Reasons NOT to Make Your College Decision

Decisions sign in the skyDeciding what college to attend can be a stressful and daunting task.  For some, your first choice is an easy one but for many of you the choice of where to send your deposit and lock in your next 4 years can be overwhelming, especially if you have a lot of offers available. Here are some reasons you should not be choosing what college or university to attend:

Don’t Choose a College or University because:

  1. Your Mom and/or Dad is making your decision.
  2. Your boyfriend or girlfriend is going there or goes there.
  3. Your friends are going there.
  4. The brochures and website make the school looks amazing.
  5. Because of its party-hearty reputation.
  6. A computer college matching program said this was your best choice.
  7. It’s located in your city or state and you don’t want to consider other locations.
  8. It’s the one college you and your parents have heard of.
  9. Just because of its name.
  10. It has the academic program you’re looking for, so the campus atmosphere doesn’t really matter…big mistake here!

Yes, the final decision can be a hard one and it’s okay if you’re not the person who knows exactly where they want to go.  Either way, colleges are what you make of them.  Being in the right mindset, being excited, and have a positive feeling about your school (even if it doesn’t have everything you want) is half the battle and will get you off on the right foot.  It may be a decision you are making for the next four years but remember that nothing is written in stone and if you really don’t like a school… you can always make a change.

What Questions to ask During an Open House

questionsDo you have the mom who ALWAYS asks questions on campus tours? I love her! It’s true that you don’t really know about a college campus until you visit it. There are a number of ways you can do this, drive by, walk around on your own, take a tour, spend the night with a friend, attend a sporting event…just to name a few. One GREAT way to see a campus and many of it’s moving pieces is to visit for an Open House. These days are usually long and intense. There will be professors, students, admissions staff, directors of programs, athletics, booths set up by different clubs and organizations, various information sessions to attend and of course, tours of the campus. You can attend an Open House without preparing, just show up and you’ll get a ton of information about the school you’re visiting. However, I suggest you come prepared with questions. Open Houses are a great way for YOU to learn if a school meets YOUR wants and needs. This is your chance to have questions answered from students, professors, specific club members, programs, and admissions. I love getting questions from students. It shows that they are interested in the school and it helps you form a relationship with someone at that school which will be helpful if you decide to attend that school.

So, what do you ask to find out more about the school?

Questions for a current student

1. Does the school offer any programs to help with the transition to college?

2. How’s the food? How is living in the dorm?

3. How did you pick your major?

4. Have you done any internships? How did you get them?

5. What one thing would you change about the school?

Other questions

1. Is there wireless access? Are the study rooms/library open 24-7?

2. Are professors easy to meet with outside of class?

3. Is there tutoring available?

4. What is career services like? Where do most people get jobs?

5. Can you change your major?

6. How is campus safety? Is there a medical facility on campus?

Questions NOT to ask

1. Personal questions to students and/or professors is a no go!

2. Questions about illegal activities i.e. where do freshman get alcohol? Where can I buy a fake ID? Are drugs easy to get on campus? (you would be surprised what I’ve been asked…)

 

Available! I Wish I Knew It Before Sending My Child To College

Final Cover

I Wish I Knew It Before Sending My Child To College is a collection of stories based on what a variety of college parents said they wish they knew before their child went to college. As parents navigate through the many ups and downs of college, these stories and the advice offered will help to create a smooth experience.

Available on iBookstore HERE

Available on Barnes & Noble NOOK!

Available at Lulu.com here –> Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

 

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

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.

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.