Advice on Surviving Your First Semester

collegeHere are the Do’s and Don’ts of how to survive your first semester of college. This semester matters. You’re building the ground work, you’re building your blueprint for the rest of your college experience. Hey! Remember – if you want to start building your resume now, e-mail me to be a college blogger – it’s easy and will look great on your resume! 😉

1. Don’t go home every weekend. This is tempting, especially if you live close, or you have a significant other at home, but you will make absolutely no friends on campus this way and you will be miserable. You will also be known as “the one who always goes home.”

2. DO communicate with your roommate. This is crucial! One of the biggest causes of roommate conflicts is a failure to communicate, especially at the beginning of the year. If you don’t start early, it just gets harder and harder. If your school doesn’t require it, I recommend you and your roommate create a contract discussing your expectations of each other involving guests, cleanliness, alarm clocks, TV etc. It may seem silly, but it will come in handy later!

3. Don’t sit in the library every weekend. You will burn yourself out fast if you study all the time. You need to take social breaks. I understand that for some of you it’s easier to sit and read a book or stare are your computer screen than it is to go out and converse with new people. Socializing is important to your mental health and it will help you in the long run when you need to interview for internships, jobs, meet with professors, and work with new people.

 4. DO explore the different majors are your school. You will probably not end college doing the same thing you think you will do when you start. This is more than likely because when you start college, all you really know is law, medicine, and business, but there are so many more great options, so don’t be afraid to explore them and to change your mind! One trick I tell student is to go into the admissions office at their school and pick up the newest viewbook or list of majors. This will list all of the majors. When you see one that’s interesting you can then find a professor in that department and e-mail them. You’re on the campus now, use your resources!!!

5. Don’t spend every second with your new boyfriend or girlfriend. This is a topic that needs its own blog post and I very well may write one in the near future. It’s so easy to totally consume your time with your new boyfriend or girlfriend. It will take energy and effort to force yourself to spend time with your roommate and other friends. Force yourself to do that! Your bf/gf will still love you even if they don’t see you for a night or a weekend and if they don’t, then you need to get rid of them because that’s not healthy.

6. DO get to know your RA. Your RA is not out to get you. Remember, they’re students too, and writing you up just means hours of unwanted paperwork for them on a Saturday night. They hate doing it but they will if they have to, because it’s their job, and because they want you to be safe. Which brings me to my next point –

7. Don’t do stupid things. You cannot get away with anything. I know that you get away with a lot, now that you are out of your house and on your own. Yes, you can get away with staying up all night. Yes, you’re allowed to walk around campus whenever you want. But no, you can’t break the rules. No, you’re not invisible. I’ve seen the stupidest things done – I’ve seen students get caught for smoking weed with their dorm room door open. Seriously? What makes people think they can do that? Remember your morals. Keep in mind that college is not a guarantee and you very well can get kicked out of school. Don’t be dumb!

8. DO ask for help. I really mean this. If you are struggling with homesickness, depression, if you can’t sleep, if you are having trouble finding a good study habit, if you find yourself experimenting with substances, if you got too drunk one night and scared yourself, if you’re just not feeling like yourself ….find help and ask for help. Talk to your RA, go to health services, talk to a faculty member. If you have no idea who to go to, e-mail me and I will help navigate you to the right person -> gabbriel.simone@gmail.com

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blogging2Freshman! Here is a GREAT opportunity to get your college experience started on the right foot! Expand your writing portfolio and build your resume today!! If you do this now, imagine the internships you’ll qualify for in the future.

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A Love Letter To College Freshman

loveletterIt’s possible that the first weekend of your college career just passed and you’re questioning a lot of things about this whole ‘college thing’. Everyone said this would be the best years of your life so why do you feel that way? Are you thinking, ‘why do I miss home this much?’ or ‘I don’t know if I can do this…’ It’s possible that you are very unhappy right now, it’s also possible that this past weekend was the best weekend of your life thus far. Either way, I’ll be honest with you – it’s going to be hard. I mean, it may even suck at times. College, is not meant to be glamorous. It is new, it is uncomfortable, you will feel emotions you’ve never felt. You will deal with types of people you never dealt with before. It’s not natural to live in a building with hundreds of girls and guys the same age as you. It will take you a few months, maybe even a year or so for you to appreciate the reasons why it is the best years of your life. Take a deep breath and give it time. I’ll say it again… it may take a few months or even a year for you to appreciate the reasons why it is the best years of your life. It’s hard…the adjustment to college is hard and it’s okay if you hate it right now but I promise you…it. will. get. better.

If you love college or hate college, here is a Love Letter To College Freshman that you NEED to read.  – I found this on http://www.moreloveletters.com and I couldn’t have said it better!

Dear You–

It may just be you & I up and awake in the world right now.

Just you… the quiet of a new dorm room… the glow of the laptop screen… this love letter… and a feeling webbing deep in your stomach that you may never get used to all this.

Ever.

It’s not true. You’re going to do just fine. You’re already doing just fine even if it’s one of the hardest things to convince yourself of when the tears are brinking and you just want to go back home: Back to comfort. High school. A boyfriend & friendships now sitting in the pile of “long distance.” Bonfires. Summer. Familiarity. Anything but this.

It’ll be the best four years of your life… that’s what they’re telling you, right? That—if done right—these next four years will sculpt you & change you & make you ready for the real world. Truth told: this is the real world. It’s yours. Stop thinking otherwise. Don’t let a moment more slip away.

These next four years are yours to be entirely & completely selfish.

To figure out “you” and how “you” make this world a better place. So start…

Start at the coffee bar. That’s a good place to start. Just visit the coffee bar and treat yourself to something sweet—you’re in college. It’s something to celebrate.

Knock awkwardly on the doors of your new neighbors. Everyone is waiting for someone to make the first move and plan a powwow. Be that person. Decide that tonight it is the football game and tomorrow it is popcorn and a movie night in your room. Pick a movie that is both drama & comedy, with traces of home & familiarity in it for each of you.

Befriend your RA. They are not the enemy. They are here to make every ounce of this easier for you… and they’d really appreciate the chance to try.

Call home when you have to. Cry your eyes out. Take slow slugs of the broth of homesickness in the morning.

It’s ok… It’s ok…

Let the homesickness in. Don’t push it out. Talk about it. Embrace it. It will head south eventually… I promise.

Write letters. To your friends at other schools. To your long distance boyfriend. To teachers back home. Glitter the maps with your cursive to one another. Give one another a reason to track back the campus mailbox for something other than a free pizza coupon. You’ll keep those letters for years & years. You’ll one day say that there is nothing like those letters you’ve kept stacked in a box beside your bed.

And on the note of friends… step away from Facebook for a little while. Not forever. Not for always. Just enough time to be present to the here & now. The meeting of new faces. The conversations at parties. The ice breakers that, yes, you clearly don’t want to do but should anyway. Be there for it. All of it. Don’t sit in the feeds of your friends back home; start new chapters that would make them proud.

Follow. Just follow wherever this year takes you. You’ll change. It’s inevitable. But don’t shy away from the change or the chance to develop into a better friend… a better leader… a better somebody. Accept it. When people grow distant and old relationships don’t fuel you anymore, just accept it. That’s life. It’s always happening. Clear away and cut the ties you need to cut… make room for Better & More. You’ll find best friends in this place…

Don’t go crazy looking for them. You’ll find one another and in a year from now you’ll wonder how there ever was a whole two decades of Not Knowing One Another. For now, just meet people. Sink into it naturally. You’ll get there. I promise. Just find the places where people are and start there.

A club. A meeting. The newspaper. Something. Anything. Not just for social purposes– your resume is going to start mattering sooner than you think… take it seriously.

And classes too—Go. To. Them. 8am or not—Show. Up.

Study. Try harder than you’ve ever tried before. Consider a time management course. Take at least one course that interests you… thrills you… makes you think. & don’t rush to choose a major. There’s time to get your feet wet with the muds of it all.

Most of all, embrace it. All of it. The new opportunities. The events on campus. The free stuff. The chance to grow apart from everything you’ve ever know. The chance to be someone you have always wanted to be…

Sit down during this first week of college… take out a piece of paper… and write it all down. Your hopes & your dreams & your goals for the next four years. Who do you want to become? What do you want to accomplish? It’s time to start all of this.

Write it all down. Put it in an envelope. Seal it up and scribble “Do not open until college graduation day,” in big, bold letters. And tuck it somewhere safe…

Get clear on what you want to make of these next four years and then go out and do it…

You’ve got this. You’ve really got this. And if ever you start to believe that you don’t, come find me.

Love,

Someone who has been there before.

How To Find Your Perfect Job

perfect jobI never wanted a job that was just a job. I always wanted to be one of those people who was an example of ‘if you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life.’ Who doesn’t?? College students focus too much figuring out what job they want and not enough time on identifying the qualities of life they want in that job. If I ask a student what job they want, they usually don’t know but they wish they knew what they wanted to do. However, if I asked a student if they wanted a job where there could travel, they would have an answer. If I asked a student if they wanted a job that would allow them to climb the corporate ladder, they would have an answer. In order to figure out your dream job, I suggest you first think about the qualities of your perfect job. From that list you can then identify careers and specific companies who may be able to fulfill those qualities. Figuring out your dream job will also help you figure out what major you should declare. A lot of you “undeclared” folk should especially create a lit. If you need some ideas see my personal criteria for my perfect job below:

Criteria for my perfect job
• Work with intelligent/educated people (I always want to learn from those who are smarter than me)
• Have work/life balance (that weighs heavy on the ‘life’ side)
• Complete small projects – to see accomplishments quickly
• Be able to see change (seeing change that I did motivates me for the next project)
• Ability to advance within the company (I’m a climber, I need to always have something to work towards)
• Training opportunities for employees (Again, I always like to climb and improve)
• Work with people (I can’t sit at a cubicle and stare at a computer screen all day)
• People bale to provide people information that I have, that will benefit their life (I want to advise people)
• Have a mentor (it’s helpful for your personal health to have someone you can vent to, with the door shut)
• Opportunities to give back to the community

Make your list today! Feel free to use some of my criteria.

Keeping In Touch With Employers

thankyouSchool is starting which means your summer job or internship is ending. It is so important that you constantly keep in touch with the company you worked with or interned with this summer. Your network of professionals is key! Here are three tips on how to stay in touch with your summer companies or internships after it ends:

1. Send them a thank you note for your experience. Hand-written thank you notes, please!
2. Find out his or her birthday. Put this on your calendar and remember it every year! Make sure to put in a personal call or email or send a card on their birthday. Everyone loves when the birthday phone rings!
3. Add Value. How can you add value to your former boss? If you come across any interesting articles or information your former boss can use make sure to send it. If you worked in a marketing department and you read an interesting marketing article sent it to your old coworker or boss. Even if they’ve seen it already they’ll be impressed that you sent it along, it’s also a great way for you to stay in touch with them.

Using Your Hours Wisely

clockThere is plenty of time in college. It’s often that I hear students, especially freshman say that they want to get used to their school work first before they get involved on campus. They say they want to get acclimated to their environment first and then do other things. It’s even more common that I hear high school students say things like, “I wish I could keep playing sports or join a club but I’m a health science major and I just don’t think I’ll have time.” While I agree that there is a transition phase in college and it does take time to acclimate, I disagree with the fact that you don’t have enough time to do a variety of activities on campus. I also think that having a few different things on your plate will actually help you transition better than just focusing on your academics. Think about your time this way — there are 168 hours in a week. If you set aside 56 hours for sleep (8 hours a night), and 40 hours for academics (this is A LOT of hours for academics, I guarantee that even the smartest students don’t give this amount of time to academics) it will leave you with 72 hour for everything else. 72 hours! That’s A LOT of time. Are you really going to fill it with doing school work and adjusting to the campus? Boring, if I say so myself. I actually think that if you used that time to just get used to your environment, you’d be wasting time.  Seize the day my friends!

Change The World

Enjoying the nature

“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X

Education has been a driving force in many social revolutions—from the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s to the women’s movement of the 1970s.

The more education people receive, the more they question the social and political systems that keep them oppressed, the more they seek knowledge that can help them replace oppression with justice and freedom.

 

Retrieved from:

West, Larry. “10 Benefits of a College Education.”MSN.com June 2011: n. pag. Web. 7 Jun 2011.