Tabula Rasa

In Latin, tabula rasa literally translates to “blank slate,” referring to wax tablets used by ancestors to take note or record information. When needed, these tablets would be heated and reformed so that the wax was completely clear of all former impressions.  In philosophy, it refers to the theory that the mind is in its hypothetical primary blank or empty state before receiving outside impressions.

For the college student, this term is an opportunity. If you need it, you can completely start over in any aspect of college life at the start of the second semester. You can still make new friends or join new organizations that you didn’t have had time to try in the fall. Maybe you need to use this semester to focus on your studies, and that’s okay too! Any mishaps from last semester don’t carry over to influence what will happen this spring.

It seems to me that the second semester is a little bit easier than the first semester of each year. You’re already established on campus, you know what you’re doing and where your classes are, and you probably have a group of people who are quickly becoming good friends. If you’re still confused, don’t worry. Figuring everything out will come.

My favorite part of a new semester is the chance to study something different than what I focused on in the fall. It’s time to figure out a new favorite class and professor, and to start prioritizing between school, work and clubs. It’s a chance to do better, and maybe even bigger things, both in and outside of class.

I always appreciate a new challenge at the beginning of the semester. Having a huge goal to reach over a period of time helps keep me interested in a class and focused during lectures. You never know when a bit of useful information will appear.

So, as we all go forward into the new semester (and my last one!), I wish you the best of luck. I hope you have amazing things happen for you, both in class and with your friends. There’s so much to look forward to in the spring and it’s going to be great!