Words of Wisdom for the Brave New World

It is about time to go back to school. Therefore across the country, freshmen are receiving wisdom from the upperclassmen. This is no different than my Alma Mater. There are people getting ready to help the freshman and transfers get adjusted into SWU life. Last year, a friend and myself made a list of advice that we would give. Since I am transitioning to a new life, I feel like the advice is applicable to every time for transition. Before you read any of this, I am not perfect. I still struggle to with a couple of these areas. Every word I write is affirmation to make it though.

1. People will be better than you at things you are good at.

Bill Nye has been quoted to say, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.”  It may be disappointing when you see someone exceeding at something that you think is your thing. Yet, that is a fact of life. There is no need to sabotage that person. It might even be an opportunity to learn. It might be as simple as asking the person for pointers, or if you are so inclined, you may be able to watch the person. Do not be a stalker or a creeper though. Just learn enough to help you on your journey.

2. Don’t compare yourself to others.

What? I tell you that people will be better than you, and then, you are not allowed to compare yourself. There is a difference between the two. The first is admitting a fact, and the other is something that can lead to some rough places. Nothing comes from comparing yourself and doing nothing about it. See, the majority of the problem come from focusing on what you are doing wrong. This is about this that sort of comparison.

3. Don’t quit.

Catherine Tate is my role model. She was my favorite companion in Doctor Who and is stunning in Much Ado About Nothing. This has been circulating the Internet and has helped me through the past couple of months:

This past year was very tough for me. There were days where I wanted to do just that. There are still some days that I want to do that. Yet, I have also had some wonderful days.  I would not have traded those days where I was shining for days being shut away. If one dreams dies, there has to be another dream somewhere.

4. Don’t Change Yourself for Others.

There are two types of change: for oneself and for others. It is very easy to change for others. Yet, they always seem to have another motive. Don’t change just to belong. There are other people who will embrace you the way that you are. Change because it will make you a better person. Change because you cannot stay the same. Ask people to help you through your change.  Yet even in the change, never compromise your own style. If the helpers are supportive, they can deal with your will to be true to yourself. If they are not supportive, you may not need them.

5. Take care of yourself.

Please take care of yourself. Don’t get so obsessed with someone else’s stuff that you forget your own needs. Sleep can be forgotten trying to solve the problems of the world. Yet, don’t let that control your life. In the School of Education at my college, they had a Christian Ethic of Care. The ethic is about how teachers should take care of students and parents and colleagues and community people. Yet before we take care of any of these other people, we were supposed to take care of the self first. We are told that we cannot be an impact to others while we are not at our best.

Train Adventures

I love to travel on the train. You never know what is going happen. Okay, you so know what is generally going to happen, but that is besides the point. A majority of my trips are taken at night so I never really know what is going on outside the train. I have been taking the train since freshman year of college where somehow it was the only alternative to coming home from Spring Break. This is Senior year, and for some reason, I am going to be taking the train a lot. I just want give a couple of tips on how to make the train experience a little more bearable from the viewpoint of a college student. And also, I have only had experience on the Crescent train, so things might be different on other trains.

1. Have your ticket in advance.

My advice is to get your ticket early. There is less stress involved if you book early for your train. The price will also be cheaper. This will guarantee your spot on the train. The question then becomes: What happens if I lose my ticket? So, Amtrak is making it easier to forget or lose your ticket without worry. There are QR codes, on the e-ticket at least, that not only tell the who the passenger is but the conductor can look up the name of the passenger on the scanner.

2. Pack light.

In the requirements for Amtrak at this time, there is a limit of two carry-on sized bags or one big bag. This does not include laptops and other essentials. You would have to look on the website for specific details. I personally would recommend the two small bags only if you have to. There is not a lot of room for random luggage on the train. You have the overhead racks and at your feet. This is not a lot of room for your entire closet unless it happens to be very small.

3. Wear Clothes that are warm and comfortable.

This does not mean to wear one really warm jumpsuit. There are heaters on the train. This does mean to wear layers. Here is an example of what I might personally wear on the train: Traveling Clothes.



Tight clothes are not advised if you are travelling long distances. Though leggings are tight, they are not too tight. I sometimes try to use my clothes as ways to start conversation. I like to wear a shirt that says, “Hobbits are Tolkien minorities”. So far, the shirt has not worked in starting conversation. That does not mean that I am done trying. Clothes are a thing of personal expression. Express yourself on the train.

4. Bring Activities.

The world we live in is wired. A major thing that is wired is the current access to the Internet. As of this time, a limited number of trains actually have WiFi. This is as of the current date. If you are reading this years in the future, consult the website. Since the Crescent does not have Internet, I find a variety of things to do like download podcasts, bring books, look at Arrive  that is made for Amtrak itself. My personal podcast favorites are from How Stuff Works and TED. If you do not like any of those options, you can always sleep. The conductors will make sure you do not miss your stop.

5. Be Positive.

This sounds easy. Yet, you are  travelling with humans. There is a good chance that you will not know the person sitting next to you. Do not let that ruin your experience. These are not the only trains on the track. This means stopping and waiting for track to be available. There are the little things that you can do that can help.  I have mentioned at least four.

So, here is the link to Amtrak. You can see current policies with luggage and the WiFi situation. I hope you have the chance to go on Amtrak. It is a great experience.