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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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.

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.

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

Classmates

Everyone has something to teach you.  Embrace the differences in your classmates.  Always ask yourself, “what can I learn from this person.”  Remember, it’s not always what you know but who you know.  Everyone know’s someone.  That guy/girl you don’t really like (for no reason) may have a parent or family member who could play an important role in your career and your future.  Don’t mess that up.

{gab}

Go Greek?

Sororities and Fraternities… should you do them?  Well, let me tell you a little about my Greek background – I have none.  My college had a small handful of sororities and fraternities, we didn’t have big greek houses off campus, and there was enough to do on campus that students didn’t feel like they had to join greek life.  Before I give you my honest opinion I did some research, talked to a number of students and created a pro and con list of greek life so that you can create your own opinion.  Then, I’ll ruin all your opinions by aggressively persuading you into what I feel, which is the right answer… i’m kidding, i’ll be gentle.  Ok so heeeeere we go!

Let me answer the first questions I received from a student:  How does the process actually start?  Do you just sign up?

There will be signs around your college loud and clear telling you to ‘rush’ for a sorority or fraternity.  Rushing means meeting with the guys and girls of different organizations to learn about what each group is like, what the girls and guys are like and so on.  Once you’ve met with the various organizations you indicate which ones you would like to be a member of.  You usually pick based on which girls/guys are the friendliest, which ones your friends join, which reputation you like best (i.e. the party frat, the pretty sorority, etc.), there are a number of different reasons why you’ll choose which one you want.  Afterwards the organizations will choose which freshman they are interested in and invite you to a party.  After the party they will give out invitations to freshman that they want in their sorority/fraternity.  If you accept the invitation it doesn’t meant you are officially in.  You have to go through the pledging process (this is where all the crazy/scary stuff may happen, not all sororities/frats put their new members through h*ll and back).  If you make it through pledging – congratulations, you’re in!

Now for the Pro’s and Con’s

POSITIVES OF JOINING GREEK LIFE

  1. Strong Friendship – There is a strong brotherhood/sisterhood that greek life fosters.  You will always have a group of guys/girls to hang out with and form friendships with.
  2. Networking – Sororities/Fraternities are part of national organizations.  There is a huge network of alumni around the country and the world.  Alumni are a great resource for job opportunities when it comes time to graduate.  I knew a friend who interviewed for a job and the man that was interviewing him was part of the same Fraternity when he was in college and all they talked about during the interview was college and the frat.  Naturally – he got the job.
  3. Academics – Greek organizations typically have a GPA requirement you need to stay in the sorority/fraternity.  There are even sometimes academic leadership positions where a member of the organization is required to check members academic achievements.  Also with the large group, there is always a member to study with or help to tutor you.
  4. Leadership – There are leadership opportunities (prez, VP, treasurer, etc.) within the organization.  Great addition to a resume!
  5. Community Service – All Sororities/Frat’s raise money for a charity.  Community service is a huge part of what greek life does.
  6. Parties – Fraternities sponsor a lot of the big parties on campus.  For colleges that have off campus greek housing for their students, there is always a place to party.
  7. Formals – These are like prom.  You get to dress up, get your hair done, get all fancy, take pictures and have an amazing night just like prom… but better.

NEGATIVE SIDE TO GREEK LIFE

  1. Expensive – there are due’s for being in Greek life.  It can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars each year.  Sororities/fraternities with their own housing (not all of them have houses) are generally more expensive than living in a dorm or apartment because they have to pay for the upkeep on the house.
  2. Time Commitment – There are a lot of required events that you have to attend.  This starts from when you rush and pledge.  A lot of students struggling during this time because of the time commitment.  Once you become a member there are meetings, community service events, and social events.  Greek life is many cases becomes your life, not just a fun thing to be a part of.
  3. Reputation – a lot of sororities/fraternities have certain image on campus.  Really ask yourself if you want that image, even if the reputation isn’t how you see yourself, just by wearing your letters, people will assume that reputation on you.
  4. Fights/Tension – yes there is a brotherhood/sisterhood but so many girls and guys in one place, especially if you’re living in the same house is a recipe for tensions to flare and fights to happen.
  5. Tunnel Vision – there are so many different types of people, events, and organizations on campus. Greek like takes up a lot of your time so it’s easy to get tunnel vision and lose sight of other opportunities on campus.

My opinion (and no this isn’t the right answer, just my opinion) – I wasn’t in a sorority.  I didn’t want to pay the money.  I didn’t want to be forced to go to events.  Too many girls in the same place, recipe for disaster.  And pledging –  if a girl poured honey on me and then blew flour and feathers all over me and made me carry a brick in my backpack for weeks and made me call her princess every time I saw her – yah, not happening.

Leaving Friends From Home

Tear, tear – senior year is coming to an end and so are your lifelong friendships with your high school friends.

Just kidding!

Thinking back to the ‘goodbye’s’  I had with my friends from home makes me giggle.  I remember thinking it was the end of the world.  My high school life was officially over.  I would never see my friends again.  I would never have friends like the one’s I had.  Wow, I was so wrong!  The friendships that you have in high school are genuine.  You have history with all of them and that never goes away.  When I was in college I could go months without talking to certain friends, I obviously kept in touch with my closest girlfriends.  I remember going home on long weekends or for holidays and feeling a little nervous to see my old friends.  I didn’t know what it would be like.  Sure enough, we picked up  exactly from where we left off.  We had exciting stories to share about college and reminicing about high school always made for a great night.  Your friends from home are like family.  You never really lose that bond.  Even now, I have friends from high school that I haven’t talked to in years yet I know that if I went back home and met up with them we would pick up from exactly where we left off.

An even crazier thought…. some of the best friends I have (couldn’t imagine living without them) I made while I was in college.