What time is it? Swinter time!

Bundle up for a cold Swinter. No, wait. Now it’s 70 degrees and sunny. Figure out who you want to be, Swinter!

If you are unfamiliar with the reference to High School Musical in the title, I recommend you watch the beautiful High School Musical trilogy before the just announced fourth one comes out (This is exciting news, people!! Let’s hope they don’t mess it up). If you are unfamiliar with the “Swinter” term used in the title for this blog, I highly suggest you educate yourself with this Phineas and Ferb video.

While the past few weeks in Raleigh haven’t been exactly a Phineas-and-Ferb-type Swinter (a.k.a, snowing and tanning has yet to occur), Raleigh has gone through snow, 70 degree weather, and tornado weather in an unnaturally short period of time. And by short I mean one day we had a snow day and, two days later, boys were wearing the tank top, shorts, and flip-flops combo.

In my experience with college so far, a lot of it is its own version of Swinter. On some weeks I am cruising: there’s maybe one little homework assignment due and no tests at all, so with my spare time I can go to my friend’s house and bake (last week I made lava cakes, they were pretty good). However, during some weeks, and sometimes even some days by themselves, it seems like a tsunami of school work is about to crash down on me. The week before spring break, especially, seems to be the ideal time for teachers to assign all of their tests and homework due dates. The nice thing about this stressful time is that usually you know that half the people in the library are going through the same piles of homework and tests as you, and a silent sense of community is developed through this schoolwork themed Swinter. As of writing this, we are approaching on day three and , personally, I am barely keeping my head above water. I know this is something that happened to me a few times during high school, but it’s never been to this extent. In case you haven’t heard this yet (but you probably have), college is basically one big test of time management. As a first year college student, many of us are just now experiencing this plethora of free time. Personally, it’s the first time in my life I have had to be completely and absolutely accountable for myself (shout out to my mom and dad for keeping me on track before), and sometimes it is challenging. I feel like going into college, you need a certain level of maturity to believe that you can function all by yourself, but after that certain level, the extent to which you can get yourself to do productive things with your newfound free time can vary from person. As for myself, this is something I am still continuing to work on.

In case you haven’t heard this yet (but you probably have), college is basically one big test of time management.

I’ve had the same type of Swinter experience at times with the Goodnight Scholars Program, but in a much less stressful way. Throughout the year, we have many events to develop ourselves professionally, socially, and academically, ranging from tours of different companies to dinner with renowned NC State faculty to TED Talk discussions and viewings of the most recent Star Wars film in IMAX. Each event is given a Goodnight Scholar Point (GSP) equivalence, which usually ranges around 2-5 points, and as a member of the Goodnight Scholars Program, you are required to have at least 20 GSPs by the end of the year (a.k.a., the Goodnight20). As a reference, I currently have 30, and some other people in the Program have has many as 115! This difference in points is something that I find really cool about the Program. While it is encouraged to get involved with at least 20 hours worth of Goodnight Scholars programming, after that mark, it’s all up to you. Some weeks you can be doing almost nothing directly Goodnight-related, and other weeks you can have consecutive days of Goodnight Scholars events. No matter what you choose, the programming is never overwhelming, always worth your time, and never fails to give you a greater sense of the Goodnight community by giving you the opportunity to meet new people in the community as well as develop stronger bonds with others.

This past weekend we had a big event for the Program, with the Finalist Interview Day in Hunt Library. It was funny comparing where I was last year, interviewing, to this year just talking to the parents of soon-to-be or already interviewed children over lunch. Thinking about it now, my own Finalist Interview Day was probably the most stressed I have been over anything related to the Goodnight Scholars Program. But for the Finalist Interview Day this year, being able to talk to parents and address questions and concerns about their child’s upcoming college experiences was so lovely, honestly.

Looking around and seeing my fellow Goodnight Scholars so engaged in discussion with all of the parents of potential future Goodnight Scholars made me appreciate, as well as greatly realize, the fact that the Goodnight Scholars Program doesn’t facilitate a sense of community just among those in the Goodnight Scholars Program, but it really strives to create a sense of community throughout the entire NC State community. That is pretty awesome. So despite the occasional schoolwork themed Swinters in my life, I am so glad to be a part of a community which provides me with the opportunity of a perfect Phineas-and-Ferb type Swinter, in its own form.