What if Your College Didn’t Give Diploma’s

Every student who attends college will put in varying amounts of effort yet every student who attends college (and passes all their classes of course) will receive a very expensive piece of paper and a handshake from their Universities president at the end of four years.  There are some days you just don’t feel like putting in the effort, some days you don’t feel like going to that guest lecturer (it’s not required so who cares) because no matter what, as long as you pass (with a C or an A ) you will be handed your diploma.

Would you do college differently if you had to go for four years but you were not given a degree?

What would you work towards during your four years if you don’t have that expensive piece of paper to work for?

What would you try and get out of college if you had to go but there was no such thing as a bachelors degree?

Think about it… after your four years at college you walk up to an employer and hand them your resume.  You did four years of college.  The person next to you only went to high school but it’s been four years since they went so you’re both the same age.  Under the ‘Education’ line on your resume you both have High School Diploma (remember there’s no such thing as a college degree).  Who will they hire?  Answer: they hire the other person.  Why?  Because you spent four years partying and just going to class.  They spend four years traveling, doing mission work, community service, they attended conferences, and held part time jobs here and there.  You get angry… you just spent four years at college!  How can they not hire you???  The thing is, you had every opportunity to do what they did.  Why didn’t you take it?

Think about college now.  What will you try and get out of your years at college if you weren’t handed a diploma at the end?  You might think…. well what’s the point of college then if it’s just all about experience?  Well, there are many reasons academically, socially, growth, etc but for the purpose of this post…. the point of college is that you get spoon fed the opportunities to do the same things that the ‘non-college-goer’ did while they had to research and work their butt’s off to find and create those opportunities.

You are lucky!  Don’t waste what you are given.

Building Your Resume From Scratch

Everyone wants to be at the top of the mountain but nobody wants to climb it.

School has started.  For those of you who are returning college students, ‘welcome back!’  For you new freshman, ‘welcome!’  For you new students, even you returning ones, you might look back on all you have done throughout high school and pat yourself on the back.  You may have been class president, a class officer, member of an honor society, member of an organziation, you won the community service award, you were captain of your varsity sports team, maybe you were even valedictorian, or won a college scholarship because of how super smart you were in your science classes in high school.  Well, let me first off say ‘congrats’ and then let me say ‘your high school success or lack thereof doesn’t actually matter as you make the transition to college.

You’ve worked so hard to get to where you are today and yes, now i am going to tell you that it’s time to start over.  Did you enjoy being successful in high school?  Did you dislike being a bum and now you want to revamp your life?  Either way you have to start back at the bottom and work your way up.  Freshman, this is your time to!  Returning students, it’s never too late to get started.  The majority of your schools will probably provide an involvement fair at the beginning of the semester.  Go to it!  Learn about different organizations and just sign up for one.  If you go there with too much enthusiasm and sign up for a bunch of groups you will overwhelm yourself and probably not attend any meetings.  Find one group you like, sign up for it and attend their meeting.  Help with one project in that group and work on it until it is accomplished.  Then, onto the next project.  What do we call this????…..climbing back up!

First Night Alone

You’ve moved in, said your goodbyes (lots of tears?  it’s okay!) and it’s your first night alone at college.  What do you do?  Many of you may sit in bed with your laptop and click through facebook, you’ll probably text your friends or talk to your parents.  Hopefully your roommate has moved in too so that you have someone to talk to.  What are you feeling?  Scared, alone, unfamiliar, sad, awkward?  I promise you the nights get better!  If you’re in bed and thinking, ‘omg i can’t do this, this is so uncomfortable i just want to be home’ my response to you (in the nicest way) is stop complaining, suck it up, you’re a grown up now and you CAN do this!  Don’t let loneliness defeat you, you need to give yourself time before you make any drastic moves and pack up and go home.  Some of you may actually be bored.  No worries, once school starts you will have enough work to keep you busy.  Once everyone moves in you will have plenty of people to meet and hang out with.  In fact, enjoy the first few awkward nights when the dorms are quiet and nobody knows what to do because soon you’ll have nights where you are itching for a quiet night.  Like I said… you CAN do this!  There are thousands of freshman who are feeling the same way as you so stop reading this post, close your laptop and go meet other freshman.  Finally, if you are really lonely and you’re still having a hard time connecting to your environment, go buy a fish.  Strange?  NO!  Having a fish will give you something to take care of and look forward to seeing when you come back to your room. Name it Gabby!

Talk to you soon,

G

High School Habits to Break Before College

I sat down today planning on giving you my advice on college professor’s pet peeves.  I figured it was a good time to start talking about these things because many of you are starting to move into your colleges and universities now and for all of you freshman this is the beginning of ‘Professor’ life, no more ‘Teacher’ life.  Buuuuuut, I started reading my daily news sources to catch up on what’s happening around the world and I found a really good and humorous article about “High School Habits to Break Before College” and I couldn’t help but share it with you.  I found it on the Huffington Post today and here we go….

“Incoming college freshmen, take note: University life comes with an unwritten rule book. Break any one of these regulations and your lowly freshman status will instantly be revealed. (Quick tip: Don’t wear your school’s lanyard around your neck. Just don’t.)

Luckily for college newbies, Reddit uses compiled a handy list last week of high school habits to drop before you set foot on campus. Read below to soak up their wisdom. Before you know it, you’ll be a college pro, too.

  1. Your life isn’t over if you walk  into class late.  Just calmly go in and take a seat.  You’ll be fine.
  2. Yes.  It will be on the test.
  3. Don’t make excuses for late or missing work.  Unless the professor is brand new, we’ve heard many well-crafted fake excuses.
  4. After a test, you don’t have to stick around.  Pack your stuff and leave quietly.
  5. Acting like you’re the coolest kid around is extremely annoying.  No one cares about how much you drank last night.  If it’s that impressive people will brag for you.
  6. Stop asking random people for a piece of gum when they take it out of their bag.  Get your own gum.
  7. Stop asking people what they got on SAT/ACT/AP/whathaveyou… nobody cares.
  8. Don’t fall victim to “no more parents, no more rules”; especially on food.
  9. If you are sick do not bring a note from your parents.
  10. Don’t wear those stupid lanyards with the school name around your neck.
  11. Don’t shout out snide comments during class trying to get people to laugh.  We don’t care if “that’s what she said” we just want to learn.
  12. Don’t be the kid who talks about being gifted/skipping a grade/your average in high school.  If you go to a good school, everyone else is just as smart.  If you go to an okay school no one gives two shits about that.”

These were great!  Thank’s Huffington Post!

If any of you readers have advice as to what habits students should drop when they become college students please post below.

 

Me Time

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Make sure to create “Me Time,” a time when you sit by yourself and think about what is going on in life.  Too often we look towards other for advice and we look towards others for acceptance.  Why?  What advice would you give yourself?  Take time to think about the changes that happen at college, the things that you have going on, and the things that you’ve done (good and bad).  Are you satisfied with what is going on?  Can you set goals for yourself?  Most importantly, remember to breath and trust that everything will be just fine… cause ya know what?  It will be.

College Parties

Here’s the short answer of what happens at a college party – everyone gets drunk.

Your first concern is, will I get invited to parties?  Freshman girls, absolutely!  In fact, there are guys who make a game out of recruiting freshman girls to parties, so be careful because they know you’re naive and vulnerable.  Everyone – you don’t need to prove yourself when you go to your first party.  Even if you get pressured, you don’t have to drink the most or get naked and run around in order to get invited back.  So, what are they like?  Many of them are like the movies.  You walk or get a cab to the party and when you arrive there are usually people outside drinking.  Depending on the time of the night there will probably be a couple (who may or may not even know each others names) getting comfortable with one another right in front of everyone.  You walk in the house and there will be loud music playing, people hanging out on couches, playing drinking games, taking shots in the kitchen.  People may randomly walk up to you and hand you a drink (I suggest you make your own drink or bring your own, especially in the beginning).  It will be scary at first, especially with you open a door thinking it’s the bathroom but it’s actually a side bedroom and as you open the door smoke rolls out because there are a bunch of people sitting around smoking… this is normal and they will probably offer you a hit (I suggest you don’t take it, it’s probably not the same as what you did in high school and it can very well be laced with something that may or may not make the tree’s in the backyard start talking… oh yeah and it’s illegal, just sayin’).  You may also get pissed when you open the bathroom dorm and there are people having sex in the shower.  Fast forward to the end of the night – there are guys throwing stuff, breaking stuff, and putting holes in the wall for no reason.  There are people passed out on the couch that is now outside on the front lawn, just because.  Some parties will be small with only 15 people or so but some will be enormous and overwhelming.  Here are some things to think about and advice as you enter the college party scene.

  1. Be patient.  You don’t need to jump into the party scene right away.  I partied in high school but college parties were foreign to me and I wanted to get a good look at them before I started really partying.  I went out with my friends starting on day one of college because I didn’t have my first drink in college until about a month into it.  It was one of the best choices I made.  I got to see how quickly people made reputations for themselves.  I got to see which one of my friends was the most reliable when they were out (it’s always good to know which friend you can rely on).  Even if you take your time entering the party scene in the beginning you will have fours years to party!
  2. You will see things you’ve never seen before but soon enough nothing will phase you.  The first time you walk into the bathroom and see people having sex in the shower will be in awe for sure but eventually you’ll see that and probably still use the bathroom.
  3. If you don’t want to drink carry the same cup around all night and sip from it.  Towards the end of the night people will get so drunk they wont realize if you’ve been drinking or not.
  4. Wear whatever you want.  Some parties will be themed and you’ll know what to wear but for the most part, anything goes.
  5. Don’t trust people too quickly.    
  6. One bad night can ruin your entire college experience.  Don’t be stupid!  In one night you can drive drunk and get a DUI or get in an accident, you can have sex and get pregnant, you can get so drunk that you think it’s a good idea to vandalize the school and then get caught and get kicked out… people do stupid thing, your friends will do stupid things, people will tell you to do stupid things… it’s not worth it.
  7. Remember what’s right.  You will inevitably do things that you will regret and you’ll be embarrassed of things you did or things you said but if your roommate jumps in a car driven by someone you know has been drinking, don’t do it.
  8. Ultimately – people get drunk, party all night, wake up hungover, sit on the couch all day and talk about what happened the night before and then repeat.
  9. You will learn what you can handle, what you like to do, and who you like to hang out with.  College is an amazing time and the parties will make memories that will last forever.  Have fun and be safe!

 

Go Greek?

Sororities and Fraternities… should you do them?  Well, let me tell you a little about my Greek background – I have none.  My college had a small handful of sororities and fraternities, we didn’t have big greek houses off campus, and there was enough to do on campus that students didn’t feel like they had to join greek life.  Before I give you my honest opinion I did some research, talked to a number of students and created a pro and con list of greek life so that you can create your own opinion.  Then, I’ll ruin all your opinions by aggressively persuading you into what I feel, which is the right answer… i’m kidding, i’ll be gentle.  Ok so heeeeere we go!

Let me answer the first questions I received from a student:  How does the process actually start?  Do you just sign up?

There will be signs around your college loud and clear telling you to ‘rush’ for a sorority or fraternity.  Rushing means meeting with the guys and girls of different organizations to learn about what each group is like, what the girls and guys are like and so on.  Once you’ve met with the various organizations you indicate which ones you would like to be a member of.  You usually pick based on which girls/guys are the friendliest, which ones your friends join, which reputation you like best (i.e. the party frat, the pretty sorority, etc.), there are a number of different reasons why you’ll choose which one you want.  Afterwards the organizations will choose which freshman they are interested in and invite you to a party.  After the party they will give out invitations to freshman that they want in their sorority/fraternity.  If you accept the invitation it doesn’t meant you are officially in.  You have to go through the pledging process (this is where all the crazy/scary stuff may happen, not all sororities/frats put their new members through h*ll and back).  If you make it through pledging – congratulations, you’re in!

Now for the Pro’s and Con’s

POSITIVES OF JOINING GREEK LIFE

  1. Strong Friendship – There is a strong brotherhood/sisterhood that greek life fosters.  You will always have a group of guys/girls to hang out with and form friendships with.
  2. Networking – Sororities/Fraternities are part of national organizations.  There is a huge network of alumni around the country and the world.  Alumni are a great resource for job opportunities when it comes time to graduate.  I knew a friend who interviewed for a job and the man that was interviewing him was part of the same Fraternity when he was in college and all they talked about during the interview was college and the frat.  Naturally – he got the job.
  3. Academics – Greek organizations typically have a GPA requirement you need to stay in the sorority/fraternity.  There are even sometimes academic leadership positions where a member of the organization is required to check members academic achievements.  Also with the large group, there is always a member to study with or help to tutor you.
  4. Leadership – There are leadership opportunities (prez, VP, treasurer, etc.) within the organization.  Great addition to a resume!
  5. Community Service – All Sororities/Frat’s raise money for a charity.  Community service is a huge part of what greek life does.
  6. Parties – Fraternities sponsor a lot of the big parties on campus.  For colleges that have off campus greek housing for their students, there is always a place to party.
  7. Formals – These are like prom.  You get to dress up, get your hair done, get all fancy, take pictures and have an amazing night just like prom… but better.

NEGATIVE SIDE TO GREEK LIFE

  1. Expensive – there are due’s for being in Greek life.  It can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars each year.  Sororities/fraternities with their own housing (not all of them have houses) are generally more expensive than living in a dorm or apartment because they have to pay for the upkeep on the house.
  2. Time Commitment – There are a lot of required events that you have to attend.  This starts from when you rush and pledge.  A lot of students struggling during this time because of the time commitment.  Once you become a member there are meetings, community service events, and social events.  Greek life is many cases becomes your life, not just a fun thing to be a part of.
  3. Reputation – a lot of sororities/fraternities have certain image on campus.  Really ask yourself if you want that image, even if the reputation isn’t how you see yourself, just by wearing your letters, people will assume that reputation on you.
  4. Fights/Tension – yes there is a brotherhood/sisterhood but so many girls and guys in one place, especially if you’re living in the same house is a recipe for tensions to flare and fights to happen.
  5. Tunnel Vision – there are so many different types of people, events, and organizations on campus. Greek like takes up a lot of your time so it’s easy to get tunnel vision and lose sight of other opportunities on campus.

My opinion (and no this isn’t the right answer, just my opinion) – I wasn’t in a sorority.  I didn’t want to pay the money.  I didn’t want to be forced to go to events.  Too many girls in the same place, recipe for disaster.  And pledging –  if a girl poured honey on me and then blew flour and feathers all over me and made me carry a brick in my backpack for weeks and made me call her princess every time I saw her – yah, not happening.

Packing For College

Has anyone started yet?  If I remember correctly I think I started packing or at least thinking about what to pack as soon as I graduated high school.  It can seem like a daunting task, having to pack up your life and bring it to your new home.  What do you bring?  How do you actually pack? Will it all fit?  Natural concerns of course.  In this post I am going to give you some ideas to keep in mind when packing and then at the end i’ll give you a list of what to pack.

First thing to keep in mind – You can and will buy stuff when you are at school.  This includes clothes, food, toiletries, etc.  If you forget something, if you need something, you can buy it when you’re at school. You will not be living in a bubble, you can leave and go shopping.

Make a list.  This is probably the best thing to do at first in order to keep you sane and organize your thoughts.  Get a pen and paper and start writing.  Otherwise you’ll start packing stuff and then forget what you packed and then double pack and you’ll end up with so much sh*t you don’t need.

Garbage bags are an easy way to pack clothes, they also make it each to pack the car because you can squish them and stuff them to fit better in the trunk.  If you don’t want to buy boxes to pack everything else just go to a liquor store and ask for cardboard boxes, they always have extras and they’ll give them to you for free.  Make sure to label the boxes with your name, dorm building and room number in case they get lost while you’re moving in on hectic move in day.

Here’s some of the stuff to add to your list and things to keep in mind that people sometimes forget:

  1. Clothes – there is no need to pack for the entire year.  When the season’s change you’ll bring home your summer clothes and get your winter clothes.  More times than none you’ll be wearing sweats, t-shirts, and comfy hang out clothes.  As you pack, if you lift up a shirt that you’ve never worn and say ‘i should bring this i’m sure i’ll wear it at some point’  put it back in your drawer, you still will never wear it.  If you’re concerned about whether you should bring your ball gown for an event that might happen, don’t bring it.  You can either buy a new one (which you’ll probably want to do) or get it  from home when you come back to visit.
  2. Toiletries – get a bathroom travel caddie, or basket, or bucket to carry your shower stuff  (shampoo, conditioner, loofah, body wash, shave gel, razor, etc.) to the shower.  Don’t forget towels, shower flip flops (the showers can get gross), deodorant, perfume
  3. School Supplies – pens, highlighters, stapler, tape, scissors.  I usually brought 1 binder for each course… don’t forget loose leaf paper.
  4.  Laundry basket – you will definitely want one of these to keep all your dirty clothes in one spot instead of scattered around your room.  Get one that is easy to carry that way when it get’s full you can easily transport it down to the washers and dryers.
  5. Laundry Detergent – while costco or BJ’s brand will save you money it is not wise to get the bulk box because you will not enjoy carrying it down to the washers and dryers, buy the extra concentrated detergent, one little cap full will wash an entire load of laundry.
  6. Small tool kit – if you can find one, pick it up.  A small hammer or screw driver comes in handy often.
  7. iPod dock – music, music, music
  8. Hangers – you can never have enough hangers
  9. One set of cup, bowl, plate, fork, knife, and spoon – also think about a can opener and bottle opener
  10. Clorox wipes – life savers
  11. Power strip with surge protector – you will have lots to plug in from laptops, printers, desk lamps, etc.
  12. Extension cord – in case the spot where you put you TV doesn’t have a close enough outlet
  13. Fan – it gets warm
  14. Umbrella and rain jacket – you will not enjoy walking to class if you are soaking wet, this is a necessity
  15. Bedding – get an egg crate or mattress pad for your extra long twin and put the down before you put your sheets on, my bed at college was like a marshmallow
  16. DO NOT BRING – really expensive things (clothes, bags, jewelry, etc.) things can get easily ruined at college and unfortunately people aren’t always honest and things get stolen more times than you’d think.
  17. DO NOT BUY – all the college gadgets and add on’s on that are in the stores.  Some of them are good and worth the money but wait until you move into your dorm room before you buy them.  Once you know what it’s like to live in a dorm room you can visit those sections in the store and see if you really need the extra things.

COLLEGE PHOTO – Freshman year dorm room – moving in