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.

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 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.

Gear Up For the First Semester

transitioningThis first month of school is critical for setting up the rest of your semester. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new freshman or a returning upperclassman the transition from home life to school life is up to you. You have the opportunity to build a strong foundation for the rest of the semester, don’t let bad habits take over. Start to take control of your responsibilities – go to the gym, eat healthy snacks, watch those ‘liquid’ calories, stay up to date on classwork, and take a look at these simple 10 to-do’s to help you build a strong foundation. I suggest you take a few minutes to do arts and crafts, write these out on a piece of paper, bring them to school with you and hang them above your desk. I am a true believe in visualization – if something is staring you in the face everyday you will do it, or accomplish it. Add to your list daily!

1. Get to know your roommates – sit with them and really get to know them. These are the people you are going to spend the most amount of time with. You don’t have to be their best friend but you do have to live with them (and they have to live with you).

2. Get Organized! Your professor may have assigned work and projects and told you about them on day 1. Don’t expect them to remind you everyday about it and if you forget to hand it in when it’s due you will not get away with the excuse ‘i didnt know it was due.’ Get a planner and fill in the dates when assignments are due.

3. Go to class – Sleeping in and skipping your morning class may seem tempting, who’s making you go anyway? Get up and go! You are paying to be there, don’t waste your money.

4. Meet with your professors. Take the extra minute to show up before class or stay after class and meet your professor. Ask them a question, or tell them that you are enjoying their class so far. They’re human (everyone likes to be given complements) and they’ll appreciate the positive feedback.

5. Let go of the pressure of having to know exactly what you want to study – You’ve probably met a number of people who say they know exactly what they want to do when they graduate (i’d bet money that majority of those people have no idea what they want to do). College is a time to discover what you want to do. Let those people do what they want to do and be excited that you aren’t locked into one track right now, you are exploring!

6. Stay healthy! Go to the gym, eat your fruit and veggies, listen to music and go for a walk by yourself.

7. Take a deep breath.

8. Don’t cut corner – nobody gets placed on the top of the mountain, they all have to climb it.

9. Seek help when you need it – are you really stressed? Are your eating habits getting out of hand? Are you drinking more than you expected? Dont be afraid to ask for help. Walk to health services (trust me they’ve seen and heard it all) and tell them what is going on. Are you confused on an assignment? E-mail your professor, reach out to a classmate or go to the tutoring center. People want to help you.

1o. Call home to your family – they miss you, they want to hear from you.

 

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.

‘Tis The Season

The Holiday’s are right around the corner.  Do you need a gift idea for your high school children, nieces, nephews, friends??  Make sure to grab a copy of my book “I Wish I Knew It Before Going To College”!  It’s an easy read and it’s full of great college topics.

21 Ways You Should Take Advantage Of Your 20s

Stumbled upon this list and I had to share it…. love things like this!!  (The article is by Sari Moon [don’t know her] and was retrieved from here! )

1. Don’t feel the need to respond to every text message, phone call, and email the second it reaches you. Once upon a time, it took longer than a minute to reach someone. People used stamps and envelopes; they had answering machines they didn’t check for hours, sometimes days. No one will die if you don’t immediately respond to every message you receive.

2. Ask for what’s owed to you. Half the time, you’re not getting your needs met because you’re not making them known. Your employers, romantic interests, and friends are not going to read your mind and give you what you need unless you speak up.

3. Never turn down an open bar. Seek them out and make them a priority. Indulging in open bars when you’re older isn’t appropriate because a) people will think you have an alcohol problem and b) you’re supposed to have enough money to afford your own alcohol.

4. If you’re unhappy and someone offers you a way out, take it. You don’t owe your first job years of loyalty and your first-born; you don’t have to stay in your city just because you’re on a first-name basis with the bodega guy. Do what feels right; the initial fear will give way to excitement.

5. Take advantage of all the energy you have in your 20s. In your 30s and 40s, your body starts getting upset with you, when some 20-something babe is all, “Wanna race?” That’s not a concern when you’re in your 20s — don’t ever take it for granted.

6. Let your more successful friends pick up the check this time. Before you’re 30, it’s still okay to be work as a barista and not have your career path figured out. Save your cash and take up your lawyer-friend’s offer for dinner. Use the money you saved to buy more ramen.

7. Play a sport you played in elementary school. Kickball, dodgeball. There are leagues for these games now. Get on it.

8. Learn how to cook. Here’s an idea — instead of spending all your money on ridiculously marked-up restaurant food, save your money by buying non-processed WHOLE FOODS and LEARNING HOW TO MAKE A MEAL OF REAL FOOD. A meal of real food is not a box of Annie’s Organic Mac and Cheese — that’s PROCESSED FOOD. A meal is something like sauteed brussel sprouts with onions and pinto beans garnished with salt and pepper. You’ll thank yourself for learning how to cook when your metabolism catches up to you.

9. Keep making friends. Everyone complains that it’s hard to make friends after college, but we still manage to find new people to flirt with and date, right? It’s not that hard. You know yourself better than you ever have before, and your friends can finally reflect that. Don’t cling to old friends because it’s too frightening or ‘risky’ to make new ones.

10. Let your parents buy your plane ticket home. It can be trying to be stuck in a house with your family for a few days or a week, but vacations in your 20s can be hard to come by. Let them subsidize your trips home and do you as much as you can when you get there.

11. Stay up late. In your 20s, you’re all, “Let’s go to another bar!” “Who wants to eat at a diner?” “Have you guys seen the sun rise from the High Line?” “In this moment I swear we were infinite!” When you get older, this becomes, “What are you doing? Go home. Watch Parks and Rec and go to sleep. What is wrong with you, staying up all night? Who has time for that?” If you’re in your 20s, you do. You have all the time. Do it now and take advantage of how not tired you are. You think you’re crabby now when you stay up too late? You’ll never believe how terrible you feel when you do it in your 30s.

12. Savor those 20s hangovers. They are a gift from God so that you’ll always remember what your tolerance level is. Your hangover recovery time is like flippin’ Wolverine in your 20s. You wake up, feel like death, pull on some shades, gulp down coffee or maybe a bloody Mary and whine about your headache over brunch. Oh, boo hoo. When you’re older, every hangover is Apocalypse Freaking Now. You’re not making it to brunch. You’re not making it off your floor in a weeping puddle of regret.

13. Indulge in diner/ fast food at 4 a.m. This is considered depressing behavior once you become a real adult.

14. STOP PROCRASTINATING YOUR TRIP ABROAD. YOUR CHANCES OF TAKING A LONG VACATION ABROAD DIMINISH AS YOU BECOME MORE SET IN YOUR WAYS AND AS YOU GAIN MORE RESPONSIBILITY.

15. Do ‘unacceptable’ things to your hair. Dye it. Dread it. Shave only the left side of your head and give a crap if it grows back in a flattering manner (hint: it won’t). There’s no time but now.

16. Avoid Burning Man. Save it for your weird-Dad mid-life crisis.

17. Sit down, unplug, and read non-fiction. Do this daily. None of your peers are doing it. They’re playing video games and refreshing Facebook and Gmail chatting about nothing in particular. After a month you’ll be smarter than all of them.

18. Walk into Forever 21 and grab every single crappily-made floral dress available. Is every other girl on the street wearing it? Is it literally falling apart at the seams? Is it also actually five dollars? BUY IT IMMEDIATELY. When you get older, your clothing becomes all expensive blazers and tailored khakis and other pieces that won’t break while on your body. That will be a great day — the day when your closet starts to look respectable. Though those outfits are more expensive, they also last longer and look better on you. You will be a classy human ready to take on the future. But as long as you’re still in your 20s? You know — the demographic of Forever 21? Game on, stretchy black dress with pockets that lasts about a week. Game on.

19. Take road trips. Sitting in a car for days on end isn’t something your body was designed to do forever.

20. Don’t invest in things like window curtains or throw rugs or… Windex. You’re a young, social person who doesn’t have time for things like picture-framing and broom-sweeping. No one actually expects you to maintain a bed skirt or a duvet cover in your 20s, they’re the home decor equivalent of puppies/ children.

21. Go to/host theme parties. Once people age out of their 20s, no one’s trying to wear pajamas or Saran Wrap out of the house. The only theme parties that exist after your 20s are ‘Wedding,’ ‘Baby Shower,’ and ‘Funeral.’

Teen Vogue – How to Make the Most of Your Time with Your Parents During Winter Break

It can be challenging to adjust to living under  your mom and dad’s roof and rules after you’ve been on your own at college. We  consulted the experts on how you can seamlessly transition to being back at home  during your winter break.

Initiate a conversation with your family. Instead of proclaiming  that you’re now an independent woman, show it through your actions. “I think the  biggest challenge is that college students are moving forward with their lives,”  says Gabbriel Simone, author of I Wish I Knew It Before Going to College (Morgan  James Publishing). “When they come back home, they can at times revert back to  feeling like they’re in high school and act immaturely. Rather than getting  upset, initiate a conversation with your parents.” By being proactive, you’ll  demonstrate your maturity.

Remember that this is hard for your parents too. If you’re  returning home after your freshman year, it’s only been a few months since you  left home. You’ve changed a lot in a short time span, but your parents think of  you as the same doe-eyed high school graduate you were when you left. “Before  you say anything, it’s important to try and put yourself in the shoes of you  parents,” says Rachel Simmons, Teen Vogue blogger and author of Odd Girl Out (Mariner Books). “Realize that a few  months may feel like forever to you, but they still see you as their little  girl. Try to emphasize and realize that most of the time, they’re worrying out  of love.”

Compromise. Your values may have changed while you’ve been inside  the college bubble, where the social norms are different than in the outside  world. If your parents aren’t keen on a later curfew (or none at all), offer to  call home and check in throughout the night. “When it’s time to talk, it’s  important to tell your parents that you want to come to a compromise and that  you need them to acknowledge that you’ve been living a different kind of life at  college,” says Simmons. “I don’t think that it’s fair to expect that you’ll get  everything you want in any kind of negotiation. Anyone thinking that restrictive  parents are going to suddenly become totally permissive is probably setting  themselves up for real disappointment.”

Prioritize privileges that matter most to you. If you present your  parents with clear, reasonable requests, they’ll listen and take you seriously.  “Decide ahead of time which privileges they might be willing to give up and  decide what really matters to you,” says Simmons. “If curfew really matters,  know that ahead of time. If drinking alcohol or sleeping in the same bed as your  significant other doesn’t, be ready to give that up.”

Be respectful. Screaming, stomping, and cursing will not get you  what you want; it’ll get you grounded. Even if you’re still in the throws of  your teenage rebellion, mind your manners. “Independence may feel total when  you’re in college, but the reality is that it’s only partial,” reminds Simmons.  “As long as you’re living under your parents’ roof, and especially if they’re  paying for your education, you do owe them some respect. I remember I got my  nose pierced my sophomore year and then I came home for Thanksgiving. My mom had  told me, ‘You can do anything you want, just don’t pierce your nose,’ but I went  and pierced it when I was on a trip with my friends. I came home for  Thanksgiving and my mother wouldn’t let me in the house.”

Use the time to reflect and relax. If your parents ask you to  adhere to strict rules, don’t think of it as torture. Use your time home to  detox from college; rest and relax. “I don’t think that students take enough  time to appreciate the quietness of home,” says Simone. “It’s something that you  don’t get in college.” Keep in mind that you’ll be back on campus in a few short  weeks, and appreciate your parents for more than the fact that they do your  laundry when you’re visiting home. Come second semester, you may just miss your  folks.

Read More http://www.teenvogue.com/advice/family-advice/2011-12/living-at-home-during-college-break#ixzz2DiQLwHbU

Juniors Starting the College Search

Attention high school juniors!  Now is the time to start your college search process.  Have any of you attended your schools college night event or sit and chat with your guidance counselor about college?  Are you overwhelmed?  There is so much information, so many new terms you’ve never heard of, the fear of the unknown, where do you even begin?  Well, first off – take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for starting this process now.  This is the beginning and you have plenty of time to do your search but where do you start?

Heeeeeeeere we go – Starting the process 101:

  1. Go buy a notebook or binder – as you search schools online or attend college visits (which btw is the best way to see a school) start taking notes.  Separate your notebook/binder into a few pages for University A, University B, and so on.  Take notes on what you like, didn’t like, who you met, contact names of professors and admissions staff, and most importantly take notes on the admissions process including deadlines, tips the admissions staff give you, admissions criteria, etc.
  2. Take your classes seriously!  The better your grades the more options for applying to schools.  Also, admissions staff love to see an upward trend on students transcripts.  If you did poorly in 9th and 10th grade but picked up your grades in 11th grade it can help your chances of getting in (remember, I work in college admissions).
  3. Ask questions – students don’t know what to ask when they visit colleges, go on tour, and talk with admissions counselors.  Go on the Google and type in ‘questions to ask on a college tour’ and then click around on different links, find questions that you really want to know about and ASK them when you visit schools… yes YOU ask them.  Admissions counselors pick up on little things – personally I love when a student comes right up to me and ask’s me a question rather than hiding behind Mom or Dad.  It will be uncomfortable the first few times but find your confidence and ask those questions.

Just a few tips – easy enough, start your search!

college | time

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