try and try until you get it, whatever it is you are chasing. Perhaps we learn what we really want and how hard we are willing to work only after we fail. Without risking failure, we could never succeed, and without failing, we could never desire making improvements toward obtaining success. Forget the past and aim confidently for the future – your world could change in an instance as long as you remain fearless.

Valencia grads: to Harvard and beyond

Image courtesy of uploads.wikimedia.org

Image courtesy of uploads.wikimedia.org


Valencia College is a unique institution to say the least. What was once Orlando’s community college is now a bachelor’s degree-granting institution, an extension of the University of Central Florida and home to a recent Harvard Medical School admit.

Cathy Gutierrez got her start at Valencia’s Osceola campus for financial reasons and then moved forward to the University of Central Florida to finish her degrees in biotechnology, molecular biology and microbiology. She completed her degrees with a stellar GPA while working at SeaWorld and Red Lobster and volunteering at Give Kids the World. The Valencia-UCF graduate will begin her journey at Harvard Medical School this summer.

Gutierrez’s success proves that Valencia’s prowess is making great strides. Our humble community college is graduating top notch students, but it is doing even more than that – the college is graduating real students with unbelievable stories.

I could report on any one of Valencia’s students due to how interesting their backgrounds are. The college’s students range from reformed convicts to high-achieving students who could not afford to attend anywhere but Valencia. The most redeeming quality of the college is its commitment to honoring hard work and achievement, while instilling these values in its students. Nearly every Valencia student or graduate whom I have met has overcome great obstacles – several jobs, difficult course loads, financial struggles, etc. – and with the help of the college, many of them have found success in the workforce and graduate school.

Click here to learn more of Gutierrez’s story. Visit Valencia’s website to learn more about its mission.

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