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.

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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

You Only Give ONE First Impression, Don’t Screw It Up

Closeup portrait of a group of business people laughingIt’s true that most people will judge you within the first second of meeting you and their opinion will most likely never change. You can form a good or bad reputation in the first weekend of college. People will form opinions about you even without meeting you. My first weekend of college I had formed opinions about people just based on observing the way they acted and also based on what other people said about them. It didn’t matter what happened over the next 4 years, because when I saw those people at graduation, I still remembered the first impression I had of them. It’s human nature to form an opinion about someone. Do a little experiment today, make an effort to meet someone new. As you meet them, be conscious of the observations you make about them. Are they speaking clearly, are they fidgeting, are they rambling on, are they making eye contact with you? Then as you leave, think about the opinion you formed of them. Is it a good one? Why? What kinds of things did they do that impressed you? Takes that impressed you and keep them in your back pocket, pull them out when it’s time for you to meet someone new.

Making a good first impression is incredibly important, because you only get one shot at it.  So how do you make sure that people are judging you accurately? Not just new friends but your professors, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, RA’s, administrators, corporate recruiters who come to campus, upper classman, everyone that you meet will form a first impression about you. Here is my best piece of advice for you to make sure you give the BEST first impression:

Know your purpose and your intention when meeting someone. One of the most important things to do when approaching someone is knowing why you are meeting them. It may sound odd but it will make you come across more confident and keep you in charge of the conversation. Think about it, if you see a professor and just walk up to them thinking, “oh man, here’s a professor, I should meet them so they know me, I hope I don’t screw up, I’m really nervous,” you’re going to go up to them, put out your hand and said, “Hi I’m Gabby” and then they’ll say “Hi I’m professor ‘whoever’ it’s nice to meet you.” Then after a few seconds of awkward silence, you’ll smile and fidget and maybe say something that doesn’t make sense and then walk away having achieved nothing. First impression – fail! So instead what you should do is think about your purpose. Think, “I am going to go up to the professor to introduce myself and let him know that I am excited about the first semester. I am going to keep it quick, I will remember to smile, I am going to speak clearly….now take a deep breath and stand up straight.” As I walk over I know exactly what I am going to do and exactly what I am going to say and I have just taken a deep breath so I am feeling good and I am feeling confident. I walk up to the professor, put out my hand and say “Hi Professor ‘whoever’ my name is Gabby. I wanted to take a minute to introduce myself and let you know that I’m really looking forward to this semester [smile].” He may then say something as simple as “great it’s nice to meet you” and then you can say “You too, have a good day, I’ll see you next class.” Bing, Bang, Boom. Great first impression – success! Simply because I had a plan. It was much better than the smile and stare and awkward shuffling of paper as I walk away looking like an idiot. Having a plan or an introduction in mind will help you for every conversation you have and it will, without a doubt, help  you master the first impression.

You’ve Been Talking to Your New Roommate and You Already Don’t Like Them

RoommatesYou received your roommate assignment for freshman year. You’ve jumped on Facebook and sent a friend request, maybe sent a message or an e-mail. Thankfully you heard back from them quickly and started to talk. It all seemed great at first – you’re both excited about going to college, the conversation seems to be running smoothly and then the more you talk, the more you realize that this is probably the worst roommate match up of all time. You think, “I filled out the roommate survey online, did res life even look at it!?….There is no way we are going to work out as roommates.”

The more you look at their pictures online the more you realize how different you are from them. You can’t wait for the college nightlife and they said that they like to be in bed by 10:00pm every night. Or maybe, you’re that person who likes to be in bed early and your roommates Facebook is covered with pictures of drunken nights and posts about being so excited to go to college and get to their first frat party. You talk about having friends from come visit and they say they don’t like when random people sleep in their room. The issues go on and on and now you’re freaking out because you haven’t even started your freshman year and you are worried that you and your roommate are NOT going to get along.

Don’t jump to conclusions! Living with someone and talking to them face to face is very different than communicating through facebook and e-mail. People change in college, even after the first weekend! Your roommate is talking to you as a High School student, most likely living with their parents. As soon as you more in with them they will be talking to you as a college student. Your mind, your imagination, your worries, are your biggest challenges…. not him or her. You need to give it time. You need to change your mindset. You’ve heard the horror stories about awful roommates but have you heard about the roommates who were complete opposites and became the best of friends? It happens all the time. Don’t compare your roommate to your friends from home. I did this all the time and I think it hurt the potential for some great friendships. I thought I knew what ‘type’ of person would be a good fit as a friend however, it turned out that the best friend I made in college was the complete opposite of my friends from home.

If you have concerns, keep your communication minimal until you actually get to college and experience living in a dorm. Think about some of the ground rules you will want to set and when you get to college have this discussion with your roommate. If you are your roommate really don’t get along once school starts this is something you will discuss with your RA.

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.

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

{gab}

It Really Doesn’t Matter

Things that happen now that seem like the end of the world really do become funny with a little bit of time and distance.  The quicker you move on from an embarrassing moment, the quicker you can laugh about it.  I promise… it’s really not that bad.

Embarrass | Yourself