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.

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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!

Start Building Your Resume!

Resume

While there are many ways to create and build your social brand online through linkedin, twitter, e-portfolio’s, personal website, etc. i still believe in the power of a paper resume. When you apply for internships and jobs you still upload your resume or hand it to an employer at a career fair. Of course you’ll have the links to all of your online portfolios on your resume, but your one page resume is what an employee browses first. If they like what they see they will then do more research on you and browse through the rest of your information. I always tell students, and I’m sure I’ve said it in posts before, your GPA and your MAJOR are ONE LINE of your resume. There is A LOT more space to fill in on that piece of paper. It’s great that you were president of National Honor Society, captain of the soccer team, head lifeguard at the beach, and babysat the same kids for 4 years throughout high school however, campus recruiters don’t care about that. They know how much opportunity and experiences are available on a college campus and they want to see that you are taking advantage of those experiences. How do you start doing that? Here are some tips on jumping into the ‘experience’ world and start building your resume now!…even as a Freshman in college.

1. Join a club – This is the most obvious one. Clubs look great on a resume and are extremely useful to your college experience. You will network, meet alumni, possibly attend conferences, get active on campus, meet new friends and if you get involved early on, as a freshman or sophomore, you’ll have a much better chance of holding a leadership position as a junior or senior. Employer’s LOVE seeing leadership on a resume.

2. Talk to a professor – Ask them if they know of an opportunities for you. Ask them if they know of something that you may be interested in. When I was teaching freshman I had a student come ask me this. I had been a part of the campus for 6 years at that time and I knew the in’s and out’s of the campus so when she said she wanted to get involved I knew exactly where she would do well and what department she should apply for a student job in.

3. Find the Career Services office – Go into career services and introduce yourself. You want they to know you! Also ask them if they know of opportunities for you. Freshman, there are opportunities that are specifically for YOU – sophomores, juniors and seniors cannot do them. There are programs specifically for certain ages and you may miss them if you sit around and do nothing. Also – ask them if they have someone who can review your resume or if they have services to learn about how to create a resume and start revising!

 

You Control How Much You Learn

College Student Studying in Library

One of the hardest things to do in college is making the effort to learn more. In high school you are told what to learn, what to study, what to memorize, what to write your paper about. You’re not in high school anymore. In college, how much you learn is up to you. How much do you want to learn? You can do just enough to get by or you can do more than is expected. Remember that knowledge is key and people pay for expertise. The more you know, the more you can do, the more people you will meet and the more money you can make.

There are a lot of opportunities for learning in college, often times outside the classroom. Think about the situations in life, thus far, that you have learned the most from? There is much more to college than a textbook. Take advantage of every opportunity you can.

What is Summer Orientation?

summer_orientationI know – I am sorry! It’s been a while since I’ve been on the blogging world.  I’m back! I recently did a live webinar with CollegeWeekLIVE about summer orientation and I figured now would be a great time to get back to committing myself to the blog world and helping my high school and college followers. So what is summer orientation? It is your opportunity to interact with peers, faculty, and staff, in and outside the classroom. Orientation typically covers both academic and social events. It can be a one day event, a weekend event where you would stay overnight in the dorms or it may be an overnight program mid-week. You will:

  • Get separated into orientation groups. They are groups of freshman who will be led by upperclassman that are called orientation leaders. Your orientation leaders will be like you “camp counselor” throughout orientation and will keep you on schedule, bring you from event to event, and place to place.
  • Learn about campus resources and services that support academic and personal development.
  • Build your semester schedule
  • Take placement exams.
  • Understand how to lead healthy and sustainable lifestyles
  • Icebreakers with your orientation group
  • Attend social events to meet new students
  • Have fun!

THINGS TO DO

—  Be friendly

—  Embrace the awkward

—  Meet as many people as you can

—  Attend all events

—  Introduce yourself to a Professor!!! I am a huge fan of this!

—  Ask questions

—  Save the parties for later

THINGS NOT TO DO

—  Illegal activities

—  Close yourself off from meeting people

—  Be rude

—  Only talk to the same people

—  Text/call/use your phone

—  Let orientation ruin your experience

I hope you have a GREAT experience. However, remember that orientation is just one or two days and it should not reflect the next 4 years of your life. If you have a negative experience do not jump to conclusions. You need to give your college experience a chance.

Attention Leaders!

Don’t always lead – its good to follow sometimes.  For all of you born leaders who think you need to take charge in every situation, it’s important to know that it’s okay to follow.  In fact, it takes some stress off and it teaches you to have trust in others.  What better place to step back for a minute than when you’re in college – the time to mix it up a little and try out new leadership techniques (yes, following others for a time or two is a leadership technique).

Step | Back

 

Music in College

Don’t be afraid to blast your music in your room or play your favorite song on repeat as you and your friends get ready.  In fact, I suggest you find a song you love and play it on repeat as you begin your night.  Songs will attach themselves to memories.  Keep track of these songs, save them in a file.  In the future when you come across these songs or happen to hear them on a ‘oldies’ radio station it will bring back great memories from some of the best years of your life.

Blast | The | Music

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